Ricocheting Octaves and Beyond Pt. 2 A Fast, Funky, Full-Contact Sixteenth-Note Smackdown

April 22, 2011
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LAST MONTH WE JUMPED INTO THE funky and frenetic world of ricocheting sixteenth- notes. Hopefully you’ve got a handle on the concept and you’ve built up some muscle memory, because we’re going even deeper now. Previously we concentrated on the higher strings, but how about calling in the power of the lowest string, as in Ex. 1’s massive three-E attack? (Tip: If your 4th finger can handle it, feel free to throw in wildcard grips such as the 10th-fret “Foxy Lady”-style barre hammered on the highest two strings in the middle of Ex. 1’s second measure.)

Now, if you’ll pardon the expression, let’s really pimp this ride. As demonstrated heavily in my video for this lesson, you can put aside the pick and, instead, slap the notes that were to be picked with the outside of the picking hand’s thumb, as a bass player might. (Practice this approach first on the simple octave exercise back in last month’s Ex. 5.) This yields particularly tricked out sounds if each slapped note is struck precisely 12 frets higher than the fretting finger, right over the octave fret. Do it correctly (and perhaps with distortion or compression), and sparkly octave harmonics will issue forth.

Last but not least, try playing ricocheting riffs (picked or slapped) in triple meter. You don’t have to learn any new moves, but, rhythmically speaking, you may find applying these patterns a triple time signature such as 12/8 to be quite bizarre at first. That’s because, in 4/4, the pick (or the slapping thumb) falls on strong beats, but in triple meter it will seemingly strike all over the place, with a “three against four” feel, as in Examples 2 and 3.

Let’s close with the sextuplet tour de force shown in Ex. 4. We’re now back in 4/4 time, but playing a triple (sextuplet) feel over the top of it, adding up to a whopping 24 notes per bar. And to think that it all started with just two…

Jude Gold is the Director of GIT, the Guitar Program at Musicians Institute, and GP’s Los Angeles editor.

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