Quick Licks

November 9, 2012

Musicians Institute instructor and resident slide monkey Allen Hinds is at it again. “This is a simple motif,” he says, “based on a Duane Allman slide lick in E minor. See those the arrows arcing down and up? A common movement when playing slide is to sweep into the fundamental note, so the first note, A, is preceded by a slide down from the fret above the fundamental pitch, a “ghosted” note, if you will. From there, you mute that string (the B string) and slide up (notice the arrow?) into the G note on the G string. Continue the motif down the neck diatonically, ending on a blues lick in open E minor. It takes a while to get the motor skills to work precisely, but this simple idea will become a nice lick that covers the fretboard while giving you a good way to practice your intonation and mobility with slide technique.”

This isn’t so much an A blues run as it is a gateway to discovering where your right and left hands just naturally want to go. By simply alternating my thumb and index finger on my picking hand and throwing my fretting hand fingers down in little mini-barres on a blues scale, I came up with this syncopated smorgasbord. You don’t have to do it like I do, just start grabbing notes and your own unique rhythms and note choices will magically appear. Try it! You’ll see.

If you think this is just an Em pentatonic scale with an F# thrown in, think again. By using the open strings for a bunch of the notes and carefully observing the fingerings, you can get several pitches ringing at the same time for an awesome sustain-pedal effect. Slide into the F# with your fourth finger (which is already on that string) and let that note clang against the open E and the high G you’re grabbing with your first finger. For bonus points, use the exact same fingers and play it descending.

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