12-Tone Avalanche

True, sometimes nothing sounds more heinous than a single bad note. Then again, sometimes nothing sounds more satisfying than a roaring landslide of “wrong” notes.

A perfect example is the tumbling, chromatic knuckle-buster below, sent in by John Martin, an instructor of guitar and music technology at Western Kentucky University. “Chromatic licks like this one are a great way to transition from one tonal center to another,” says Martin, who can surely use this riff to impress friends at parties the way a stuntman might by throwing himself down the stairs and miraculously landing on his feet. “Stair-step licks like this are also a great to way to play outside the given harmonic framework. The trick to getting this phrase up to speed is to accurately execute the descending slides. When played properly, your listener shouldn’t hear the difference between the slid notes and picked notes.”