JEFF LOOMIS IS THE GUITARIST FOR THE band Nevermore. He recently released a highly acclaimed instrumental CD Zero Order Phase that has put him in the elite shredder club. Jeff’s songwriting has a very dark side to it and he often uses scales such as diminished, whole tone, and Lydian dominant b2. In this lesson I will show you some of the scales that Jeff uses and give you an example of how he applies the diminished sound within a song.
In Ex. 1, I have outlined three scale shapes that will get the sound of each scale in your ears. The most important thing is to get familiar with the sound of each scale then you will be able to apply them within your leads and songs. Play through these examples and try to create phrasings within each.
Ex. 2 is a section inspired by the song “Sacristy” from Jeff’s solo CD. This section demonstrates how to use a diminished arpeggio in a song. The diminished arpeggio is often used in metal music because it is easier to apply over a chord progression then the full diminished scale. Diminished arpeggios are also symmetrical, which means you can play the same pattern moved up or down three half steps and it will remain in the same key. In this pattern Jeff holds down a diminished chord and arpeggiates it with a right-hand muting pattern. Next, while keeping his 4th finger stationary, he moves the notes on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings down one fret creating a dominant 9th chord shape. This is a challenging pattern to pick so take your time and build speed up gradually. Happy shredding!
John McCarthy is the creator of the Rock House Method.