As I may have mentioned before, when I was in high school I took lessons from former Miles Davis guitarist Dave Creamer. I was getting into arpeggios, and he taught me about intervallic arpeggios. Funny story: When I found these intervallic arpeggios that I had written back in the day, I had sort of forgotten what the definition was. I Googled it and all that came up was “Jason Becker on Intervallic Arpeggios.” This led me to believe that Dave Creamer invented the term. I think the basic idea is that the notes skip around rather than just go up and down.
These days there are a lot of players who do arpeggios the way I started doing them in ’87, which is very flattering. I am totally honored. I sometimes wish I had gotten to expand on those ideas that Dave Creamer, Marty Friedman, and Philip Glass got me started on.
Thinking back, I remember doing a pretty cool intervallic arp on the Cacophony song “E.S.P.” (at 5:30) from the album Go Off! One neat thing I did in that solo was rhythmically pause after the first three notes. That gave it a totally different vibe than if I had just played it straight through. I think that small little solo is uniquely me. I can’t categorize it musically.
I have seen guitarists stress out because they aren’t creating their own style. My advice is to relax, practice, and try making little changes to licks that have been done before. One day something will click in your playing. It is about the journey and love of music. I remember hearing an old bootleg Jimi Hendrix recording, before he was the man. It sounded like Jimi, but the magical mojo wasn’t there yet. It made me remember that it takes a lot of practice and experience before it clicks and you start to become your own musician.
Jason Becker is a composer and guitarist whose work can be heard on his solo albums, and with Cacophony and David Lee Roth. Check out this sexy man’s story in the award-winning documentary Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet.