This fast-paced lick comes to us courtesy of German Schauss and is from the upcoming book The Total Shred Guitarist by Alfred Publishing. “It’s based on the seventh mode of the Melodic Minor scale,” says Schauss. “This mode is also called the Altered scale and its formula is1, b2, #2, 3, #4/b5, b6, b7. It’s a very interesting sound and is usually used over a dominant chord or a non-functional major chord. The lick itself is relatively simple, consisting of a basic eight-note descending pattern that is repeated from string to string. It can be easily reversed and used as an ascending lick. Practice the different position shifts carefully and then put all the elements together. Don’t forget speed is a byproduct of accuracy.
PUT SOME METTLE TO YOUR PEDALS
GP alum and current guitar sub for the Broadway production of Mamma Mia Vinnie DeMasi gave us this coordination conundrum. “When a gig requires multiple stompbox, pickup, and preset changes, it’s imperative to practice these with the same diligence given to scales, licks, and tunes,” he says. “I need to have my pre-choreographed ‘pedal dance’ routines down cold if I want to make quick and seamless tonal changes. In this exercise, I’m alternating between two bars of clean arpeggios played on the neck pickup, and two bars of distorted power chords with the bridge pickup. I need to change pickups on beat four of bar 2, then stomp the distortion box on beat one of bar 3. To reverse the process, I simply change pickups back on beat four of bar 4, then kill the fuzz on beat one of bar 1 of the repeat. You can probably alternate between any two chords without looking at your hands. Shed with your pedalboard until you can switch between any two effects without glancing at your feet!”
LAY LADY BIRD, LAY
J. Vega, a guitarist/teacher in Los Angeles, sent in this little number. “It’s a two-bar ditty I came up with to play over the ‘Lady Bird’ turnaround, a jazzy, modified I-VIm-IIm-V in the key of C,” he says. “I like it because it hits some nice chord tones over the changes, it sounds cool, and it lays nicely under the hands in fifth position. Another benefit is that even if the chords are changed—like Ebmaj7 instead of Eb9, or Dbmaj7 instead of the Db9, the lick still works and sounds good.”