Middle Section Solo Part 2: B7b9 Arpeggio sequence
Another thing that I hear Jeff do a lot in his playing is his use of 7th arpeggios in a Phrygian Dominant environment. The notes in a B7 chord fit inside of B Phrygian Dominant B, D#, F# and A and it can create a little bit of harmonic ‘light’ in a harmonically dark sounding area. Jeff will use a lot of this interplay between light and dark sounding ideas in order to create tension and release in his solos. This particular arpeggio lick however features the b9 (C) that we find in the B Phrygian Dominant scale so we end up with a B7b9 arpeggio.
Fingering wise I am using mostly two notes per string in order to help the groups of 4 going up in 3rds sequence I am using throughout this phrase with the exception of some string skipping before the lick turns around and descends back to the B.
Middle Section Solo Part 3: More Cascading Diminished arpeggios!
The next lick adds a step more tension to the last lick we played, we are using the same kind of Diminished arpeggio patterns we saw in the Diminished/Chromatic part of this solo, however we are ascending more strings this time before ending on some tricky bends. I play the note I am about to bend with one finger whilst another finger is behind ready to instantly bend up to that targeted note, the phrase then moves higher up the fret board with a similar phrase but this time with a few more notes before the target bend. Jeff does a lot of this kind of phrasing with bending in his playing, it could be traced back to his Marty Friedman influence.
Middle Section Solo Part 4: Furious Phrygian Dominant 3 Octave Picking Lick
Before the middle section solo gives way to the next section, we end this section with a descending flurry of alternate picked notes starting at the 23rd fret, once you have the first 3 strings worth of the sequence it should be fairly easy to see how the pattern repeats. This lick is very inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen, another one of Jeff's early influences on his playing. Be sure to practice this lick slowly at first, concentrating on clarity, articulation and watch out for those string changes!
Ending Section Part 1: Diminished String Skipping
This lick is based on our chromatic diminished sweeping lick we saw near the start of the solo, however this time I wanted to demonstrate that you can use string skipping and alternate picking in order to create a similar sequence and effect. We ascend up 4 notes of the arpeggio before moving up a string and up a fret before playing another 4 notes. We then descend chromatically 8 notes before repeating the whole lick up a Minor 3rd. I alternate picked all of the notes in the performance of this solo, watch out when string skipping and executing the chromatic turn around at the end of each section of this lick
Ending Section Part 2: Whole Tone Alternate Picked Finale!
We end the Jeff Loomis style solo with a flurry of alternate picked whole tone scale notes. The whole tone scale is a scale consisting of only whole tones, it can create an eerie dreamy sound, and it can also sound terrifying and exotic when Jeff uses it like this!
The sequence uses a three note per string fingered whole tone scale, we are ascending the scale with a sequence based on one of Paul Gilberts classic alternate picking licks, however we have flipped it upside down in reverse and lengthened the phrase. I particularly found this lick tough due to the fact we are crossing strings using inside picking. The first string of this lick starts and ends on a Down stroke before crossing to the B string with an Up stroke, this creates an ‘inside’ picking motion, most guitarists find this a little bit uncomfortable at first, so I suggest taking the four notes of this lick and practicing only those notes finishing on the B string note until you feel comfortable enough to continue. The lick simply moves up in whole tones once the first sequence of 12 notes is completed before ending on a high bend on the E string 22nd fret.
So that brings us to the end of this Jeff Loomis style tech session, I hope you've enjoyed going through the licks and taking a deeper look into the amazing style of one of today’s most terrifying shred guitarists! Be sure to take these licks and apply them into your own playing, taking a ‘concept’ from each lick and applying it to other scales, arpeggios, rhythms and techniques can spawn hundreds of new licks, so get experimenting and most of all have fun!