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Martin Goulding - Modern Rock Techniques Part 11 - Sweeping & Tapping Techniques Applied To Extended Arpeggios Part 2

Lesson Notes

** As featured in issue 36 **

Hi there and welcome to this issue’s Modern Rock Techniques guitar lesson, with the eleventh part in our series looking at legato-based ideas including sweeping and left and right hand tapping guitar techniques. This guitar lesson also forms the second part in our two-part mini-series focusing on applying these guitar techniques to a framework of extended arpeggios. As we saw last time, by superimposing the diatonic 7th arpeggios from the b3rd, 5th and b7th degrees of our ‘home’ ii A minor 7/A Dorian tonal centre, we can create a cascade of colourful extended sounds, and with the combination of techniques resulting in a smooth, almost synthesiser-like effect.

I’ll again be demonstrating the ideas as sixteenth-notes at 160bpm over our backing track Full Roller (taken from the issue 30 solo study). This track features a hard-rock feel in A Dorian, and is downloadable along with the tablature by following the link on the page.

Get the tone

To get a good modern Rock tone, set the gain on your amp to maximum, with the bass and treble set slightly boosted (1 o’clock), and the mid-range either slightly scooped (10 o’clock) for rhythm or boosted (1-2 o’clock) for lead. For the lesson, i used my Ibanez J Custom with Bare Knuckles VH II pick-ups, through an Axe-FX II - set up with the Brit Super amp (based on the Marshall AFD head), along with a tubescreamer style overdrive pedal and some stereo delay.

Superimposing diatonic arpeggios to create extended sounds in A Dorian

This lesson applies a more advanced pattern to the extended arpeggio framework which we established in the last lesson. This framework is based around an ascending cascade of superimposed diatonic 7th arpeggios built from the b3rd (C major 7); 5th (E minor 7); b7th (G major 7) and 9th degrees of our ii A minor 7 ‘home’ chord. This creates a range of colourful sounds that extends the harmony of our basic 4-note A minor 7 chord up to the 9th, 11th and 13th degrees.

To recap our understanding of the intervals that comprise a scale or mode, let’s review figure 1, which sets out a two-octave A Dorian mode, showing extensions in the second octave.

Figure 1

A B C D E F#G        A B  C    D  E   F# G 

R 2 b34 5 6   b7       R 9 b10 11 12 13 b14   

To understand how we can use extended sounds in our playing, it’s crucial to develop a broad knowledge of the key system and its harmonised scale. With that in mind, let’s now review figure 2, which presents the G major scale harmonised as diatonic 7th chords. Underneath the chords, we can see the intervals presented from A as the root note. This gives us the formula for our A Dorian mode.

Figure 2

       I                  ii                  iii                IV            V             vi                 vii      

Gmajor7      Aminor7      Bminor7      Cmajor7      D7      Eminor7      F#minor7b5

                (Home chord)

    b7th               R                2nd             b3rd          4th           5th               6th

Example 1

Our first example is in 6/4 and presents a G major 7 arpeggio in position 4 (A-shape), relative to the CAGED/5-position system. The technique integrates a 3-note-per-string legato roll on the high E string, which includes the additional 6th or 13th degree. After extending the range with a right hand tap on the high root note - G, the example then descends to the B string using a left handed tap or hammer-on from nowhere. From here, the example ascends from the G string using another sweep stroke, this time skipping the 6th degree and hammering-on to the 7th. After a right hand tap on the high G, the arpeggio then descends using hammer-ons-from-nowhere.

As we are superimposing the G major 7 arpeggio over our ii A minor 7 tonal centre, we need to be able to visualise and hear the intervals as they relate to the root note - A. Let’s review this superimposition so we can see how the notes of the G major 7 arpeggio extend the intervals of our ii A minor 7 chord:

The diatonic arpeggio built from the b7th of our A Dorian mode is G major 7, with the following notes:

G(R)  B(3rd)  D(5th)  F#(7th)

When viewed from the perspective of A Dorian, these notes give us the following intervals:

b7th(G)  9th(B)  11th(D)  13th(F#)

As a formula, we can remember that over our ii minor 7 chord in any key, we can superimpose the diatonic major 7 arpeggio starting from the b7th degree. This extends our basic minor 7 tonality to include the 9th, 11th and 13th degrees.

Try to ensure that the sweep stroke is played lightly and in one single motion. To keep the notes well separated, and to avoid any dissonant clashes - focus on the fretting hand, with the finger pressure released as you play the next note. Practice the exercise slowly until memorised, before finding your base speed on the metronome and repeating continuously for five minute per day as part of an overall routine. During this timeframe, and in general when repeating exercises continuously - always shake out the hands and arms as soon as you feel the onset of any tightening sensations, fatigue or tension.

After a week or so, and when the exercise can be repeated continuously with good accuracy, timing and tone - try increasing the metronome slightly and again practice daily for another week or so before any further increase.

On the fretting hand - keep the thumb in the middle of the back of the neck, and with plenty of space from the underside of the neck to the cup of the fretting hand. For the left hand taps - hit down hard and from a height at first to encourage good timing and accuracy, and concentrate on an equal velocity between all the notes.

On the picking hand - hold the pick as normal for the sweep strokes and use the second finger to tap, so as to provide a seamless transition from sweeping to tapping. Position the hand flat with the heel/thumb-pad resting on the bass strings over the fretboard in order to mute, and close to where the tap is played. Try to minimise any movement in the right hand as you rest on the strings, so as to prevent any unwanted noise.

Example 2

This next idea expands upon the previous example by applying our pattern through the extended arpeggio framework established in last month’s lesson. This framework features an ascending cascade of arpeggios built from the b3rd (C major 7); the 5th (E minor 7), the b7th (G major 7) and the 9th (B minor 7). Each arpeggio creates a particular extended sound when superimposed over our A Dorian based backing track. Let’s review how the notes of our diatonic arpeggios can extend the harmony of our basic ii A minor 7 chord when superimposed:

1) The diatonic arpeggio built from the b3rd degree of our ii A minor 7/A Dorian mode is C major 7, with the following notes:

C(R)  E(3rd)  G(5th)  B(7th)

When viewed and heard from the perspective of our underlying A Dorian tonality, these notes give us the following intervals:

b3rd(C)  5th(E)  b7th(G)  9th(B)

As a formula, we can remember that over our ii minor 7 chord, we can superimpose the diatonic major 7 arpeggio starting from the b3rd degree. By doing this, we extend the intervals of our basic minor 7 chord a third higher to include the 9th degree, giving us an extended minor 9 sound.

From beat 3 of the second bar (remembering that we are applying a 6/4 pattern over our backing track which is in 4/4), we have the diatonic arpeggio built from the 5th degree of our ‘home’ ii A minor 7 chord - E minor 7. This gives us the following notes:

E(R)  G(b3rd)  B(5th)  D(b7th)

When viewed from the perspective of A Dorian, these notes give us the following intervals:

5th(E)  b7th(G)  9th(B)  11th(D)

We can memorise this superimposition as a formula, so it’s easier to apply in different keys or positions. Simply remember that over a ii minor 7 chord in any key, we can superimpose the diatonic minor 7 arpeggio starting from the 5th degree. By doing this, we extend the intervals of our basic minor 7 chord by two extra consecutive thirds - giving us the 9th and 11th degrees for an extended minor 11 sound.

In the fourth bar, we have the G major 7 arpeggio superimposed over our A minor 7 tonality, which as we’ve seen already - gives us the fully extended A minor 13 sound. From beat 3 of the fifth bar, we have the diatonic arpeggio built from the 9th degree - B minor 7. This gives us the following notes:

B(R)  D(b3rd)  F#(5th)  A(b7th)

When viewed from the perspective of A Dorian, these notes give us the following intervals:

9th(B)  11th(D)  13th(F#)  R(A)

As a formula, we can remember that over our ii minor 7 chord, we can superimpose the diatonic minor 7 arpeggio starting from the 9th degree. By doing this, we extend the intervals of our basic minor 7 chord by three extra consecutive thirds. This gives us the 9th, 11th and 13th degrees (for a variation in the voicing of our extended minor 13 sound in comparison to the previous G major 7/A). The cascade finishes with a return to the C major 7 arpeggio (A minor 9 sound) played an octave higher.

This example gives the effect of a gradual unfolding of all three extensions up to the 13th degree as the idea ascends, and provides a framework which can then be broken down and integrated with other ideas and concepts when improvising.

Example 3

This next example starts by applying our 6-beat sweeping and tapping pattern to the ‘home’ A minor 7 arpeggio, starting from the b7th in position 3 (Cm-shape relative to the CAGED system). Be aware of the use of the first to fourth finger hammer-on at the start, and which sets up the most efficient fingering for the rest of the arpeggio. Although unusual in conventional playing, this combination will occur from time to time when moving through arpeggio-based cascades.

The example continues from beat 3 of the second bar with a colourful sounding G major 7 arpeggio. This is superimposed over our A Dorian tonality to give an extended A minor 13 sound as we’ve seen. From bar 4, the example resolves back into the ‘home’ tonality with an A minor 7 arpeggio in position 4 (Am-shape relative to the CAGED system), and with the pattern finishing on the root note.

Example 4

Our fourth and final example for this issue features a shorter lick extracted from the main extended arpeggio framework presented in example 2. Starting in the first bar with the C major 7 arpeggio in position 4, the example then moves from beat 3 of the second bar to the next arpeggio in the chain - E minor 7. These two arpeggios are superimposed over our A Dorian tonal centre to give us an A minor 9 to A minor 11 extended sound. In beat 2 of the third bar, we move out of the arpeggio form with a slide into a legato full-roll on the high E string. The idea then descends on the B string to target a bend from the 6th degree up to the b7th, and finishing with vibrato.

That’s all for this issue, thanks for joining me and I’ll see you next issue for the twelfth part in our series, which will look at developing the left and right handed tapping approach to arpeggio playing.


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