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Sam Bell - Extreme Shredding Part 4: Modern Legato Lick

Lesson Notes

** As featured in issue 44 **

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to the latest instalment of my Extreme Shred Column for Guitar Interactive Magazine. In the last three columns of this exciting series we have been delving deep into some truly juicy ideas for expanding your shred legato technique on guitar. These ideas have been developed by many great guitarists over many years and take a lot of inspiration from instruments other than guitar. A lot of the extreme legato lines you hear today in modern Rock Fusion stylings from players such as Greg Howe, Richie Kotzen, Tom Quayle and Brett Garsed have been initially inspired by Be Bop horn players. Of course some of these sequences on guitar don’t often sound identical to their original foundations of inspiration when put in a Rock context however listening to other instruments can help you find new ‘non-guitaristic’ ways of phrasing new lines and ideas. There are many great players who have done this, but I must mention Allan Holdsworth. A guitarist who has said he didn’t want to play guitar originally, he wanted to play a horn instrument! But thanks to his determination to make the guitar sound more horn like he carved new innovative ways of playing jaw dropping lines on the guitar. Many of the guitarists I mentioned earlier were very inspired by Holdsworth’s approach to his guitar sound, technique and composition.

So! In this issue's column I am going to show you a lick that originally would be very typical in the shred guitar world however we are going to visualise the pattern slightly differently and apply a very common sequence to it, however it sounds a lot more impressive than it really is which is great! Please be sure to watch the accompanying video with the backing track and me talking through the lick, also check out the accurate PDF or Guitar Pro tab available with this column for a transcription of what is going on. In this write up I am going to explain a bit more about the pattern and the sequence.

This F#m lick is made of two halves, if you have been following my series so far (which I hope you have!) you may recognise the second half of this lick from the first column, however I have added some variations to this. The part that I really want to break down in this lesson is the first segment of the phrase. The pattern is based around a shape that appears a lot in shred guitar patterns, we may have originally learnt this as an Am triad sweep arpeggio, however I would relate this pattern to the ‘C shape’ in the CAGED system however we are changing the notes to add the b3 so we end up with a ‘Cm shape’ however we are in F#m, so this pattern is triad F#m arpeggio. This pattern is great for sweeping up and down and even sequencing if your sweeping chops are on fire! I however wanted to add some more notes from the tonal centre of F#m, so I added some diatonic notes to this shape so now we have a 3 note per string pattern on each string that is nicely surrounded by the triad arpeggio notes. This way playing this 3 note per string pattern, you are going to be more often than not highlighting these notes, we do end up doubling a note on the G string and B string however I think this sounds really cool, it creates a cool effect at high speeds and depending on the sequence you are playing you can end up with cool syncopated rhythms popping out of the phrase. I decided to play an intervallic sequence of 3rds in this lick which most of us may have learnt originally as a picking sequence however I feel this sequence is really satisfying to listen to and play with legato. I decided to double up the phrase on the top two strings for a more extreme effect to really catch the listener’s attention when we start this phrase a la Yngwie! I encourage you to try this with all the ‘C shape’ patterns you can think of in different diatonic or modal contexts, it’s really useful for some tasteful shred! And going back to my earlier rant on listening to other instruments, you will hear this kind of phrase used a lot in saxophone lines and you will hear a lot of doubling note ideas used for the reasons I stated above. It really adds some rhythmic and melodic excitement to longer lines giving them a cool contour.

Sadly that brings me to the end of this issue’s column, but be sure to practice well and go over the previous instalments of this series. And like always, come up with your own variations and sequences, I am just giving you basic information here that you can really manipulate into some truly crazy shred! If you are following this column and enjoying it I would really appreciate if you stopped by my Facebook page (Sam Bell Guitar) and let me know how you are finding it and if there is anything you would like to learn about in future instalments of my Extreme Shred Column! Until next time, shred well padwan!

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