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Tech Sessions

Gary Moore



Gary Moore's career spanned a wide territory, from classic Blues to Pop/Rock to Metal. Exclusively for Guitar Interactive readers, Jamie Humphries offers a set of unique insights into the style that made Gary Moore one of the all-time greats in this Gary Moore style guitar lesson covering both his blues and rock guitar techniques and style.

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Gary Moore

Lesson Notes
About The Artist

For this Gary Moore tribute guitar lesson Tech Session, I have recorded two “in the style of” tracks: one an 80’s style hard rock track, and a Blues ballad style track. Both tracks include a Gary Moore style guitar solo that include some of Gary’s favourite and famous guitar licks, as well as ideas and approaches to melodic themes in the style of Gary. To make these guitar solos more manageable I've divided them up into a series of licks, which you can see in our accompanying video lessons.

The Blues Track 

Our Blues track is a solo ballad, with a 12/8 time signature. Harmonically, this track is quite advanced as it shifts between different keys, with the role of the key chord G minor changing. The home key is G Aeolian, mode VI of Bb major, and makes use of its diatonic chords. But occasionally both the D major and D Altered chords are used, acting as the V chord of G Harmonic minor. During the verse we see the change between Gm and Em7b5, with Gm being seen as the II chord, and the Em7b5 as chord VII of Eb major.

I've divided our solo into 13 Gary Moore style blues guitar licks, which feature more of Gary’s blues/rock style. These licks are based around G Aeolian and both the G minor pentatonic and G Blues scales. Although G harmonic minor is implied in places, Gary would be more likely to phrase the G blues scale over this chord, to keep a more traditional Blues tone, as opposed to a more Jazz/Blues. Licks include melodic themes, classic blues guitar phrasing, fast pentatonic licks, and trills. Once again all of these licks are broken down and explained in our Gary Moore style video guitar tutorial, and transcribed examples can be downloaded…good luck!

Lick 1: 

Is a melodic figure that follows the chord progression and outlines the changes with bends and target notes. This figure is reminiscent to the melody heard in “Still Got the Blues”.

Lick 2:

Is an extension of the main melody and outlines the next set of chords in the progression. Pay at­tention when pitching the semitone bends.

Lick 3: 

Is a variation on our melody theme, and includes some additional lines to our figure.

Lick 4: 

Is a variation on the melody performed over the remaining chords of the verse section of our Blues tribute track.

Lick 5: 

Is our first lick that outlines a melody over the chorus progression chords. Pay attention to the phrasing of this lick.

Lick 6: 

Is our lick that concludes the chorus, and this lick includes more melodic phrasing, and reaches a climax with a fast signature penta­tonic run.

Lick 7: 

Illustrates the opening lick to verse two, and sees our melody lift up an octave. This lick concludes with a rapid pentatonic run and high register bend, so plenty of attitude and feel required.

Lick 8: 

Includes some high register searing bends, plus a descending scale sequence. Start the sequence slowly and gradually build the speed to make the lick more intense and dramatic.

Lick 9: 

Is an ascending fast trill lick that climbs on the G string.

Lick 10: 

Features a figure based around a G minor arpeggio, and some rapid tremolo picked climbing notes.

Lick 11: 

Is a lower register phrase that outlines the chords of the chorus pro­gression. Once again watch the pitch of those string bends.

Lick 12: 

Is a fast ascending pentatonic figure that uses all of the positions of the scale on the top two strings.

Lick 13: 

Is our final lick and is based around a looping pentatonic phrase. We conclude with some volume swell­ing notes.

The Rock Track

Our rock track is in the key of E Natural minor, or E Aeolian, mode VI of G major, and uses diatonic power chords from the key. I have also included the chord of B major, which is seen as the V chord of E Harmonic minor, often implied Phrygian Dominant, mode V of the Harmonic Minor Scale. As well as our licks, I've also included some unison melodies, a melodic tool often used by Gary. This track includes a solo broken down into 16 licks. The licks are all based around the E Aeolian Mode, and its diatonic modes, E Minor Pentatonic, and the E Blues scale. Examples also include arpeggio licks, whammy bar ideas, and extended sequences. Be sure to follow the video lessons where I break down and explain the licks in full.

Lick 1:

Is a unison lick that doubles the main keyboard riff throughout. The lick is based around a pedal tone figure, so take care with the picking. The lick concludes with a se­quenced run, that is in harmony with the keyboards.

Lick 2:

Is a simple melody line that demonstrates Gary’s use of the whammy bar for both vibrato and dive bombs.

Lick 3:

Is a classic Gary Moore lick that features fast trills that climb up the neck, pulling off to the open b string. The lick concludes with a short fast-picked scale run.

Lick 4:

Is a simple Bluesy looping pattern based around E minor penta­tonic. The lick concludes with a uni­son bend.

Lick 5:

Demonstrates Gary’s fast pick­ing abilities, and features a climbing figure performed with tremolo pick­ing.

Lick 6:

Shows how Gary used ar­peggios, with this lick being based around the Gmaj7th and Cmaj7th arpeggios, performed on the top 2 strings.

Lick 7:

Is another pedal tone lick, with this one gradually climbing up the neck, outlining the accompanying chords. Care should be taken when changing position.

Lick 8:

Is another ascending melodic phrase, which also demonstrates how Gary would use palm muting for extra dynamic effect.

Lick 9:

Is a slightly tricky lick, and shows how Gary incorporates two handed tap­ping into standard Blues licks.

Lick 10:

Is a triplet based E minor penta­tonic lick that ascends through the scale shape.

Lick 11:

Is another unison figure that is doubling the keyboard line. This figure is pretty tricky as you have to negoti­ate your way through several chord and modal changes, so take care.

Lick 12:

Is a classic whammy bar figure, where Gary strikes a natural harmonic and dips the bar rhythmically as he builds with the rest of the band. Make sure you mute out unwanted open strings.

Lick 13:

Is a nice simple melodic phrase based around the E Aeolian mode.

Lick 14:

Is a cool ascending figure that repeats as it climbs up the neck through various positions. This lick concludes with some whammy bar slurs.

Lick 15:

Is our famous “Out in the fields” lick, and is a group of four sequences ends through various positions, using both legato and alternate picking.

Lick 16:

Is another homage to “Out in the fields” and features one of Gary’s melo­dy-based figures.

Since the beginning of his solo career in the 1970’s, Gary Moore has become synonymous with the blending of rock guitar technique married with blues guitar sensibilities and feel; delivering powerful, high gain & sustain soaked guitar solos, borderline shred guitar technique, and dynamic soulful phrasing.

In this Gary Moore style guitar lesson Tech Session, we will be learning how to play like Gary Moore from both his 80’s hard rock era and his soloing approach to his famed blues ballads.

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