Learn a Lick 6: Rising Force

Guitar Scales

The following post talks about scales. If you really want to learn every major, minor and pentatonic scale for guitar (along with the chord-tone arpeggios), you’ll want to get my new ebook ‘Advanced Guitar Basics: Scales and Arpeggios’ (click the link for more!).

So, recently I’ve been very busy, and then I was ill- so I haven’t managed to do a video for a while. That’s the bad news.

A shred lick in the style of Yngwie Malmsteen

The good news is that I’ve managed to spend some of this time sharpening my shred skills. I mean, if you’re stuck inside, ill, with nothing to do, why not learn some Yngwie Malmsteen, right?

Anyway, this explains this week’s lick, which is based around a single-string, harmonic minor scale pattern. This is just like the kind of thing that Yngwie would play in one of his awesome neoclassical shred solos.

Don’t be fooled by the way this lick only uses one string! This actually makes it slightly more difficult to play if you’re not used to the constant position shifts!

Here’s the video:

As you can see in Ex.1, we’re playing the A harmonic minor along the thin E string. It’s a good idea to get familiar with this scale first, as these are the notes that the entire lick is based around.

the A harmonic minor scale along the high E string of the guitar

Then, we take a four note pattern, and apply it to these notes. This might be easier to see if it’s written down, as in Ex. 2.

an Yngwie Malmsteen style shred guitar lick in A minor along one string

Following the Pattern

Now, if you look at the notation above the tab, you can clearly see that the notes are divided up into groups of four. You may also be able to see that each group of four follows a similar pattern: play a note, then play the note two notes up, and then come back down the scale to the first note.

This is the basic idea, but obviously as we move through the scale, the shape that you’re actually playing will change. At first we have: ‘4 7 5 4’, then we jump up to ‘7 10 8 7’- which is the same shape with your fingers (use fretting hand fingers in the order: ‘1 4 2 1’).

Then, the next part of the pattern is ‘5 8 7 5’, which is a slightly different shape due to the scale we’re following (use fingers: ‘1 4 3 1’ for this part).

Watch the Position Shifts!

Make sure you get the position shifts clean, as this is the part that can mess you up the easiest! Play the notes with the fingering patterns that I’ve suggested, and then more your entire hand along the neck to the next position. Don’t make the mistake of trying to just move your fingers, as this will cause your hand to ‘scrunch up’, or to stretch out…

…then you’ll have to line your fingers up with the frets all over again, for the new position on the neck!

It’s much quicker to keep your fingers fairly straight, and just move your whole hand to the new position, using your arm. It can take a while to get used to this, but- trust me- it’s worth it in the end. Also, when moving to each position, you want clear, separate notes, not a slide!

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