Welcome to another exciting edition of Lethal Guitar. Thanks for logging on and diving in -- you've helped make this series a huge success.
So far, we’ve covered some fundamentals in technical/melodic development. As we move forward, we'll get deeper into ways you can gain substantial ground as a guitarist. Also in Lethal Guitar this year, I’ll be teaming up with Michael Angelo Batio, Rusty Cooley, Rob Marcello and others to give you guys some incredible lessons on developing your guitar technique and dexterity so, stay dialed in!
In last month's lesson we discussed a comprehensive approach to harmonizing every possible note in a key with arpeggios. The lesson not only illustrated the theoretical analysis of a key, but offered technical challenges for both hands by dissecting each arpeggio into sequential triplets and major/minor thirds. In this edition of Lethal Guitar we’ll take the knowledge gained so far and get a much better understanding of how it can be utilized.
Many times while teaching the Full Shred Ahead class for the National Guitar Workshop, I get this question: “How can I take this knowledge and apply it in practical rock guitar situations”? The old saying “knowledge is power” certainly rings true. Your knowledge of theory is the most powerful tool for you as a rock guitarist. While I was in college studying music I took every theory, advanced theory, orchestration, conducting, point/counterpoint, every class available to me. I love to analyze things to the “nth” degree -- that has and continues to pay incredible dividends to me as a musician. I’m going to give you some insight into my experience in this regard as applied to the arpeggio work we’ve covered so far.
1. A very common form of the natural minor arpeggio can be substituted in a number of different and very practical/effective ways. First, I’ll illustrate this arpeggio and the minor chord typically associated with it.
2. The notes present in this arpeggio are F#, A, and C#, thus an F# minor arpeggio. We can also look at this arpeggio as an A13 by using the note “A” as the root instead of F#. Thus the A=root, C#=third, and F#=thirteen. I use this arpeggio over basic rock licks. It really adds a new flavor and depth to typical melodies used by most rock guitarists. Here’s the arpeggio and the thirteenth chord associated with it.
3. We can also use this arpeggio as an A9 or Am9 with a whole step shift in the position of the arpeggio. After the position shift of a whole step down (descending in pitch) from it’s beginning at the 9th fret to beginning at the 7th fret our notes are B=9, G=b7, E=5, ending with A as the root, like so.
Or like so...
4. Here we use the same arpeggio over a major 7th chord by again adding the note A into the mix as the root. Thus we have A=root, G#=major 7th, E=5th, C#=3rd, giving us an Amajor7 arpeggio.
5. The final example uses yet the same arpeggio as a minor 7, 9, 11, or 13. If we add the note A as the new root and the note G as a minor 7th, the arpeggio goes great with a minor 7th chord. Now we have A=root, G=minor7th, B=9th, D=11th, F#=13th. This arpeggio will work with just about any minor chord.
Next issue we’ll take the common major arpeggio, and explore some of the harmonic possibilities associated with it. You can take any form of the minor arpeggio and use it in the contexts explained here. If you do, you’ll break out of the typical, hum-drum approach rock guitarists use for the arpeggio. Remember, always practice using a clean tone at first, use a metronome, use logical fingerings, and alternate picking carefully (no two downs or ups in a row). Finally, use these ideas over common licks to really spice up lead lines. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your listeners. See you guys and gals next month in Lethal Guitar.
©Jeff Beasley 2008
Jeff Beasley holds B.A. degrees in Music and Classical Guitar. He offers his readers 30 years of experience in studio, teaching and performance. He is on the National Guitar Workshop faculty in Nashville, TN. Jeff's CD "Tiebreaker" is available through CD Baby, Guitar 9, and Jeff's website; GuitarSource3.com. Jeff holds endorsement agreements with Dean, Peavey, DiMarzio, RKS, THD, Ensotec, Robert Keeley, Knucklehead and In Tune.