Welcome to the fifth edition of the Shredder’s Ph.D. in Lethal Guitar. Man, are we kickin’ butt or what! In the past four issues we’ve covered some challenging approaches to technical development for you “Lethal” guys and gals. This month we’re going to continue in that vein and really get a handle on not only our picking hand, but our fretting hand too.
One of the most difficult techniques in Western music is the intervallic approach to melody. Here we can take an arpeggio or scale and break it into intervals based on tones in the scale or arpeggio. An interval in music is simply the distance between two different notes. There are many possible distances but in our culture certain distances are more common than others. The most commonly used intervals or distances in the west are thirds. As a matter of fact, almost all of our chords are built in thirds. There are two types of intervals, simple and compound. Simple intervals are an octave or less apart and compound intervals are greater than an octave apart. Today we'll focus on the simple intervals in major and minor thirds. The major third is when two notes are four frets apart and the minor third is when two notes are three frets apart. We’ll apply an intervallic approach in thirds to some five string arpeggios ascending and descending. This is great for really advancing your picking skills and developing your fretting hand finger independence. Off we go into the wild, blue yonder…
Start with a major arpeggio and break it into thirds, ascending and descending. Careful alternation of your picking is critical -- down, up, down, up.
Move from a D major to an E minor.
Let’s play the entire key of D major, utilizing the intervallic idea. D, Em, F#m, G, A, Bm, C#dim.°, D.
Ok guys and gals, next month we’ll go deeper in our study of the intervallic idea as applied to arpeggios. Remember -- strict, careful alternation of the picking is critical. I used this melodic idea in the track “Page Nine” on my debut CD Tiebreaker
. I’ve heard several other players incorporating this idea into their soloing. It’s not easy, but it creates a beautiful myriad of notes that also work extremely well harmonically. See ya next month.
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 Peavey, Dean, DiMarzio, RKS, THD, Ensotec, Robert Keeley, Knucklehead and In Tune.