Greetings Premier Guitar readers and welcome to this month's Lethal Guitar! In this exciting issue we have my friend and fellow shredder Mr. Rusty Cooley giving us a generous portion of some mind-blowing exercises to push our shredding abilities into the 21st century. Rusty sent a message to me on myspace a few months back, “Nice playing bro,” since then we’ve developed a friendship and I have to say that besides being a great player, he’s an honest and humble guy. Of course Rusty is busy with two instructional vids coming out - “Fretboard Autopsy 1 & 2," a 10 minute guest appearance on Mark Tremonti’s instructional DVD, guest solos on the All Shall Perish and Sean Baker Orchestra cd’s and testing the Jason Becker Perpetual Burn overdrive/distortion pedal for Protone. Regardless, he still took the time to give the Lethal Guitar readers an awesome lesson.
Rusty’s reputation as a 21st century shredder is bolstered by number of magazines honoring him with accolades, reviews, interviews and featured lessons that too numerous to mention here! Suffice it to say that if you haven't connected with his playing yet, you'll see what everyone's tripping over after you go through lesson below.Ok, enough talk -- here’s the action... ladies and gents please welcome Rusty Cooley…
Thanks Jeff! In this lesson I want to share some techniques I use in my playing. We'll start with a legato, four note per string sequence using all four fingers -- a concept I call milking an idea for everything its worth. Of course, that’s when you come up with a cool lick or idea and try to apply it in as many ways as you can. There no sense in letting one good lick just be one good lick; I feel like I’m wasting a valuable idea if I don’t use this technique as much as possible. Also, all of these licks can be used with alternate picking as well.
This shows the initial sequence we are going to be using throughout the lesson. It’s good to get this going before attempting the rest. We have some big stretches so take it easy and be sure to warm up. Also, the sequence is a group of six and you only pick the very first note. We are in the key of A Major and these licks can be played over A or E Mixolydian type progressions
Here’s how you can apply this idea to a single string run. Only pick the first note. You can use this all the way up and down each string in any mode or key once you have it under your fingers.
In this example we apply the concept to a linear two string run. I also start this one with a lead-in note or pick up note which ever way you want to think of it. So the first group is seven instead of six. Again only pick the first note.
In this one I show you how to expand the concept to all six strings in a single position. If you have ever attempted to play a four note per string scale in one position you will have noticed that every time you change strings you get a repeat note or a clone tone as I have heard it referred to in the past. So the beauty of this sequence is you’re able to avoid that clone tone because of the sequence. I love this approach to avoiding the clone tones and experiment with other sequences that utilize this technique.
Now we are going to the key of A Minor and applying the sequence to a three octave run. There’s lots of position shifts in this one so take it slow and be sure to memorize it before attempting to rip it up.
Here we are using a technique that I call 'reverse linear' - it’s where you are going higher on the neck but the pitch is getting lower. It’s a little strange at first but it’s one of my favorite ideas. We are back in A major for this one.
This one gets to be pretty ridiculous as we apply the sequence to a string-skipping multiple position A Minor Pentatonic scale. There are some huge stretches so go easy on this one.
Here’s one last example where I’m using string-skipping with an A H/W Diminished scale. Try this one over an A13b9 chord to get a really cool fusion sounding lick ala Allan Holdsworth who is one of my all time favorites.
Wow! There you have it Lethal Guitar readers - an awe-inspiring glimpse into Rusty Cooley’s world of guitar shredding. Obviously these examples are not for the faint-hearted, but if you follow Rusty's instructions you’ll notice a dramatic improvement in your overall guitar playing. Thanks for logging on and tuning in, see you next month.
©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.