Discover how one of the most influential jazz guitarists of all time combines speedy pattern-based licks, horn-style bebop lines, and trademark rhythmic ideas to create a unique sound.
• Explore a few of Metheny’s most memorable and melodic moves.
• Create fast chromatic licks.
• Slip folk and blues elements into your jazz lines. Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to consider Pat Metheny one of the most successful jazz musicians of the modern age. His fluid, singing style has influenced countless guitarists, and his ability to compose deep, folk-based melodies has solidified his reputation as a first-rate composer. In this lesson we’re going to look at some of Metheny’s signature moves.
Let’s begin with some of Metheny’s pattern-based ideas (Ex. 1). These are crucial to copping his approach, especially during his albums from the 1980s. This lick moves by so fast that the harmony almost doesn’t matter. It’s the target note, in this case E, that you should focus on.
Ex. 2 is a simple four-note figure that ascends chromatically. This gives us an easy entry to a notable technique: an “unprepared” hammer-on. (Fans of Greg Howe might call this a “hammer-on from nowhere.”) We’re quite accustomed to picking a note and then hammering on for a new note, but have you tried hammering on without picking a note on that string before? That’s a common technique Metheny employs, especially at faster tempos. Saves a lot of extra picking!
This example (Ex. 3) uses a shape that lies under the fingers quite well. As before, the last note in each four-note group is a “hammer-on from nowhere.”
Ex. 4 illustrates some of the most idiomatic figures in Metheny’s bag of tricks. The basic motif is a major 7 chord without a 5th. For each figure, Metheny typically makes sure the first and last note of the group make sense harmonically, but what’s in between functions as transitional material designed to generate momentum and melodic color.
Regardless of the style of a given track, it doesn’t take long to realize that deep down, Metheny is a jazz guitarist, through and through. Bebop language is critical to his playing. You won’t catch verbatim Charlie Parker licks—but the spirit is there. It’s evidenced by the horn-style articulation and the idea of playing changes, navigating typical jazz harmony in a way that balances spelling things out clearly and a healthy amount of ambiguity. Notice the appearance of an idea like Ex. 1 in the middle of Ex. 5.
Even in his earliest work, Metheny managed to artfully combine elements of modal jazz, folk, bebop, and Brazilian music to create a fresh and unique sound. This example shows a variety of signature techniques, including his legato-based approach that includes generous amounts of pull-offs and slides. Triadic-based ideas—like at the end of measure two (a descending root-position F triad) and measure four (a descending root-position C triad)—are crucial to grasping Metheny’s sound, regardless of era.
Who can play American music of any style without a nod to the blues? Ex. 6 shows Metheny’s flair for conjuring liquid blues lines that any guitarist could do well to digest.
Metheny’s rhythm playing really deserves its own lesson, or even its own book! Ex. 7 combines some trademark voicings that use open strings and 6/8 time, a favorite meter for his wild, folksy strums. The chord progression used here is a C# minor blues.
In jam situations, Metheny will pull out the standard jazz and funk vamps we all know and love. Ex. 8 is a modal tune that follows a four-bar vamp on each of the following chords: Fm7–Db7–Dm7–Fm7. Overall, the playing is quite inside, but the approach is filled with triadic pairs—the idea that two triads can suffice to explore the basic sound of a mode or scale. In the Fm opening, there a strong emphasis on chord tones, but there’s a Gm triad (G–Bb–D) superimposition, as well. The Db7 section reflects a triad pairing of Db and Eb, which imparts a Db7#11 type sound, embellished with a touch of bebop chromaticism. While the Dm7 material is purely Dorian, triads (rather than scale work) feature prominently here: C, Am, Dm, and Em.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.