guthrie govan

Here are 16 of our favorite stomp stations from the past year, including Chris Shiflett, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Holt, J Mascis, the AristocratsBryan Beller, Wolf Van Halen, Shinedown, and more.

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Legendary rock guitarists such as Paul Gilbert, Guthrie Govan, Shawn Lane, and Nuno Bettencourt created wildly interesting and provocative lines by simply skipping over the obvious choice.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Beginner
Lesson Overview:
• Become more fluent in three-note-per-string scales.
• Unleash the power of intervallic licks.
• Learn how to navigate arpeggios using string skipping.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

In this installment of Cram Session we’ll take a look at some inventive ways to practice and apply various string-skipping techniques. It was during the ’80s and ’90s that Eric Johnson, Paul Gilbert, Nuno Bettencourt, Shawn Lane, and other legendary rockers pushed the boundaries of what was possible on the guitar, and skipping strings was one of the principles these players refined and perfected.

The basic concept is simple: When you play a lick, don’t move to an adjacent string.

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Guthrie Govan says there’s a reason he always looks the same when photographed playing live: He’s working a volume pedal nonstop.
Photo by Kris Claerhout

The maestro on the Aristocrats’ Tres Caballeros, pedal problems, and the other instrument he wants to master.

It’s hard not to bedazzled by the Aristocrats in action, as guitar god Guthrie Govan unleashes multi-octave, tapped arpeggios at warp speed atop head-spinning, ultra-precise, odd-meter grooves flawlessly executed by drummer Marco Minnemann and bassist Bryan Beller. The three superhuman virtuosos came together by accident at Winter NAMM 2011, when Govan filled in on a gig for Greg Howe. From the first note, the chemistry was obvious, and the Aristocrats were born. Outside of the Aristocrats, the members perform as sidemen to an A-list of musician’s musicians: Govan and Minnemann are part of Steven Wilson’s recording and touring band, and Beller is the bassist of choice for guitar icons like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Mike Keneally, and Dweezil Zappa.

Time is always in short supply for these busy musicians, so they adopted a new strategy to get their music in shape before recording Tres Caballeros: They arranged a weeklong residency at Alvas, a fusion club in San Pedro, California, and put each song through its paces. “We were able to rehearse the material for three days and then do four days of solid gigging,” says Govan. “We were relatively gig-fit by the time we got into the studio, and it really made a difference, I have to say.” Tres Caballeros was recorded at the legendary Sunset Sound Studios, where seminal rock guitar masterpieces by the likes of Van Halen and Led Zeppelin were born. While the group’s past efforts exploited the sonic possibilities of the trio format, Tres Caballeros aims for a more expansive sound with liberal use of overdubs.

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