Apr 5, 2013
Brandon is back with the latest Break Through Consciousness column! Sorry it’s a few days late, but I’ve been moving house (and cities! Hello Auckland) and just got the internet connected last night so it’s totally my fault! Anyway – last month Brandon talked about interesting arpeggio construction. Read on to find out what’s in store this time! ~thesamurai
First up, I’d like to say a big thank you to all that have been following the column here – the support has been awesome, and I have had some really enthusiastic feedback thus far. Don’t forget to spread the word to all your friends! Now, onto the cool stuff…
TRCM – Origins
The origins of this song go back to when I left Blindspott at the end of 2007 – well, back then it was just the intro and the verse that were floating around. This song has heavier elements to it compared to the other songs on the EP, and the song is really a journey through a range of influences, which you will hopefully notice when you hear it in its entirety – not too far away now!!!
TRCM rose from the ashes of an accidental deletion of one of my archives – a really unfortunate incident where I lost lots of old song ideas. The idea for the song spawned from some arpeggios I had written on my 7 string, using the bottom 3 strings. Fortunately for you six-string slingers, the lower arpeggios I loved so dearly no longer feature in this track… however, they do make an appearance all flashed up and two octaves higher AND harmonized. \m/
So, in this section we will be learning the main melody for the verses in the song. This part of the song is in the key of D minor/F Major. The D minor scale is used in the verse with the appearance of an C#augmented arpeggio which can be derived from the D Harmonic minor scale or just randomly chucked in there because it sounds cool, that’s what I did, hahaha! (my brain just melted ~thesamurai)
So for the Slow Burn section, we’ll be going through some of the scales I used in TRCM, to help you break it down a little further into manageable building blocks. In all of these examples I use alternate picking, starting with a downstroke. Above the tab are the fretting hand fingers used to execute the scale – use this as a guide, though if a different fingering feels more comfortable for you then feel free to go for it. There are no rules!! Once you have mastered this try experimenting with note groupings and order – you never know when you might stumble upon a killer riff or lick.
For the verse, we used D Minor first of all:
D minor Scale – Slow
D minor Scale – Fast
Here we have the Harmonic Minor scale which is almost identical to the Minor scale – the difference being that the 7th note of the scale is sharpened (raised up 1 fret). That one note makes a huge difference to how it sounds and what chords can be built. This scale has history with Gypsy and Indian music, and lends a very exotic sound to your playing. Players who make great use of this scale include Yngwie Malmsteen, Jeff Loomis, and many others… and of course, me, haha!
D Harmonic Minor Scale – Slow
D Harmonic Minor Scale – Fast
Using sequences is another way of making a simple scale sound interesting and cool. This can help with developing killer guitar solos, and is a method often used by players like Paul Gilbert for constructing interesting repeating licks across the fretboard. For example let’s take 6 notes from a scale and simply play 3 notes. Then, we go down one fret and play another 3 notes. Rinse and repeat until the scale is finished – really simple concept, right? But when you string it together, it can be come a monstrous lick from hell! Here is a better example:
Below each number will replace the note of a scale
Normal Scale played from start to finish (Boring!)
6 5 4 3 2 1
Normal Scale using 3 note sequences (Much cooler!)
6 5 4 – 5 4 3 – 4 3 2 – 3 2 1
Thank you for checking the column everyone! If there are any questions you need answered please leave a comment. I might not reply instantly – but I will definitely reply! Have a killer month, see you all at the end of the month!