2013-10-13

Weekend Lick

I've been listening to a lot of Fates Warning lately, thanks to the release of their stunning new album. After listening to that new album a number of times over the weekend, I switched over to the band's previous effort, 2011's Arch/Matheos album, Sympathetic Resonance.

While listening to one of the guitar solos on that album, my ears caught a really interesting lick from lead guitarist Frank Aresti. It is innovative and familiar at the same time, which is always an appealing combination in music.

Let's take a quick look at the "standard" version of the lick. This is a lick that nearly every guitarist knows how to play. It is a straight forward blues lick which, thanks to the magic of high gain amplification, can be played at lightning-fast speeds to the delight of fans everywhere:


When you get comfortable with this lick, you can play it with a single pickstrock on the high-E.

Aresti, however takes gives this lick an interesting update by adding a single tapped B note to every iteration. The result gives the lick some interesting characteristics. First, it makes the lick sound less like a bunch of annoying blues notes, and more like an Em7 arpeggio. Second, the extra note converts the phrase into a series of repeating quintuplets, which gives the passage a much smoother flow. That is to say that repeating 16th notes can often sound metronomic, while repeating quintuplets tend to sound a bit less robotic, and a little more groovy.

So, here's the lick as updated by Frank Aresti:


One of the major benefits to learning this lick is that it involves a vocabulary that you probably already possess, so it won't take long to learn; but meanwhile, you'll have injected a breath of innovative shredding into your playing.

Give it a try, and see how it goes!