In The Style Of Thomas Erak

author: georizzo date: 08/10/2009 category: guitar gurus
rating: 8.4 / votes: 14 
Thomas Erak is the lead guitarist and lead vocalist for the progressive rock/post-hardcore band The Fall of Troy. As a guitarist, he claims to be influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Billy Corgan and Dave Knudson. As a writer, he claims Kurt Cobain is his biggest influence. He has been playing the guitar since 2000. Hey guys, this is a quick little lesson in which I will go over in general a few of the commonplace techniques that I have noticed in Erak's playing, and if people want it, I will make a second lesson with further techniques, as I wasn't able to put them all in this one. Techniques I will discuss are:
  • pull-offs combined with open strings
  • pull-offs combined with hammer-ons and open strings
  • chords with quick lead phrases between them
  • alternative chords
  • dissonant chords (harsh sounding chords) 1. Pull-offs combined with hammer-ons and open strings Erak, when using this little technique will usually play it using grabs of a major scale shape, but any scale can be used to the same effect.
    Phrygian mode
    e|------------------------5-6-8-6-5------------------------------------------|
    B|-------------------5-6-8---------8-6-5-------------------------------------|
    G|----------------5-7-------------------7-5----------------------------------|
    D|-----------5-7-8-------------------------8-7-5-----------------------------|
    A|------5-7-8-----------------------------------8-7-5------------------------|
    E|-5-6-8---------------------------------------------8-6-5-------------------|
    
    e|-6p0-5p0-----8p0-6p0-5p0---------------------------------------------------|
    B|--------6p0----------------------------------------------------------------|
    G|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    D|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    A|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    E|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    
    He also may just use the technique with triads on the top three strings.
    
    e|-7---------7---------3-----------------------------------------------------|
    B|-7---------8---------5-----------------------------------------------------|
    G|-7---------9---------5-----------------------------------------------------|
    D|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    A|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    E|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    
    e|-7p0--------7p0---------3p0------------------------------------------------|
    B|----7p0--------8p0---------5p0---------------------------------------------|
    G|-------7p0--------9p0---------5p0------------------------------------------|
    D|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    A|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    E|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    2. Pull-offs combined with hammer-ons and open strings An extension of the first technique. Still using the Phrygian mode:
    e|-8p0-6p0-5p0-----------------------|--------------5p0----------------------|
    B|-------------5p0-5h6p5p0-----------|-------6p0-5-----6p0-5h6---------------|
    G|-------------------------5p0-5h7p5-|-7p5p0---------------------------------|
    D|-----------------------------------|---------------------------------------|
    A|-----------------------------------|---------------------------------------|
    E|-----------------------------------|---------------------------------------|
    3. Chords and quick lead phrases between them Erak loves to use this technique, where he'll play a chord progression, but throw some quick leads in the mix.
    e|-------3p0---------------5p0-----8p7p0-------------------------------------|
    B|----------3p0----------------7p0-------------------------------------------|
    G|-4-4-4--------2p0--5-5-5----------------7-7-7-------------7-7-7----7-------|
    D|-2-2-2-------------4-4-4----------------5-5-5----5-7p5----5-5-5-7/9--9p7---|
    A|-3-3-3-------------5-5-5----------------7-7-7-5h7------7--7-7-7---------10-|
    E|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    4. Alternative chords What's common these days? The root, the fifth, and the octave. These can get old sometimes so Erak tends to play some jazz chords, inverted power chords, triads, etc. These first ones are basic triad shapes and can be moved up and down the fretboard.
    e|-2----5----7----5----8----5----3-------------------------------------------|
    B|-3----7----7----5----7----6----2-------------------------------------------|
    G|-2----7----5----5----7----7----3-------------------------------------------|
    D|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    A|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    E|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    
    e|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    B|------7----8----10---9-----------------------------------------------------|
    G|-7----7----7----7----9----9----8----7----9---------------------------------|
    D|-9----7----7----7----7----7----9----5----7---------------------------------|
    A|-7-------------------9----9----7----3----9---------------------------------|
    E|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    5. Dissonant chords (harsh sounding chords) Using chords that would sound terrible in a normal context, Erak intertwines cacophonic chords with euphonic chords to make strange progressions. Dissonant chords can usually be found in his breakdowns.
       Q  E E  Q  E E  Q  E E Q  E E  Q  E E  Q  E E E  E E E  E E E  E E E  E E E
    e|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
    B|------------------------5--5-5--------------------5-6-5--4-5-4--3-4-3--2-3-2|
    G|---------5--5-5---------8--8-8----------9--9-9----8-9-8--7-8-7--6-7-6--5-6-5|
    D|-2--2-2--4--4-4--2--2-2---------2--2-2--8--8-8--2---------------------------|
    A|-2--2-2--3--3-3--2--2-2---------2--2-2--7--7-7--2---------------------------|
    E|-0--0-0----------0--0-0---------0--0-0----------0---------------------------|
       .  . .          .  . .         .  . .          .       
    This is my first lesson created, and would appreciate constructive criticism, tips, corrections, and improvements. Feel free to post comments for questions. Or more directly email me. If you guys want it, I'll gladly post a part 2.
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