hey guys,

Ive been playing for just over 4 years now and im mainly into my melodic/technical death metal, however im a huge jazz fusion fan too.

Ive been learning theory and im currently studying grades 6-8 which is fine but i feel like im really struggling progressing with my playing. I dont really know what i can do to spice up my playing, id love to really get better at playing neo-classical stuff so if anyone has any exercises i should learn or solos please give me a shout.

Mainly i need help with my string skipping because its a technique that im currently not using enough, so ideally i want to learn some neo-classical style string skipping. i can string skip the harmonic minor scale from the d string to the e string but i need new ideas!
help a brother out!
Well, one way, probably the most common, is to take swept arpeggio ideas, like this:

   S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  H

And convert them to string skipping licks like this:

   S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  H

Only one note has been moved, but it creates a whole different feel than sweeping it. Throw in a scalar run at the end, and you get some neo-classical sounding sh*t. For example:

   S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  S  H

This sort of stuff is also incredibly good for getting your chops up - you really have to hop around the fretboard.
thanks alot for that man, thats a real big help i will have a go at that shortly!

I got diminished string skipping down which is really easy especially when you do 3 notes per string, just get all the minor 3rds in.

Do you know any cool harmonic minor runs?
Well, one thing I do a lot with harmonic minor, is...suppose you are descending back to down towards the root note. With regular minor it feels most natural to stop the first time you hit the root note and hold it for a little bit. With harmonic minor, I'll often continue down past the root note to get the sharp 7th, then go back up to the root note and hold it there. That seems to really emphasize the wierd exotic harmonic minor sound, and will often resolve the phrase really strongly.

This sort of stuff works well at the beginning of solos with harmonic minor too. Like slide into root note, hold for a moment w/ some vibrato. Then play the root note again with a quick legato from the root to the 2nd to the root to the sharp 7th and back to the root, then hold with vibrato. I believe this device is called a mordent. Then launch into a quick ascending run or something.

And of course, you can harmonic minor-ize any minor lick you know by finding all the 7th's and raising all/some of them a half step.

I hope this helps a bit!