Learn a New Year's Classic With a Modern Edge - Auld Lang Syne

author: Rock Prodigy date: 12/21/2012 category: guitar techniques
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Learn a New Year's Classic With a Modern Edge - Auld Lang Syne
A lot of what we do as teachers, students and artists involves doing A, B and C to get X. But there is a point where it all comes together. The technique, theory, scales, chords, our ears, influences and passions... This is when we need to just let go and play! This is musicianship.


This video demonstrates a freeform take on a classic new years tune. Showing how individual we all are and how our influences and experiences come together to become our own sound. The performance is the intro to the recording of "Auld Lang Syne" in Rock Prodigy. Then the video walks you through the approach and the effects used.

Auld Lang Syne

This song of old days gone (generally speaking) is a good way to say by to the year with a good heart. To honor the history of electric guitar this version starts with the freeform intro as discussed above. Then kicks into a modern rock guitar driven groove inspired by albums like "Merry Axemas" and "Ho Ho Hoey". The solo has some extensive tapping, which is discussed below. Here's the full song in Rock Prodigy.

Tapping Pentatonics

A fun lick that was used in the solo of this song is to tap the next pentatonic note up on each pentatonic CAGED box shape. Here is a grid for each of the five shapes. The tapped note is in red.


Each of these licks is in one of the five patterns. They all have a different sequence as well. If you have Rock Prodigy these images are taken from the exercise Tapping Pentatonics free in the app. To take it up a notch try applying each sequence to all five shapes!

Lick 1

This one is with the G box shape in your fretting hand. The sequence is tap, pull-off, pull-off, in short TPP. Then go down three strings at a time. I think I got the three strings at a time idea from Paul Gilbert's videos or maybe Frank Gambale's "Chopbuilder" I'm not sure. Here's a fun forum on "Chopbuilder".

Lick 2

For lick 2 we move down to the A box shape. Here the sequence is to tap, pull-off, pull-off again, but this time do it twice on each string TPP, TPP and go down the scale. I'm pretty sure this idea of doubling the pattern came from the descending part of Eddie Van Halen's eruption.

Lick 3

Down to the C box shape. This time it's tap, pull-off, hammer-on. Then tap, pull-off, pull-off. Like this TPH, TPP. This idea of alternating TPP and TPH came from the beginning of Kirk Hammett's solo in Metallica's "One".

Lick 4

With the D box shape. It's tap, pull-off, tap, pull-off, hammer-on, pull-off. That's TP, TPHP. This sequence comes from the beginning of the Randy Rhoads solo in "Crazy Train".

Lick 5

For the last one we use the E shape, the sequence is hammer-on, tap, pull-off, pull-off. HTPP. Not sure where this idea came from. It could be anybody. I've always liked poly meter and this four note sequence over six notes per beat kind of idea is definitely a mini poly meter thing. This lick has one note that is not in the pentatonic. The open low E string is the major seventh or leading tone.
When I was first starting out on guitar as a kid. My Mom could only afford two months worth of lessons. In that time I learned the chords to a couple songs, a few cool riffs. One was the lead riff to The Offspring's "Change The World", and some power chords. For a year I was left to my own devices to noodle around here and there. I remember going to the library to look up tabs on the Internet. It wasn't till I made some friends who played that I was able to fully apply, understand and expand on the few things I knew. This experience led to 15 years of breaking the rules, learning the rules and breaking the rules again. With many more to come! With just a few theory concepts, one scale and developing your ear you can go a long way. As we learn more and more chords, scales, techniques and concepts it is through application that our musicianship and musical instinct will grow. Hope this rendition of Auld Lang Syne inspires you to get creative with some of your own songs. To you guitarists of all levels, thanks for reading and watching. Mike Georgia
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