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. This is musicianship.

Ultimate Guitar
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.
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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.
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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

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ZOSO <(")
    beautiful intro, i didn't care as much for the power chords and like malfeitor665 said "the shred solo" but i listened to the intro like 15 times lol ill be playing this a lot now.
    We are guitar players after all. malfeitor665 must play bass or something.
    That was just gratuitous wankery. Sounded mostly like crap. I'd take it back to the drawing board and add some musicality to it.
    Guess I shouldn't do it on American Idol!
    haha...I guess not...The basic melody part was actually all good...it was the shred solo that I felt ruined the song... Thanks for taking the criticism light heartedly and not getting all stupid-defensive like some people on here are prone to do... Extra points for that...
    I don't know what the hell happened during that "solo", but context is something you need to get a grasp on.
    What would be in context in your opinion? You mean something like theme and development, call and answer or less is more, pick a couple notes and build from there? I felt this was the perfect opportunity for some "just go for it" all out playing myself. Thanks for your feedback tho.
    The definition of "musical context" isn't an opinion...what the proper context is, is what's subjective. If you feel that abandoning the track (even seemingly losing time for small sections...can't really hear it on the little speakers here at work at %10, I could be wrong) is a good idea to show off solo work that is extremely out of place, well that's your opinion...by the time the main theme returns, you forgot what you were listening to. I'm not some troll, sorry if I came off as bashing your work, not at all. You had fun playing it, it shows, and it was mostly clean...that's what counts in this situation. If you really care to know what my opinion is on the arrangement...you lay on that Cry-Baby a little too much, it's too predictable and to any guitarist, comes off as a lazy and boring way to add texture. No question, it's understood why you did...but you know what I mean. The only real issue was the solo...don't get me wrong, it's right up my alley. But, the perfect places to wrap it up would have been right before the second tapping section. If you really needed it, fine, then right before the repeating lick at the end. Repeat it once, then a sweet bend on a double-stop or something. That's really where you lose the song. Regardless, you had fun and it was clean...like I said, that's what counts, who cares what someone thinks of it, from a compositional standpoint? I would never say something like this, as it's YOUR song to play how YOU want, but you got the impression that I was just being an unconstructive dick...which I gave, admittedly. Cheers and Happy New Year!
    No problem, this is not a tract house nor the Mona Lisa. I agree that the solo deviates completely from the melody. I certainly don't believe I've got it all worked out. No denial there. Your right, in the solo I considered taking out the last time through the chorus, and not floating over the time in the beginning of the solo among many other things. I also like it the way it is. Which is why I went with it. Your ideas are good and they would work well. I didn't even consider laying off the cry-baby on the main melody. I saw it as part of the voice. Expect the unexpected is something I personally enjoy in music. It excites me when an artist does that. I enjoy large contrasts and risks. As I'm sure you know there is a huge spectrum of choices artists have when creating. They can be perceived as good or bad, safe or risky, right or wrong, consonant or dissonant pretty or ugly. I try to choose the ones closest to my heart. That's the only way I'll truly experience the act of creating. I'm thankful that I can put something out there for a community of guitarists to see and react too. It's great fun too. If only one person has received something helpful here then the lesson has been taught. I've offered what I have to offer now it's in the hands of others. Happy New Year!!
    Wow, you really are taking the criticism well. . . yeah, the power cords were a bit much and the solo didn't fit so well (a bit too 80s), but you have good technique.
    I've been looking all over for "Doc" so I can get back to 1985 again. Have you seen him?