In this article I want to show you how easy it is to connect various sets of different phrases using different techniques over a section of music that is being played in the 5th Mode of Harmonic Minor, something similar to what the great Yngwie Malmsteen might use to express a certain emotion in one of his solos.
The key we are in is the key of A Harmonic Minor. We have the notes A, B, C, D, E, F and G# in this particular key. For the rhythm parts we are droning the low open E string to emphasize the 5th mode of the A Harmonic Minor key for that "gritty" sound the V chord so eloquently communicates. There are two full diminished 7th chords on bar 14 and 15 respectively. We are using the G#dim and Bdim chords, which is actually two inversions of the same chord if you have a look at the notes each chord contain.
You can click on the following link to see a video of myself playing the lead part of this lesson. Be sure to look under the "Articles" tab for a free download of the notation I used in this video recording.
Bar 4 - 7:
Here we see a single string lick played all the way up to the B note and then bent up a half step to the C note. This note is very dissonant over the E chords being played as this chord contains a B note. The C note from the lead Guitar "clashes" with the B note from the E chord and this is the reason for the massive tension being created at the end of this particular phrase. Vibrato to the bent note is also applied here to express even more emotion.
Bar 10 - 11:
Here we use a normal descending scale using 16th note triplets to really get the speed going. We end on a G# note but use a half bend up to the A note for tension over the E major triad. We quickly take that note down to the G# again which is a consonant (Note in the chord being used) pitch. Again a wide aggressive vibrato is used at the end of the phrase.
Bar 12 - 13:
Here we use a succession of sweep picking arpeggios over the E major chord. We mix up 5 string arpeggios with 3 string arpeggios and also move up to the next inversion of this particular arpeggio to land up on the B note.
Bar 14 - 16:
In this little section we are using the diminished chords as described above. The lead Guitar is outlining the chord by simply playing a 3 string diminished arpeggio which moves down the fret board. The nice thing about this diminished shape is that it is a symmetrical shape which stays the same, all we have to do is move it a minor 3rd up or down. This is one of those licks inspired by the great Neo-Classical virtuoso’s and sounds great.
Bar 15 has a very fast sequenced lick followed by a huge bend from C# (Which is actually a very dissonant pitch) bent all the way up to the E note.
Bar 17 - 18:
Here we borrow a standard pedal tone lick from the great masters to get that "baroque" sound going. This is one of my favourite things to play over the V chord for added tension and effect.
Bar 19 - 20:
In these two bars we simply descend in the scale to the low G# note. This sets us up nicely for the run following the descending lick.
Bar 21 - 26:
This is one of my favourite sequencing tricks. We use a 6 note pattern with 16th note triplets. We start in the low register of the Guitar and work ourselves up all the way across the fret board and then move up higher and higher on a single string, all the time keeping with the same pattern of 6 notes until we reach the end of the phrase where we bend the D note to the E note and apply some vibrato to the final note. It can be applied by the fretting hand or simply use your tremolo arm by pressing on the back of your bridge and releasing it to the normal position multiple times in a rhythmic way.
A Final Word:
There we have a quick run through of all the licks and techniques I used here to create the solo. This is just an example of the things I would play over such a section of music. By no means are these the only things a player can play in this context. The key here isn’t to get hung up on the things I showed you here, I challenge you to come up with your own variations of the above and create your own style of soloing. I am sure you can create even better material than what I have shown you here if you invest a little time to learn the particular scale and play around with different variations of sequences and licks.
The other elements of music can also be changed up to create even more tension. An example might be to have the rhythm Guitar and Drums play 16th notes to get a double bass feel. This will make this piece sound even faster and more aggressive. You can also modulate to a different key and play in the 5th mode of that new key. Standing right next to each other creates an epic feeling of tension and will grab the listener by the throat, in a very good way of course.
About The Author:
George ShredKing Engelbrecht is a Neo-Classical Guitar Virtuoso in Vredenburg, South Africa. Visit GeorgeShredking.com and sign up to his newsletter for more information about practicing effectively and to keep up to date with his latest releases.