I smile every time I think of the clip of Skwisgaar fighting dragons and shredding. A couple of months ago I "tuned my guitars downs to the low C" and promised myself I wouldn't move till I could play this... So here it is broken down and explained in sections for your enjoyment/ridicule (whatever floats your boat). As usual we'll break the solo down into sections and look at anything that could be potentially problematic. I'll also leave a link to YouTube at the bottom of the article.
Section 1 TipsThe first section deals with a very fast 2 note per string pattern. It will help to have done pentatonic speed building exercises or anything in the Zakk Wylde/Black Label Society realm of soloing. Let's take a look at the lick (see excerpt below).
It's a fast lick yes... But it's only 2 notes per string. Try practicing at a less terrifying amount of beats per minute and build speed, stamina and confidence accordingly.
Section 2 TipsThe second section deals with some pretty hectic sweep tapping. This style of arpeggio generally scares people and leaves them running for the hills. Before looking at the whole passage let's try and get the concept and thought process right on one simple 3 string sweep tap arpeggio (see diagram below).
You'll notice that the arpeggios start from the tap and legato the the 10th fret of the second string. I've heard Greg Howe refer to these as "Hammer ons from nowhere." It isn't until we reach the 3rd string that we start the sweeping part of this arpeggio. Repeat this simple arpeggio until you're comfortable with the concept. After that try tackling this excerpt and then watching the video link for the whole passage (see excerpt below).
As complicated as it is you're basically working with major and minor triads with the odd/cheeky 7th in there. Take it slowly and build this technique and soon or later you'll be sweep tapping like a like a tap dancing janitor.
Section 3 TipsSection 3 uses a very similar thought process to section 1 in that we're using a 2 note per string shredding pattern (see excerpt below).
Even though we're only working 2 notes per string I personally found it hard to do quick changes between my ring and my pinky between strings. It might be wise to just bar your pointer finger and alternate between the other fingers. This is a cool lick but it's super fast... Please be patient with building the speed on this one.
Section 4 TipsThe final section works with some flat finger sweeps (all the sweeps use a flat/barred pointer finger). These can be a complete pain in the butt if you don't address them properly so here's a few tips.
Flat finger sweepings for the dummies with the shames1. Rest your palm on the bridge to lightly mute the strings so that you don't get excess sustain from the notes played on the flat finger.
2. Try to roll your pointer slightly to when sweeping through flat fingered arpeggios. This is another way to stop mini chords sustaining during your arpeggios.
3. Flat finger arpeggios are not like other arpeggios in that we're not working through it one note and one finger at a time. We're almost just keeping a chord shape and rolling through it and adding in a bit of pinky legato at the end. Do be weirded out by the shape looking and feeling too prepared before your picking hand has hit the strings!
Now that we've enjoyed a quick crash course let's take a look at an excerpt from this section (see excerpt below).
Once you get your head around this, watch the video link to get the full section and remaining arpeggios explained in full detail!
Hope you guys have enjoyed this! Happy shredding!
By Chris Zoupa