I've always loved Dan Donegan's work. He manages to juggle metal brutality with fist raising rock better than most... I honestly think if I didn't dislike David Draiman's voice so much I'd listen to this band a lot more. This solo will deal with some open string licks, some fast legato and a sweep tap which is quite redonk. As usual we'll break the solo down into problematic sections. I'll leave a YouTube link and a tab to this solo at the bottom of the article also.
Section 1 Tips:This whole section and lick takes place on the 4th string. Keep in mind that the whole lick is using quavers and we're just trying to keep a steady alternate pick motion without rushing into shred speed. Let's take a look at the lick (see excerpt below).
The position and emphasis of the open and fretted notes is pretty inconsistent and gives lick a strange emphasis... But keep in mind its a basic 4/4 beat with quavers. Take it slowly till your emphasis and phrasing locks in with the song and pulse.
Section 3 Tips:The 3rd section has a really cool arpeggio with a flat 5th (or #4) in it. If we still in standard tuning the rough arpeggio shape we are dealing with is an 'E' major (b5) arpeggio (see diagram below).
When you play through this arpeggio the 3rd and 7th note both stick out and add an interesting moment of tension that you just don't get with your standard 1, 3, 5 arpeggio. Let's take a look now at this arpeggio being used in the context of the song (see excerpt below).
It's a pretty cool lick with some extra outside notes added for exotic and even bluesy flavour. The lick itself isn't too difficult once you get the little moments of legato in the right place. I would strongly suggest trying to incorporate this kind of arpeggio and sound in your playing when dealing with either a Lydian backing or when trying to highlight the b5, or major 7th flavours in the IV chord of a progression.
Section 4 Tips:This section deals with some typical Dan Donegan pull off licks that I've seen in "Stricken" and "Inside the Fire." Let's take a look at the lick (see excerpt below).
If we look at these 2 bars I think of the first bar being groups of 4, 6 and 6 notes and the 2nd bar being 6, 6 and 4 notes. Pay close attention to where the legato/pulloff emphasis is. Once you know where the pull offs are, it really assists with picking direction. I down pick every note and then up pick the 13th fret on 1st string every time it isn't voiced as a pull off. Keep playing this lick over and over as it's a useful lick for speed build and an extra chop for the soloing/improvisation arsenal!
Section 5 Tips:The 5th section has some cool sweeps with taps which are an advance gentleman's technique. Before we look at the lick, I want to have a look at this sweep tap. If we were in standard tuning this would be a straight 1, 3, 5 arpeggio in 'D' minor with a tap (see diagram below).
Before you attempt the lick in the song it's a good idea to get the sweep tap concept down. Once you start feeling the speed build try letting your fretting hand legato/hammer the rest of the notes of the arpeggio that descend after the tap. Now the you guys have had a small crash course in sweep tap arpeggios let's take a look at the lick from the solo (see excerpt below).
The first bar of this lick is a few pulloffs working into a pretty standard sweep pattern, so that shouldn't be too hard to deal with if you're already a seasoned sweepist/janitor. The 2nd bar is when the taps get involved. Like i said before when the taps have finished, try to hammer the descending part of the arpeggio.
Section 6 Tips:The last section deals with some pretty cool blues licks. Dan uses a pentatonic with a flat 5 (the "blue" note) but instead of playing the usual box shape with a sneaky extra not here a there he has used 4 notes on one string and 2 notes on the other. If you haven't seen this before, check out the diagram below to look at what would be in standard tuning a 'D' minor blues pentatonic, with 4 then 2 notes per string (see diagram below).
As you can see and hear... It's delightfully win. Now that we have the shape down let's take a look at this sexy lick from section 6 (see excerpt below).
This is probably the slowest (and possibly the most tasteful) part of the solo. Pay close attention to sexy bends and placement of the flat 5th sound in the bluesy phrasing and if possible try incorporate it into your own playing!
I hope this has been helpful and/or life affirming. Happy shredding!
By Chris Zoupa