Dream Theater: 'Pull Me Under' Guitar Solo Lesson with Chris Zoupa

Hey guys. Check out my step by step article and tutorial on the classic solo John Petrucci plays in "Pull Me Under" by Dream Theater.

Ultimate Guitar
Standard tuning: E A D G B E

Level: Intermediate

"Images and Words" is such a delightful Dream Theater album and I really enjoy all of Petrucci's work on it. "Pull Me Under" has a great solo that's short, sweet and a great stepping stone for intermediate players trying to get to the next level. There's 2 biggish legato runs and 1 kinda tricky pull off riff. It can be quite technical at times so don't be impatient and build your speed up slowly. 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 and the tab at the bottom of the article.

Section 1 Tips

This solo is almost entirely in "E" Aeolian/Natural minor except for the final legato run which does a quick modulation to "E" Harmonic minor. The start of section 1 is relatively simple, but it ends on an almost Satriani-esque descending legato run (see excerpt below).

This legato run has a sliding entry and a slide at the end also. The most difficult bit for me was getting a confident clear slide with the pinky on the first string. After that the descend down the scale is a straight diatonic with obviously only 1 pick per string.

Section 2 Tips

The little 2 string legato lick sounds simple, but with the wrong picking emphasis can fall to pieces. Let's take a look at the lick (see excerpt below).

I think of this bar as 4 groups of six. You'll notice 2 pulloffs from 16th fret to 12th fret. I down pick both of these and also the 14th fret note on the "B" string. Out of the 6 notes on the 1st beat of the bar I only up stroke the 12 thats the last note in the group of 6. You can carry this picking pattern over to the other 3 groups of 6. I think of it as down pick, pull off, down pick, pull off, down pick then up pick (see diagram below).

Start out slow until you start to feel the pulse of where your picking is supposed to land then everything will come together naturally.

The last legato run is awesome but a bit challenging due to the notes and shapes that occur in Harmonic Minor. Let's take a look at the lick (see excerpt below).

As you can see the entire run is made out of demisemiquavers so the timing is consistent. Keep in mind there's a few slides here and there and they need to be played in time with the same note value/length as the other notes. This is a really great run to practice if you want to improve your legato and play around with some more interesting scales.

Download the tab here.

Have fun with this guys and happy shredding!

YouTube preview picture

By Chris Zoupa

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Darth Crow
    Yep, you probably are but it's all just a matter of taste.
    Darth Crow
    Well I don't know that either but I admit that I never really loved Pull Me Under, especially the intro. But only on the record, it sounds perfectly good live.
    Mr Winters
    For some reason my brain read Under a Glass Moon instead of Pull me Under and when I read that it was intermediate I was like "what in the ****"
    Do a solo lesson for Kalmah's "Hades" or "The Blind Leader", those fantastic solos are very hard to master.
    I was practicing these legato techniques already and then this shows up. Thanks Chris, I've been looking for ideas to increase the length of my descending runs without it sounding static.
    I am with you... this album does nothing for me but everyone always picks this as one of their best. I agree... from Awake on kicks ass. Metropolis Part 2 might be the best CD I own.
    Very nice, accurate lesson. Thank you for that. Nice PRS by the way. Is it a Dave Navarro signature model?
    Yeah its a PRS Dave Navarro Signature that he named Nancy. If you want to know what his other guitars are, he has a gear video.
    I also think Awake is a big improvement and is truly the first album with DT at their 100%, but I still enjoy I&W a lot and the debut is nice as well (but the production is a bit meh).