Tuesday Wisdom: In The Style Of Marty Friedman

A small write up looking at a couple techniques and licks that illustrate some of the quirks and intricacies of Marty Friedman's exotic playing style.

Tuesday Wisdom: In The Style Of Marty Friedman
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Marty Friedman has a very interesting note choice that sounds very exotic. He manipulates melodies quite often by his note choice, such as taking an arpeggio or sweep and mutating it as he repeats, as well as playing it in very interesting ways. Here's an example of what I mean from "Hangar 18". He starts with a descending 4 string Dm sweep, reascends, and repeats the pull off a total of three times instead of the typical one time. At the end of bar 1, he does a 2 string 'sweep' similar to classic rock of the 1970s and Kirk Hammett in the 1980s with Metallica, but not in a repetitious pattern. In bar 2, he revisits the 4 string sweep, but modifies it to meet the Bb chord of the rhythm for that bar. Notice the Bb in place of the A notes used previously. He also utilizes this to set up for the end of the phrase at the tail end of bar 2, with the finish in bar 3. Also, note how the 3rd bar has the arpeggio mutate back to the A note rather than the Bb skillfully utilizing the A and a G# to create interest as neither of the two relate to the B-D-F notes of the chord. To understand how and why they work, A is a 5th to D, and G# is a major 6th to the B note.
e|--17p13----------------13-17p13-17p13-17p13----13--|
B|--------15----------15----------------------15-----|
G|-----------14----14--------------------------------|
D|--------------15-----------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|

e|--18p13----------------13-18p13-15p12-13-12--------|
B|--------15----------15----------------------15-13--|
G|-----------15----15--------------------------------|
D|--------------15-----------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|

e|--17p13-16p13----16--16~------x--20b22-------------|
B|--------------15--------------x--------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|
This lick contains several Friedmanisms. The first pattern in the following lick starts with six note groups and the first group contains the notes G#, B, E and F. The second group contains the notes G#, A, D, and F, changing two of the notes. To facilitate the B to E and back in the first beat and A to D and back in the second beat requires a rolling technique with first the pinky [or ring finger, whichever is most comfortable] and then the middle finger. Beat 3 contains the notes E, F, G#, and A and requires another roll to transition from F at the end of beat 3 to A at the beginning of beat 4. The last beat contains the notes A, G#, F, E, C, and B descending in quick succession. Bars two and three are a bit less structured, but equally as intriguing. Pay close attention to the notes.
e|-----12----------10--------------------------------|
B|-9h12--12p9--9h10--10p9-------9-10p9--10-9---------|
G|-----------10----------10-9h10------10----10-9-----|
D|----------------------------------------------10-9-|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|
Btw, the last three notes are 8th notes, but the rest is sextuplets like in bar 1.
e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------|
G|--10-9---------------------------------------------|
D|-------10-9-----------------------------------6----|
A|------------12-11-8\7----8p7--------------5--------|
E|----------------------10-----10-8-7-5\4------------|

e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------|
G|----7\--------4/----10\----1~----------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|
This next lick is great for getting out of box patterns as well as working on your rolling technique. The first bar is quintuplets. The ending is pretty open-ended. You can end it here or add onto it if you'd like, such as with some bluesy double stops or major 6th intervals.
E|------------------------------------------------------|
B|------14p12--------12p10-------10p8------8p6-----6p4--|
G|-12h14-----14-10h12-----12-8h10----10-6h8---8-4h6---6-|
D|------------------------------------------------------|
A|------------------------------------------------------|
E|------------------------------------------------------|

e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------|
G|--4\2~---------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|
Here is another pick-hammer-roll type phrase, however, this one contains some differences. This one comes from "Five Magics".
e|--------13-----------------------------------------|
B|--10h13----13p10----13p10-----10-------------------|
G|-----------------12------12p10--12p10--12p10-------|
D|-------------------------------------12-----12p10--|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|

e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------|
G|--10-----------------------------------------------|
D|-----10h12p10---12p10-------10---------------------|
A|-------------12-------12p10----10h12p10-------x/---|
E|----------------------------------------13----x/---|

e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------|
A|--x/--------10---12---12b-14r-12---p10---12---10---|
E|--x/-----------------------------------------------|

e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------|
D|--12---b14---r12---b----------14---~---------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|
This next piece is from "Lucretia" and demonstrates Marty's odd sense of melody that sounds very exotic. It's quite a good use of the fretboard, as well. The rest of "Lucretia" is also worth looking at if this struck you as interesting.
e|----------------------4-5-9\8-5-4------------------|
B|--------------------7-------------7----------------|
G|--5/6-7-6~------5h6-----------------6-5------------|
D|----------------------------------------7-6-7/9-7--|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|

e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------|
D|--6~-----------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|
Here is a phrase from "Hangar 18", which further illustrates how Marty Friedman prefers to ascend and descend in very odd and interesting ways. Pay special attention to the hammer on and slides, and practice the portion of the 2nd bar in which it adds a tapped note at the 22nd fret on the G string. As for starting out the riff, I'd start off with my middle finger on the D note, and index-ring for the bulk of the rest, except where it seems necessary to use the middle finger, as well position shifting going from the 1st bar to the 2nd.
e|-----------------------------------------14-15p14--|
B|-----------10-13p10-13/15p13-15----13h15-----------|
G|-----11-12----------------------14-----------------|
D|--12-----------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|

e|--10-----------------------------------------------|
B|-----13p10-----------------------------------------|
G|-----------/t22p13p10-13p10\7-8-7h8p7\3b--4--r-----|
D|------------------------------------------------5--|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|
Here's an example of how a typical person would play a melody, and then how Marty Friedman would play it to give you an example of how you can take something mundane or typical and make it sound very new and interesting. If you focus on the notes, you'll see that they are the same, just phrased differently. I'm pretty sure you'll agree: Marty Friedman's version is a lot more intriguing. Btw, in case it seems confusing, the second bend in Marty's version is a full bend, half release, and then back up to where you were before the release. Joe Schmoe:
e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|--------12-13~-------------------------------------|
G|-----14--------------------------------------------|
D|--14-----------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|
Marty Friedman:
e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------|
G|--------13b14--16--15b----17r----16b----17~--------|
D|----14---------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|
This next piece we're going to look at is from "Take No Prisoners". It starts with classy sounding bends, moves up an octave, and then does some nice arpeggio/sweep stuff in bars 3 and 4.
e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|----8b-----10r-----8p5pX--8b-----10r-----8p5-------|
G|----------------------------------------------7----|
D|---------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|

e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------|
G|--5~--------------------------------0--------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|

e|--------------------14-20b21-------17-------21p17--|
B|-------------14-----------------------19-----------|
G|--16b18----------------------------------18--------|
D|---------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|

e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|--19-----------------------------------------------|
G|-----18~-------------------------18\---------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|
Last but not least, an exotic way to play a 12-tone row a la Marty Friedman. This is much more interesting than your typical chromatic scale, where you'd go through the notes consecutively.
e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------|
G|--------------5--------7/-8-----------6------------|
D|-----------8--------6--------7h-9------------------|
A|--------7--------9-----------------8-----10--------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|
If you find any of the licks hard to play, separate the part of the lick that is giving you difficulty and loop it. For instance, if the pick-hammer-rolls were giving you trouble earlier, just do something like this repeatedly until you're much more comfortable with it. And rather than doing it for an hour one day and giving up, try it for 5 minutes each day for a week or two. I've found this is a lot more helpful. Example:
e|------12------------12------------12------------12--------|
B|--9h12--12p9----9h12--12p9----9h12--12p9----9h12--12p9----|
G|-------------10------------10------------10------------10-|
D|----------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------|

e|------10------------10------------10------------10--------|
B|--9h10--10p9----9h10--10p9----9h10--10p9----9h10--10p9----|
G|-------------10------------10------------10------------10-|
D|----------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------|
You can go back and forth between the two rather than repeating four times and switching like so.
e|------12------------10------------12------------10--------|
B|--9h12--12p9----9h10--10p9----9h12--12p9----9h10--10p9----|
G|-------------10------------10------------10------------10-|
D|----------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------|
As well as alternating the notes on the high e like such, as well as any other variations you might think of. This will also help you work on your finger dexterity.
e|------9-------------12------------10------------12--------|
B|--9h12--12p9----9h12--12p9----9h10--10p9----9h10--10p9----|
G|-------------10------------10------------10------------10-|
D|----------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------|
According to Marty, these attention-getting licks are best suited for spicing up more typical licks. As for his stance on scales many say he relies quite a bit on Japanese Pentatonic scales, as well as other exotic scales like whole tone and Harmonic Minor, and even modes of the typical Major scale with extra notes to add spice. "A lot of musicians think that when you're playing in the context of a certain scale, you can't deviate from it," Marty says. "The way I see it, you have to deviate if you want to sound original." If you need more Friedmanisms, there are some instructional videos of his on YouTube. If you guys request other Friedman solos or techniques to look at or think this lesson is well done and rate this high, perhaps I'll do another similar lesson. Thanks for reading and hope the write-up is enjoyable and informative. By Thurisaz

32 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    flaphead325
    That's why I love Marty Friedman and Larry Lalonde, they have the guts to play out of scale on purpose.
    JFRules
    We need more stuff like this on Ultimate guitar and less Axl feel again! Even tho that is funny
    megaluisdeth
    Marty uses a scale call the Hirajoshi scale. Very exotic sounding scale. Just thought people might want to know.
    bustapr
    yes marty ocasionally uses the hijaroshi in some solos, but that is only occasionaly and on a few solos. 80% of the 99% of his solos revolve around exoticish sounding phrases on all notes of the diatonic scale, along with a few chromatics here and there. once again I recommend you all check out the tab for "99 secret lead guitar phrases". Its got most of the phrases that marty modifies around in his solos.Youll notice a shit ton of chromatic phrasing.
    RndyW0
    Woffelz wrote: Should be in the lessons section. Good article though!
    It's because Marty Friedman music can't be taught, it needs to be felt
    Whiteboy_az
    piszczel wrote: As someone pretty much obsessed with Friedman, I can sayt that this lesson is pretty crap. It just gives random licks from his solos in Megadeth; a very narrow selection and poor analysis of the playing. Absolutely no mention about following chords or why he uses certain notes in certain situations. I could write a much better lesson but in all honesty I can't be bothered.
    Then shut the hell up and enjoy it anyway, if you can't be bothered.
    bustapr
    very good article. dont know if it belongs in the news section though. maybe in the lessons section. I suggest people that found this interesting check out Marty's "99 secret lead guitar phrases" tab on this site. MARTY FRIEDMAN IS GOD!
    piszczel
    megaluisdeth wrote: Marty uses a scale call the Hirajoshi scale. Very exotic sounding scale. Just thought people might want to know.
    It's basically a minor scale without the 4th and the 7th.
    RndyW0
    Woffelz wrote: Should be in the lessons section. Good article though!
    It's because Marty Friedman music can't be taught, it needs to be felt
    )v(egaFan90
    So much of Friedman's power comes from in between the notes. The way he bends and uses vibrato allows him to access things other musicians only dream of.
    gynther flynt
    piszczel wrote: As someone pretty much obsessed with Friedman, I can sayt that this lesson is pretty crap. It just gives random licks from his solos in Megadeth; a very narrow selection and poor analysis of the playing. Absolutely no mention about following chords or why he uses certain notes in certain situations. I could write a much better lesson but in all honesty I can't be bothered.
    I'm actually with this guy. As much as you tried to make an article on Martys style, you just missed the point of his harmonical approach and note choice.
    jackson_kingv
    Awesome article marty is an amazing muscian and one of my personal favs good to see a lesson on him
    Miyagi84
    megaluisdeth wrote: Marty uses a scale call the Hirajoshi scale. Very exotic sounding scale. Just thought people might want to know.
    I have absolutely no idea what that scale is, as I'm just learning theory, but it sounds real enough since Marty loves everything Japanese. Interesting tidbit though I'll keep it in my memory bank. Marty Friedman is one of the greatest leads guitarists of all time... you really KNOW when he's playing.
    eatfresh1736
    "In the style of..." articles are usually inaccurate and make a big, complicated explanation over a "style" that's really the same as anything else. This, however, was an excellent article! It wasn't too complicated, and yet it was pretty technical. Marty Friedman definitely has a unique enough style that is just ripe for dissecting and analyzing. Great job!
    piszczel
    As someone pretty much obsessed with Friedman, I can sayt that this lesson is pretty crap. It just gives random licks from his solos in Megadeth; a very narrow selection and poor analysis of the playing. Absolutely no mention about following chords or why he uses certain notes in certain situations. I could write a much better lesson but in all honesty I can't be bothered.
    Thurisaz
    I'm gonna highlight Tornado of Souls as requested, something from CTE as well as something from Youthanasia [probably either The Killing Road or Blood of Heroes]. I'm probably a third of the way through Tornado of Souls and it's already almost as long as part 1, so those that said I didn't break it down enough and relate the notes to the rhythm guitar won't have that argument next time.
    Thurisaz
    Thanks for the criticism, requests, suggestions, etc. I'm gonna start working on a second part.
    metallimaiden90
    Guys, if you like Marty's solos with Megadeth , you simply must listen to Valley Of Eternity from his solo album 'Scenes'. It might just be the best thing you'll ever hear.
    shreddymcshred
    very interesting that he uses the 12 tone row. is this a one-off or is it recurring in his rep?