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Shred Academy - Free Guitar Lesson by Sven Stichter



Symmetrical Senselessness Hysterically Harmonized

By Sven Stichter


Here you got it all: Alternate picking, Economy picking, Legato, String skipping, A symmetrical pattern, With a harmony from hell!

Now let’s have a look at it in detail but first of all I should mention that it is important to warm up properly before going for this lick especially at higher speeds with a few repetitions since that stretch could be a bit big for some people – it could be worse though.

The Theory:
Basically it is a lick in E min...duh. And to be even more precise, additionally to the basic 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7, you get the b5th, 6th (13th), the 7th and the fabulous b 9th (which is one of my favourite intervals for a few reasons). You see all intervals of the chromatic scale are there except for the major 3rd – so you get E min with a whole lot of chromatics. Normally symmetrical you would call something with even intervals.. for instance all minor 3rd or all major 3rd intervalls or all whole steps or whole/half or half/whole step scales, but in our case here it is a kind of diminished lick symmetrical to the fretboard wich offers some nice possibilities! Not just that you get all the extra notes mentioned above, but it is "easy" to play as it stays in one position.

You are starting a minor 3rd intervall pattern with the index finger on the 12th fret of every string - so on the high e string you get: the root, b3rd and the b5th . Then you skip one string and have the same pattern on the g string with following intervals to the underlying E minor riff: b3rd, b5th , 6th. Then one string up to the b-string with the same pattern and you get: 5th , b7th and b9th. From there the pattern works it way down the strings - figure out what kind of intervals you have on each string! The last part of that lick is a constant repetition of the 1-2-b3-#4-5-b6 of the Eminor scale featuring the #11 or better yet seen as the b5 of the blues scale. Could be analysed as the hungarian minor scale without the 7th scale degree as well.

The Harmony:
As the biggest part of the lick is symmetrical as described I just chose a harmony that would fit the situation and stays non-diatonical but symmetrical to the notes. Since I like the b2nd (b9th) interval anyway and it produces an exciting, unresolved sound I chose that one. More things possible with that b9th may follow in my next article soon. So this time it may just stay in your minds as an evil, yet unmelodic interval, but wait till my next article ;-). In the Tab I just notated one line, the harmony part is the whole thing just shifted up a half step.

The Technique:
As you see in the tab you'll have quintuplets in the first part of that lick. That might seem unusual to your fingers at first maybe but shouldn't be too complicated. 16th notes are probably more common note values (at least in shred and these days), but make sure to have triplets, quintuplets, sixtuplets and septuplets as well in your practice-schedule to be prepared for whatever you might want to be able to play!

The picking pattern is a mixture between legato and picking. Starting out you have a downstroke, then 2 pull offs then 3 down - up - down alternate picks
then 2 hammer ons, 3 alternates,
2 pull offs, 3 alternates,
2 hammer ons and so on.
That kind of picking I like to apply to a lot of stuff to beef up legato but to be more fluid as with strict alternating - and because it enables to be faster since that down/up/down picking movement is not more than a quick shaking of the right wrist. Then a little left hand legato then a little shaking with the right hand and so on. You could say both hands share the workload. If you get this motion, the mix between legato and alternating fluidly you'll be able to divide fast and complicated stuff into easier to play but well sounding bits! BUT – always go for the picking sound you like, not for “how can I play something easier”!

The last 2 bars of that lick are played in a rather unusual way, but that is how my logic goes with it: down up down - down up down then quickly go back to the low e-string and follow that pattern again. The only strange point in that lick is those double downs when you go back to the low E, but if you have that part down nothing will stop you since the rest is a fluent economy motion! If you are highly motivated and your hands still don’t hurt yet then try out the same lick but with major 3rd intervals to get an more augmented sound out of it! Good luck.

Hope you enjoy it!
Catch you next time.




Sven Stichter


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