Welcome to the second installment of ‘Shred Dead Redemption’. In the last article I introduced you to the idea of using modal fragments to break down larger licks in more manageable chunks so that you could learn long passages quickly and easily. In today’s column I’m going to show you how to apply some simple sequences to the modal fragments that will create some really cool sounding (and really easy to play) speed runs. If you haven’t read the first article I suggest you revisit it by clicking here and spending some time learning the concepts introduced there.
Below I’m going to present to you three different speed runs. All of these runs are created by applying really simple sequences to each individual modal fragment which are then connected one by one. It is critical that you break the run down into the modal fragments and see how each pattern is applied. This will not only make memorisation a hundred times easier but will also allow you to break the speed run down into individual licks which you can use as a foundation for other soloing ideas.
Example 1 – Ascend One, Descend One
For this sequence you simply play up one modal fragment of 6 notes, slide across to the next modal fragment and then descend down 6 notes and repeat this until you run out of frets or reach your target note. The example given below begins with you ascending through the Aeolian fragment before sliding across to the Locrian fragment, which you will descend through by playing the highest note first and coming back down. You will continue this sequence by pairing the Ionian/Dorian, Phrygian/Lydian & Mixolydian/Aeolian fragments.
Example 2 – Four Up, Two Down, Six Up
This sequence sounds complicated if you go by the name but it’s actually one of the easiest sequences you’ll ever play. Start with the Aeolian fragment and play the first four notes (E F# G A) before coming back down 2 notes ( G F#) and then playing all 6 notes of the fragment (E F# G A B C) Practice this until you can hit it 20 times in a row without looking and don’t have to rely on the tab below. If you can see how the pattern works then you simply move to the next fragment, play the first four notes, come back two notes, then play all 6 notes to complete the fragment. The big long scary speed run is actually really easy to play once you can visualise the fragments and apply the sequence, give it a go.
Example 3 – Descending Double Up
You don’t always have to arrange the fragments from lowest to highest, our next example will show you how to start higher up on the neck and work your way down to the lower frets. We’ll be using a 9 note sequence and play backwards through each modal fragment. Once again the lick might look scary on paper but by memorising the sequence and changing it to suit the fragment you will have a much easier time of learning it. Start with the Aeolian fragment at the 17th fret. Instead of frets I want you to imagine that each note is given a number from 1 to 6 corresponding to which number you start on.
When visualised this way the sequence would be 6 5 4 – 6 5 4 – 3 2 1 with you playing the corresponding frets for each fragment. When you go to the new fragment the fret numbers will change but you will still be playing 6 5 4 – 6 5 4 – 3 2 1 and matching the notes you play to the shape. Continue to learn the lick with this in mind.
These three speed runs should get you going but between now and the next installment I want to challenge you to come up with some of your own ideas. Take the modal fragments and experiment with applying different sequences both ascending and descending and you’ll have some awesome sounding speed runs and shred licks in no time at all. If you’ve always wanted to play awesome guitar solos and found this article really helpful hit me up for heavy metal guitar lessons in Melbourne and I’ll turn you into a shredder in no time at all.