Alice in Chains Lesson Sample
Teacher: Welcom to the lesson series on
90s Seattle Scene. This movement featured bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl
Jam, Candlebox and tonights group Alice in Chains
Teacher: Alice in Chains featured Jerry Cantrell
on guitars and Layne Staley on vocals. Jerry's guitar, songwriting and
vocals were the driving force of Alice in Chains
is our first riff for tonight. In the mind bending time signature of 6/4 no
Riff A Jam Track
Teacher: The riff uses straight forward open and
barred power chords rooted on the 6th strings. They are all the same power chord
form except the open E5 chord. All chords are
Teacher: The riff is in an
unusual 6/4 time signature, however. Alice in Chains used odd time signatures.
This is 6/4. The song 'Them Bones' features a 7/8 time. Alice in Chains and
Soundgarden both feature some 'progressive' time
This riff uses power chord rooted of notes of the E blues scale.
E Blues Scale - Extended
E Minor Pentatonic
- Extended Pattern
Most of the soloing will come out of the Minor Pentatonic scale. Here is a
useful pattern that covers the first 12 frets in the key of
Teacher: Notice the use of the repeating motif on
the fourth string. Very vocal like in Cantrell's soloing. The use of the wah
helps to shape the vocal effect
Teacher: The next
lick uses a trill along the 3rd string. Followed with a big 1 1/2 step
pj: do you
just open the wah on the 4th string?
Teacher: Pressing the wah slowly down as the
trill continues and opening the wah on the next note change. The continious
staccato picking while releasing the bend is a timeless Seattle style
Teacher: To get the pinch harmonics, the
'squel' sound - catch the string with the edge of the thumb on the
Teacher: The second riff uses some 'stacked'
power 5th chords. Alice in chains often features multiple overdubs of guitars.
Altered and dropped tunings as well.
Teacher: These stacked voices can contribute to a
big guitar sound when played alone.. Most guitars are doubled in the lesson
Minor Pentatonic - 6th added
The last scale is basically a Dorian mode with the 2nd left out right. That
major 6th adds interest and is especially nice for double-stop bends on the 2nd
and 3rd strings.
Teacher: The last section of the lesson features
Alice in Chains, acoustic style.
Riff C Jam Track
chords move from F# - G - A - B. Notice this is the standard 6th string major
bar chord. First fretted then lifting the first finger off of strings 1
& 2 for added color notes.
Video Clip 1
Teacher: This riff is a mix of B Major
and B Minor key centers. The first and last chords are from B Major, the G and A
chords are from the B Minor scale. To solo over this requires mixing the
two scales. Here is a sample lick.
Teacher: The run over starts in B major, then
modulates to Minor for a run over the G and A chords.
This lick could be played by one guitarist but is actually played by two guitars
in harmony. Jerry Cantrell often would record 6-8 tracks of guitars and then mix
them up or down in the song for this orchestral effect
This last lick uses octaves for a full sound with just one
There are the chords for the last section. They repeat the first two, C and D
shapes, but end on a standard E major chord. Then
Suggested listening would be Alice in Chains groundbreaking album 'Dirt'. For a
great showing of their acoustic flavors check out their "Jar of Flies" EP or
their MTV "Unplugged" concert album and video.
Teacher: And if you want to go more into Alice in
Chains songs I would be happy to show them in private lessons. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org