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Michael Johnson >> Grunge-Alternative >>

This interactive lesson covers more techniques from this week's  "Lick of the Day." Here's our jam track:

Michael: load that file and we'll play the scale, licks and exercises over it, our scale will be in the B Minor on the 2nd string

Michael: here's the same scale but you play it with the 1st string as the drone, we'll use this pattern, here's our first lick:

Michael: notice how this lick travels up the scale, try learning the lick and playing over the jam track, you add chromatic notes to this pattern

Michael: the chromatic notes give the lick a "spy" type sound

George: yea why is there a Bb in there

Michael: you can use chromatic notes whenever you have an ascending and descending line

George: even if they are not in the scale

Michael: yes, you can make chromatic lines in most music, the scale is the main notes you resolve on, A chromatic scale is all the notes. example: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A

Ed: what does 'chromatic' mean?

Lyle: 12 notes. the whole ladder

Michael: this lick is an exercise in climbing the scale you've learned

George: no Bb this time huh

Michael: I stay within the scale this time

Lyle: Ed Chromatic is Greek for color

Ed: 'color' in this case meaning all of the possible colors or 'notes'?

Michael: or sounds produce visual images, Jimi Hendrix related to songs and moods in colors

caeryl: purple haze

Michael: yes, he also related to the color red and fire and anger

AScriabin: Synesthesia: experiencing colors when hearing music. Recent composers with the condition: Scriabin, Messiaen.

Michael: notice how this exercise climbs up the pattern, but you add open notes to the run.

Michael: playing runs and licks using the B minor scale, with a drone string

Michael: notice on this exercise how the pattern is reversed, it sounds cool when played over the jam track

George: If were in B minor how come it sounds final when we end on E

Michael: it's relative to the E Dorian, which has ....

E , F#, G, A, B, C#, D

chrisepic: briefly what is Dorian

Michael: it's the third Greek mode of a key

Lyle: Isn't B minor relative to E major ( Ionian Not E Dorian Teacher

Michael: no it is relative to D major

George: B minor is relative to D major

Michael: D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#,  
B Minor: B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A 
E Dorian: E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D#

Michael: this pattern descends down the scale in sets of 3 notes at a time

Michael: it's a run descending in the scale pattern

Ed: you only use the 1st and 3rd fingers?

Michael: yes

Michael: I start with 3 then 1, then slide down the 1st finger

Ed: it looks like you are using the 2nd finger in the video

Michael: I did on the notes that are next to each other 7 and 8th frets

Jeff: Sound like something AC/DC did in songs like Who made who and Hard as Rock

Michael: yes it does, ok let's try a lick using the pattern using bends

AScriabin: I think Chrisepic had a good question: what typifies 'grunge'? dropped D tuning? open strings?

Michael: it's a style of guitar influenced by rock and punk, you can't always apply theory to it, most grunge players never studied music and played by feel, so sometimes when you have a major rhythm track the guitarist would play a minor scale over it

chrisepic: do they use a lot of 2 string leads, thats what i'm gathering

Michael: yes you do chris,  it fills up the sound, it's a great technique for three piece bands

rustyaxe: so you are saying this is sort of an instinctive method of playing?

Michael: yes rusty

chrisepic: gives the band a fuller sound?

Lyle: I still think theory can be applied

Ed: especially 3 piece bands, like Nirvana

Michael: like Hendrix would play lots of open strings to increase the sound

rustyaxe: i don't know much about the theory with all this, but are we gonna go into any solos?

Michael: rusty these are pieces and phrases of a solo

rustyaxe: so just put them all together then?

Michael: you put all these licks together and you have the basis of a good solo, use your creativity, try this run

Michael: I'll send the next lick, but this time you use the E minor pentatonic scale pattern

Michael: it's a slide from 2 to 3 with the open e

Michael: notice how the lick uses the minor pen pattern, any questions before I go?

Jeff: yes

mike: how do you do this: 4b6

Michael: 4b6?

Michael: you mean flat 6?

mike: meaning 4bend6

mike: i see it in a lot of tabs

AScriabin: use light strings !

Michael: you can bend the 4th fret up one whole step

mike: i think thats hard

Michael: that would make it sound like the 6th note

AScriabin: it's easier the lighter the strings you're using.

Michael: it is hard on heavy strings do you have an acoustic?

mike: yes

Michael: oh ok, that makes sense, that is a tough one

chrisepic: teacher would you say the music today (mainstream) ; a lot is acoustic

Michael: the acoustic is used more

Toby: i'm still trying to decide if i like acoustic or electric better

Michael: if you can, have both the acoustic build up your finger strength

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