I was always pretty into rock and heavy metal as a whippersnapper. As I grew older though I found myself getting very used to the sound of pentatonics, diatonics and arpeggios working "in key." It wasn't till my mid-20s that I got infatuated with jazz and "outside notes" and of course "grace notes."
I once heard the outside note/grace note concept explained particular well by another amazing YouTube teacher Ben Eller. In one of his lessons he was playing a basic major arpeggio that had 4 chromatic notes in it. He said (and I'm paraphrasing whilst keeping the spirit and theme accurate) "As long as you start on a good note and end on a good note, you can just put a bunch of sh-t in between." God bless that man (Check him out, he's gold).
The lick I use in today's lesson is based around a simple G Ionian 3 note per string scale across all 6 strings. On every string I've including a cheeky slide to provide an outside note or grace note which can give the phrase a moment of chromaticism, and also an interesting entry. Let's get acquainted with the G Ionian scale shape as a 3 note per string descending pattern across all 6 strings. (See diagram below)
Okay so nothing fancy there... It's actually quite boring on the ear. Like vanilla ice cream or an undressed garden salad... Anyway let's zazz this up a bit and use some sexy grace notes and make this otherwise bland sounding scale more listenable! (See diagram below)
As you can see I'm not very subtle with this idea in that I do it on every string with every available opportunity. With this thought process I've been able to add a lot more flavour to my solo and lead phrasing in metal, rock jazz and proggy djent contexts.
I hope this little lick opens your minds and inspires some win. Happy shredding!
By Chris Zoupa
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