3.2 Solo Example
Keeping to the Key of D we first encountered in Module 2, let’s examine rhythmic displacement in an ‘off the cuff’ improvisation that Andy shredded out:
Bars 1 and 2 open proceedings with some long sustained notes: notice how Andy bends up from the b7th to the root in classic rock fashion, but then lets it down temporarily a semi tone/half step to the major 7th : before taking it back up again to the root and then applying masses of wide vibrato.
This let down move (b7-root-may7-root) is a great device used by many players (Becker, Friedman and Vinnie Moore are all partial to this – and check out Malmsteen’s Overture 1383 at 2.08 for a particularly dramatic example) as it adds tension and intensity to an otherwise commonplace bending lick.
Our first study piece, designated Lick 1, commences in Bar 3 and is a text book example of rhythmic displacement – utilising the exact same pattern as Andy demonstrated in Example 1’s first two bars – only transposed here to D minor.
As with that sequence in 3.2, Andy plays a 4 5 5 5 5 sequence, before starting Lick 2 on beat three of the second bar. This ascending lick takes its cue from Drill 3, being a D Dorian Blues (D E F G Ab A B C) pattern based upon the shape shown previously in Diagram 3.
The next three bars are essentially melodic lines based around D minor pentatonic and are straightforward enough – work with the video footage and audio to nail the timing.
Lick 3 in Bar 9 sees Andy again applying a rhythmic displacement 4 5 5 5 this time in Position 2, before concluding this Bar and continuing into Bar 10 with a flowing descending, ascending, descending and ascending again pattern that introduces the b5 on the 1st string.
Bar 11 utilises a Petrucci style Dm7 – Dm7b5 2 string arpeggio lick, then proceeds with minor blues phrases into Bar 12 that highlight the b5, before a monster 3 fret 5th – root 1st string bend sustains us into Bar 13.
Melody based pentatonic lines, with a couple of double-stops to add some grit in Bar 15, then take us to the concluding Lick 4 - a suitably Gilbert-esque Position 1 pentatonic descending figure that kicks off with 5 4 4 grouping before ending with a conventional 4th – 5th – 4th ending.
Reviewing this solo notice how Andy intersperses several scalar sequences utilising rhythmic displacement that he’s honed over the years, with more improvised lick type phrases: it’s this juxtaposition of the structured and the ‘off the cuff’ approach that can provide light and shade to your playing.
It’s always good to have a load of pre-arranged set pieces ready to roll (and let’s face it that’s what much of this book provides), but also know when to cut loose and let rip without a plan.
As long as you are using suitable scales or arpeggios to provide the basic framework you can’t really go wrong. Experiment and go for it – for sure much of it won’t be great, but occasionally you’ll hit the jackpot – and it’s those moments that will keep you going for years to come…