Shredding with a thumb pick and a bunch of fingerpicks? Well, if you don’t expect me to play the exact kind of lines and phrases a flatpick player would, it’s possible. So here we are with what you could call an 80s style guitar tune. If you also want to be a lead guitar hero with cranked distortion, fancy headband and all that stuff I didn’t wear in the above video, make sure that you download the premium quality tablature and the corresponding backing track at the end of this article. That way you can learn this song, steal all my non-existent licks & tricks and pretend to be someone you wouldn’t want to be anyway. That’s the sum of rock & roll, and that’s why we love the eighties. Anyway. -.- The song is in F major, and the chords form the following progression: vi, V, V, vi; ii, V, ii, V, ii, V, vi, IV, vi.
Careful With The Open Strings
The starting riff is made entirely of 16th notes, and it involves the open G string. You know what that means, when you play with a distorted tone, right? Yep. The muting or blocking has to be well thought out, to avoid the cacophony of notes beating against each other. The more you attempt to play stuff like this, the more your brain will try to figure out a way to get it clean and smooth. Hopefully. I had quite some fight playing with the fingerpicks + thumb pick until I’ve found a happy balance between fluidity and relative cleanliness of technique. If it comes out noisy at first, don’t sweat it. Just focus on getting only the notes you want to play, and it’ll fix itself slowly but surely. In this part of the tune, there are hammer-ons and pull-offs embellishing that particular phrase. If you have noticed, my style & equipment is not about wide vibratos or heavy string bending, but I play these little hammered on & pulled off ornaments quite often. That, and the slides up and down on the strings. With some distortion, these elements hopefully create the over the top shred feel. Anyway, that’s what happens here too, in measure 3 first. This slide is quite characteristic in this particular song, and is kind of a poor man’s whammy dive. Well, let’s pretend, okay? 😐
Big Jumps & Power Chords
The 2nd theme of the tune starts out with the kind of hammer-on I mentioned above, this time it’s a very short ornament with a grace note. A mathematical sounding (no) pentatonic riff follows it, and right after it, there’s a big jump from the 5th to the 15th fret. Try to land on that exact note and not the surrounding ones, for fuck’s sake. It sometimes happens even to me. About 3 out of 20 times. 😐 Once you are on that particular note, you can do sort of a classical style vibrato, moving your fingertip horizontally; basically, shake the hell out of it. But gently! There’s that interesting (hopefully) riff with the motif played on the low E & the A string and then getting repeated an octave higher starting on the D string and ending on the G. Before the end of this astronaut taunting phrase played up high on the neck, there’s a power chord you need to jump a couple frets lower to grab. Power chords just scream ’80s (among other decades). The song’s theme ends on a D power chord.