Here’s a fun and challenging lick for all you string skippers out there. This lick uses all 4 fingers on the fretboard hand and skips in the same position before shifting position on the descend. Whole tone is a great way to add a sense of mystery to a solo or to make your listener feel uneasy.
When you mix whole tone and chromatics you can achieve a really unique dissonant or outside sound. Make sure you use it sparingly though!
Using Whole Tone:
Joe and I used this lick in our song ‘The Untold Retribution’ over a heavy harmonic minor rhythm track. Check out the audio example below to hear how we used it. Whole tone is great for a dissonant / outside sound. (think Jeff Loomis / Rings of Saturn / Tosin Abasi).
You don’t have to play strictly whole tone either, by moving or skipping chromatically you’re only adding to that dissonant sound. The other great thing about the whole tone scale is that unless you’re playing it over an augmented chord, it will never truly be in key.
Throw a whole tone lick into a solo and it will definitely turn some heads.
If you’re searching for a creative way to spice up an otherwise average solo, try utlising this scale. Okay, onto the lick!
W-holey Big Stretches!
Unless you’ve got massive hands, you’ll quickly notice that 4nps whole tone is quite a stretch if you start any lower than fret 10! However whole tone is really easy to use because you don’t need to remember multiple finger shapes. The only thing you need to remember is the string skips and position shifts.
String Skipping & Legato Combo:
This lick will be using string skipping and legato. We’ll start this lick from fret 15 on the low E string, thats the note G.
Ascend 4 notes and immediately skip to the D string in the same position. From here you ascend and descend these 4 notes.
Now for the turnaround; shift down to fret 20 on the A string with your pinky and descend 4 notes. We can consider this one ‘pass’ because the mechnics of this lick means that it works in this sequence.
We can now start over with our index finger on fret 14 and play through the same sequence again. Ascend 4 notes and skip in the same position to the G string where you’ll ascend and decend the next 4 notes.
Then to continue staying in whole tone, skip back to fret 21 on the D string with your pinky and descend 4 notes. Now you know the sequence we can continue. It gets a little strange here because of the G and B strings but i’ll show you where the skips are.
Now start the sequence over again from your index finger on fret 15 of the D string. Ascend 4 notes and skip to the B string. The only difference this time is that instead of skipping in the same position you now need to skip to fret 14. Ascend and descend these 4 notes.
Skip back to the G string in the same position and descend 4 notes from fret 20 with your pinky.
Now for one more skip, ascend the 4 notes on the G string from fret 14 and immediately skip over to the high E on fret 15. Ascend and descend these 4 notes. Just like our song, end the lick with a massive minor third bend on fret 19.
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