Hail Shredders! Welcome to the 3rd instalment of Shred Dead Redemption.
Whenever someone is being critical of fast Heavy Metal lead guitar you’ll often hear the criticism “He’s just playing up and down scales really fast”. More often than not it’s from a person who doesn’t have the chops to do so themselves (you jelly bro?) but rather than just dismiss their point, why not learn how to shred lightning fast and make it melodic and musical at the same time?
In the first article I introduced you to the Modal Fragment shapes. In the second article I showed you some sequences to make them melodic. In this article I’m going to show you how to tie it all together and match them with chords so you can really sound musical when you use them and even start writing your own licks and solos.
In Ex 1. I’ve provided you a commonly used metal progression in the key of E Minor featuring the E5, C5 & D5 Powerchords. You can play this as written or add embellishments to make it sound interesting. As we’re playing in the Key of E Minor that means our Aeolian Fragment needs to be played starting on any E note. All the other fragments will line up with the other scale notes as long as you begin your Aeolian fragment in the right place. In Ex 2. below I’ve given you the Aeolian
fragment starting on E, The Lydian Fragment starting on C and the Mixolydian fragment starting on D.
First play the E5 power chord then the notes that fall under the E Aeolian Fragment, you will notice that they sound very good because you are matching the notes to the chord being played and hearing consonant pitches. The same will be true for the Lydian Fragment over C5 and the Mixolydian Fragment over D5. If you play the fragments on their own with a consistent rhythm you will begin to hear the chord changes even without the chords. You can use this to highlight progressions and when you do have two guitars, create cohesive lead and rhythm parts.
If you just play the fragments in the same order every time they will sound good but not necessarily interesting. Try applying sequences to the modal fragments as you change from chord to chord and fragment to fragment. This will sound very interesting and make your ideas very cohesive. In Ex 3. I’ve given you a triplet sequence idea while in Ex 4. I’ve given you a 16th note idea. Try both and even come up with your own.
Lastly don’t forget that modal fragments can be played anywhere on the neck provided you start on the correct note. Ex 5. Is the same 16th note idea played an octave higher.
The most important thing you can do is to take this concept and apply it to your own progressions. Each of the 7 model fragments lines up with one of the 7 chords in the same key so write out a chord progression and start soloing over the top with your fragments and sequences. Obviously this is a much broader topic than I have the power to cover in the space of this article and there is a lot more we haven’t covered. If you’re stuck on this topic and need some additional help I offer the best heavy metal guitar lessons in Melbourne and would be glad to expand further. Get in touch to book your free lesson.