CARL VERHEYEN part 5

In an­other ex­clu­sive les­sion for GT, ses­sion ace Carl Verheyen shares more of his su­perb solo­ing se­crets with us. Mil­ton Mer­mikides is your fret­board guide.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Carl de­liv­ers yet an­other jaw-drop­ping first-take solo over a track he’s never be­fore heard!

WE WERE LUCkY to catch Carl dur­ing his Euro­pean tour and have him come down to the GT stu­dios to film and record his fan­tas­tic play­ing. We gave him a se­ries of back­ing tracks to im­pro­vise over and a cou­ple of hours later we had enough ma­te­rial for sev­eral ex­cel­lent tu­to­ri­als. Carl’s ses­sion skills, mu­si­cal­ity, stylis­tic di­ver­sity, tech­nique and tone are leg­endary, and dur­ing his 40-year play­ing ca­reer has gar­nered a huge CV of band as­so­ci­a­tions (from Su­per­tramp to Al­lan Holdsworth), count­less al­bum, film and TV cred­its, as well as ac­co­lades from gui­tar greats such as Robben Ford, Joe Bona­massa, Steve Lukather, Robben Ford, Brad Pais­ley, Jen­nifer Bat­ten, Steve Morse, Scott Hen­der­son and Al­bert Lee.

In this ar­ti­cle, I’ve tran­scribed Carl’s im­pro­vi­sa­tion over Ja­son Sid­well’s funky fu­sion track in D. It’s a 64-bar form with re­peats, with the fol­low­ing struc­ture: D7 (16x), Bb7-Ab/Bb (7x), Bb7-A7#9. Es­sen­tially what we have (if we see Ab/Bb as Bb­sus9) is a back­ing track made up en­tirely of Dom­i­nant chords (D7-Bb7-A7) (the first two chords last for 16 bars each) so this is a great mas­ter­class on how to cre­ate in­ter­est­ing so­los over a static Dom­i­nant 7th chord - a tricky thing in it­self.

Carl had one lis­ten through (and a sim­ple chart like the one above) be­fore un­leash­ing this won­der­ful solo. So it’s clear that he has at his dis­posal a deeply ab­sorbed – and flex­i­ble – set of de­vices for han­dling such de­vices. Here’s a run­down of the main tech­niques he em­ploys: Use of mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic and mi­nor Blues scales (bars 13 and 47 but also ref­er­enced through­out the solo); use of ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic and ma­jor Blues scales (bars 14 and 21, but again is hinted at of­ten); Mixoly­dian mode (with bluesy in­flec­tions of the mi­nor 3rd and pass­ing tones be­tween the root and b7) is the pri­mary choice in this solo and can be heard in coun­try-like long semi­qua­ver lines with oc­ca­sional bends (bars 11-14); Ly­dian Dom­i­nant (bar 61); Dom­i­nant 7 arpeg­gio

pat­terns (bars 26 and 58) and intervallic pat­terns from the Mixoly­dian mode (bars 28-30); and su­per­im­po­si­tion of ex­tended chords in par­al­lel mo­tion (bars 59-61).

Carl knows this ma­te­rial all over the fret­board (and in ev­ery key) so has ac­cess to any of th­ese ap­proaches when­ever he chooses al­low­ing for long flow­ing lines. This ex­cel­lent the­o­ret­i­cal and fret­board knowl­edge is aug­mented by a fan­tas­tic touch on the gui­tar, and you’ll hear a range of sounds ex­plored through sub­tle bends, vi­brato bar ef­fects, pickup switch­ing, string-skip­ping, slides, slurs and an ex­cel­lent pick­ing tech­nique.

You’ll get the most out of this tu­to­rial by dig­ging deep. Even tak­ing one bar, or phrase, mas­ter­ing its tech­nique and (most im­por­tantly) how it func­tions over the un­der­ly­ing chord, can in­form your play­ing for years to come. Be­ing able to repli­cate this solo would be ex­cel­lent; how­ever be­ing able to read­ily adopt th­ese ideas in your own solo­ing and style is the ul­ti­mate goal.

Mas­ter one phrase and its tech­nique, and how it func­tions over un­der­ly­ing chords; this it will in­form your play­ing for years.

Carl Verheyen: his fret­board flu­ency is the stuff of dreams!

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