HARD ROck

Char­lie Grif­fiths takes the Nigh­train down to Par­adise City to ex­plore the tech­niques be­hind the ‘most dan­ger­ous band in the world’.

Guitar Techniques - - NEWS - NeXT MoNTH: Char­lie checks out the fab­u­lous play­ing of Ed­die Van Halen

Char­lie Grif­fiths con­tin­ues his new se­ries with a look at those bad boys of 80s US rock – the bril­liant Guns N’ Roses and gui­tarist, Slash.

Gilby Clarke, Paul To­bias and Robin Finck. Although all of those gui­tarists have un­doubt­edly made valu­able con­tri­bu­tions to Gn’R, it has to be said that the pair­ing of Izzy stradlin and slash was a match made in guitar heaven. Be­tween Izzy’s rhythm and song­writ­ing prow­ess and slash’s lead guitar chops and time­less guitar hooks, the Ap­petite For De­struc­tion and use Your Il­lu­sion al­bums re­main all-time clas­sics.

The Gn’R style could be de­scribed as Rolling stones meets Led Zep­pelin with Izzy stradlin chan­nelling Keith Richards’ rock’n’roll style based around strummed chords and a fo­cus on song­writ­ing. slash’s style is easily traced back to Jimmy Page with his chunky riffs and Pen­ta­tonic-based lead hooks and melodic so­los.

With the fol­low­ing ex­am­ples we look at these dif­fer­ent as­pects of the clas­sic Gn’R sound start­ing with a driv­ing riff in the style of Welcome To The Jun­gle, which uses some chro­matic pass­ing notes to sex up the A mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic notes a lit­tle. next, we have an open fifth string riff with Pen­ta­tonic triad frag­ments played on the sec­ond, third and fourth strings. Again at the core of the sound is the mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic scale, but the ad­di­tion of the 2nd and 6th puts it in Do­rian ter­ri­tory. Although guitar shop em­ploy­ees across the globe may have a slightly jaded view, one of Slash’s finest mo­ments must surely be the in­tro melody to sweet Child o’ Mine. ex 3 is our trib­ute to that gem, which although sounds im­pres­sive, is sim­ply a case of play­ing the chord pro­gres­sion as arpeg­gios; which means play­ing the chord-tones sep­a­rately and cleanly to cre­ate a melody.

The term ‘ar­peg­gio’ can also re­late to the ap­proach taken in ex4, which is rem­i­nis­cent of the Par­adise City in­tro. In this case, full chord shapes are held and the pick is used to ar­tic­u­late the notes, while al­low­ing all the notes to ring to­gether. The fi­nal riff is at the heav­ier end of the spec­trum, in the style of It’s so easy or Mr Brown­stone. other than the open string keys of e and A, F# is a very guitar friendly key as it pro­vides ac­cess to the b7 be­low the 2nd fret root note. This riff high­lights the main scales that com­prise slash’s style, which for the most part is mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic and blues scale – 1-b3-4-b5-5-b7 – and Har­monic mi­nor – 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-7 – which he uses oc­ca­sion­ally to add some spice to the pre­dom­i­nantly blues-rock sound.

our solo ex­am­ple fo­cuses on slash’s melodic and lyri­cal side heard on novem­ber Rain, sweet Child o’ Mine and the Gn’R cover of Knock­ing on Heaven’s Door. It uses a lot of bending, Pen­ta­tonic scale runs and re­peat­ing licks to tell the story. The solo is over a re­peat­ing chord pro­gres­sion in the key of F ma­jor. As most rock play­ers tend to know their mi­nor scales bet­ter than their ma­jor scale, it is pos­si­ble to play from the rel­a­tive mi­nor key, which can be found three frets lower on the guitar; for this rea­son our solo has a dis­tinctly D mi­nor flavour, although it is the­o­ret­i­cally in F ma­jor.

Slash’s style is easily traced back to Jimmy Page with his chunky riffs and Pen­ta­tonic-based lead hooks and melodic so­los.

Slash in clas­sic pose with one of his many Les Paul gui­tars

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