mon­key swag­ger

In part two of his se­ries Allen Hinds demon­strates some smooth lead work over our slick-sound­ing back­ing track, Jon Bishop is your guide.

Guitar Techniques - - LESSON|LEARNING ZONE -

Last month, we started with the first in a se­ries of six video mas­ter­classes with LA guitarist Allen Hinds. In each is­sue one of the six per­for­mances will be tran­scribed and then an­a­lysed from a tech­nique and mu­sic the­ory point view. You can learn the tech­niques and con­cepts with a view to broad­en­ing your vo­cab­u­lary. The back­ing track by Ja­son Sid­well is in­cluded to prac­tise over as an MP3 file on the CD.

In this in­stal­ment, we are go­ing to look at the sec­ond track en­ti­tled Mon­key Swag­ger. As Allen ex­plains, his main fo­cus at the be­gin­ning is on cre­at­ing sim­ple, mem­o­rable mo­tifs and phrases that peo­ple could sing along with. As the tonal­ity is D mi­nor, the main scale of choice is D mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic (D-F-G-A-C) and it is pos­si­ble to make a lot hap­pen with just th­ese five notes. If a seven-note scale were to be used, D Do­rian mode (D-E-F-G-A-B-C) would be per­fect as it con­tains no ‘avoid’ notes (tones that are dis­so­nant against the chord).

(Bb When the chords change ma­jor 7, A mi­nor 7, G mi­nor 7) Allen skil­fully changes to

(D-E-F-G-A-Bb-C), D Nat­u­ral mi­nor which con­tains the same notes as the F Ma­jor scale from which all three chords are de­rived.

Allen ham­mers home the con­cept of play­ing chord tones (arpeg­gio notes) on the first down­beat of the bar as the chords change. This helps the melodies to fit in with the chords and sounds very in­formed. Many play­ers do this by ear, but it’s also worth es­tab­lish­ing a path­way or fret­board roadmap to nav­i­gate th­ese tar­get tones.

Allen also re­minds us of the handy con­cept of us­ing the Ly­dian mode over non-di­a­tonic ma­jor 7 chords. In the case of this

Eb track, it’s the ma­jor 7 chord

Eb (Eb-F-G-ABb-C-D) for which the Ly­dian mode is his scale of choice. Allen fin­ishes up with a couple of nuggets of wis­dom: the first is to play a solo with­out the back­ing to make sure you can hear the chords be­ing

im­plied and the sec­ond is when play­ing slowly and melod­i­cally, al­ways sing along. The no­ta­tion con­tains all of the fin­ger­ings, ar­tic­u­la­tions and phras­ing from the video per­for­mance. It would be well worth tak­ing a close look at the way Alan fin­gers and picks the phrases. He has an in­cred­i­bly smooth and ef­fi­cient way of play­ing – no un­nec­es­sary en­ergy is spent with fin­gers flail­ing around all over the place; each digit falls ex­actly where it’s needed, al­low­ing him to then add per­son­al­ity and feel to each note or phrase.

There’s bound to be a new tech­nique, lick or phrase in here for you to per­fect. If so, mem­o­rise it and use it wher­ever the Do­rian sound would be ap­pro­pri­ate.

Once you have mas­tered some of Allen’s ideas, you could try cre­at­ing a solo of your own over the back­ing track. Have fun and see you next time.

When play­ing sloW and melodic ideas, al­Ways sing along

Allen Hinds: one of the smoothest tech­niques around

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