Skid Row

gets 18 And Life for some gui­tar-re­lated Mon­key Busi­ness as he ex­plores Scotti Hill and Dave Sabo of Skid Row’s style.

Guitar Techniques - - LESSON - Char­lie Grif­fiths

The two-pronged gui­tar at­tack of Scotti Hill and Dave Sabo has re­mained un­changed since Skid Row be­gan in the late 80s. Prior to this Sabo was briefly with Bon Jovi, but left for Richie Samb­ora to re­sume gui­tar du­ties. When Skid Row’s self-ti­tled de­but al­bum came out in 1989, Jon Bon Jovi helped his old friend by tak­ing Skid Row on a world­wide sta­dium tour, lift­ing them to in­stant suc­cess. Hav­ing an­thems like 18 And Life, I Re­mem­ber You and Youth Gone Wild was an im­por­tant fac­tor too. The heav­ier sound­ing 1991 fol­low-up, Slave To The Grind ce­mented the band as one of the big­gest hard rock acts of the time. The al­bum de­buted at No 1 thanks to those afore­men­tioned clas­sics. Al­though the band con­tin­ues to tour, they never reached that level of suc­cess again. As usual in this se­ries we have five riffs for you and a solo in the style of clas­sic Skid Row.

The first riff uses dou­ble-stops on pairs of strings, rem­i­nis­cent of those early days. The per­fect 4th shape is a good sub­sti­tute for a tra­di­tional pow­er­chord as it’s es­sen­tially an in­ver­sion of the same two notes. It also means the shape can be played with one fin­ger, al­low­ing for quicker chord changes. Ex­am­ple 2 shows Skid Row’s heav­ier side and is played in dropped D tuning like sev­eral of their riffs. Sim­ply tune the sixth string down a tone.

The third riff is in­spired by the raunchier side of the band. Dou­ble-stops once again play a huge part in the riff as they give a fo­cused sound, which works well with a high-gain tone. When play­ing these riffs you can add semi-pinched har­mon­ics at your dis­cre­tion to bring out more char­ac­ter in the riff - brush the side of your thumb against the strings as you play a down­stroke. The tech­nique is com­monly used with sin­gle notes, but works very ef­fec­tively with dou­ble-stops too.

Riff num­ber four is at the power bal­lad end of the spec­trum. This riff uses a re­peat­ing, ring­ing chord played on the tre­ble strings and chang­ing bass notes played on the lower ones. A less high-gain tone is suit­able here as it can be­come muddy and messy with too much dis­tor­tion; try rolling down your gui­tar vol­ume to lessen the gain. Ex­am­ple 5 shows the heavy Blues-scale riffs the band loves to use. Al­though the riff is sim­ple, the de­liv­ery is what makes it sound full of at­ti­tude. The pinched har­mon­ics at the 7th fret should be en­hanced with a wide vi­brato of around a tone. For the most ef­fec­tive vi­brato turn your fore­arm and wrist to bend the string back and forth. Also no­tice that a lot of the notes are pre­ceded by grace note slides, which also add to the drama of the de­liv­ery.

The Skid Row lead gui­tar style is clas­sic 80s hard rock, us­ing mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic and Blues scales as the ba­sis of most of the solo­ing. Break the solo down into two-bar sec­tions and re­peat each one slowly, en­sur­ing that the phras­ing is even and the notes are all played cleanly. Grad­u­ally build up the speed un­til you can play along to the back­ing track while re­main­ing loose and re­laxed. We want to make it sound flashy – but ef­fort­less.

the Skid Row lead Style is clas­sic 80s hard rock, us­ing mi­nor pen­ta­tonic and blues scales as the ba­sis

Dave ‘The Snake’ Sabo and Scotti Hill of Skid Row

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