Hard rock apos­tle Char­lie Grif­fiths Breaks the Law, Screams for Vengeance and has a dose of Painkiller to look at the leg­endary Ju­das Priest.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENT -

Char­lie Grif­fiths in­tro­duces the twin-gui­tar as­sault of NWOBHM leg­ends, Ju­das Priest.

Ju­das Priest has boasted one of the most suc­cess­ful dual gui­tar part­ner­ships in the world of rock and me­tal. Glen Tip­ton and KK Down­ing re­leased 16 Ju­das Priest al­bums, start­ing with the 1974 de­but Rocka Rolla and cul­mi­nat­ing with Nostradamus in 2008. KK re­tired from the band in 2010 and was soon re­placed by Richie Faulkner, who so far has one Priest stu­dio un­der his belt: Redeemer Of Souls.

KK and Glen’s early in­flu­ences were clas­sic rock bands such as Cream, Hen­drix, Deep Pur­ple and Led Zeppelin and the early Priest re­flects this. Fast for­ward through the years and the evo­lu­tion of the band and par­tic­u­larly the gui­tar play­ing is quite strik­ing. While the ‘70s al­bums such as Sad Wings Of Des­tiny and Stained Class have a heavy clas­sic rock flavour, by the time we get to Turbo, Ram It Down and Painkiller in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s we see more tech­ni­cal ap­proaches, such as two-handed tap­ping and sweep pick­ing as well as me­tal gui­tar tones.

We have five riffs in this les­son, which will give you a flavour of the var­i­ous ap­proaches used by Glen and KK. We start with a sin­glenote riff in early ’80s Priest style. This riff is based in B nat­u­ral mi­nor (B-C#-D-E-F#-G-A), a sta­ple tonal­ity for rock and me­tal. The scale has all of the mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic in­ter­vals (1-b3-4-5-b7)

that act as the ba­sis of count­less b6 riffs, but also a 2nd and a that fill in the mi­nor 3rd ‘gaps’ and au­to­mat­i­cally in­tro­duces more note choices and pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Our sec­ond riff has a more Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic clas­sic sound, and also hints at a heavy me­tal-in­spired clas­si­cal el­e­ment with some as­cend­ing triad-based ar­peg­gios.

Our third riff ex­am­ple is the heav­ier ‘90s side of Priest. This time a darker tonal­ity is b2 re­vealed with the in­tro­duc­tion of the

(1-b2-b3-4-5in­ter­val from the Phry­gian mode b6-b7). b2

No­tice that the is the only dif­fer­ence be­tween Phry­gian and nat­u­ral mi­nor, so small ad­just­ments can ac­tu­ally have a huge im­pact on the emo­tion you are cre­at­ing. Riff num­ber 4 is another ear­lier style of­fer­ing, and uses dou­ble-stops in G Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic.

The fifth and fi­nal riff has much more ‘Bri­tish Steel’ feel about it, fea­tur­ing some dou­ble-stops in the key of A Mi­nor played on the mid­dle two strings. The bass note ped­als on A for four bars, then switches to G. When the bass note changes, our per­cep­tion of the dou­ble-stops changes from Mi­nor to Ma­jor.

As al­ways we fin­ish our study with a full solo, and here we are us­ing var­i­ous KK Down­ing and Glen Tip­ton tech­niques, from clas­sic bluesy licks, to pinched har­mon­ics, fast re­peat­ing licks and even some sweep pick­ing.

There’s some quite tricky stuff here, so prac­tise each lick slowly, to en­sure ac­cu­racy when fi­nally play­ing it up to speed.


NEXT MONTH Char­lie ex­am­ines the in­cred­i­ble solo­ing style of Toto’s Steve Lukather

Ju­das Priest’s KK Down­ing (left) and Glen Tip­ton

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