NICK JOHN­STON Video Mas­ter­class

In this sec­ond in­stal­ment, Canada-based vir­tu­oso Nick John­ston demon­strates some great Ly­dian mode and Nat­u­ral Mi­nor scale ideas over Jason Sid­well’s back­ing track, Bis­cuit In The Basket. Jon Bishop is your guide.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

The Cana­dian prog-rock vir­tu­oso’s sec­ond and fi­nal video les­son gives fur­ther in­sight into his flu­idly fan­tas­tic solo­ing style. Fab­u­lous!

In the sec­ond part of this Nick John­ston video mas­ter­class we are fea­tur­ing an­other ex­cit­ing rock track with plenty of modal vo­cab­u­lary. As Nick ex­plains in the video, he had a lot of fun per­form­ing over this back­ing track. On the first lis­ten it sounds like an odd time groove; it’s also in­ter­est­ing that the track con­tains a mod­u­la­tion and the use of con­trast­ing tonal­i­ties.

The cho­rus uses the D Ly­dian mode and var­i­ous chord frag­ments from that tonal­ity in the back­ing track. We have writ­ten out a fin­ger­ing for this scale to get you started. The notes of D Ly­dian are: D-E-F#-G#-A-B-C#. The verse sec­tion uses chords from the har­monised A Nat­u­ral Mi­nor scale (al­though the Em9 has an F#note in it. Again, we have writ­ten out a fin­ger­ing for the A Nat­u­ral Mi­nor scale and the notes are: A-B-C-D-E-F-G. In ad­di­tion to A Nat­u­ral Mi­nor and D Ly­dian scales Nick uses a mix­ture Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic scales, arpeg­gios and chro­matic notes.

As with last month’s les­son, be­fore we get go­ing note that Nick is tuned down a semi­tone

(Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Bb-Eb) on all strings This is a pop­u­lar choice used by play­ers like Jimi Hen­drix and Ste­vie Ray Vaughan to fat­ten the tone and re­duce the string ten­sion. If you wish to learn the licks and play along us­ing the tab then you will need to tune your gui­tar down or it will sound a semi­tone out with the au­dio.

Nick ex­plained last month that he tries not to over-an­a­lyse what he is do­ing. The lines are a com­bi­na­tion of some the­ory knowl­edge, mus­cle mem­ory and se­lect­ing what ever feels is right at time. He vi­su­alises the key on the fret­board and then adds in notes to try and do some­thing in­ter­est­ing on the fly.

In terms of con­tour, Nick makes some in­ter­est­ing points about build­ing the solo. He starts off us­ing lots of space in a lower reg­is­ter and the em­pha­sis is al­ways on mak­ing sure ev­ery­thing is rhyth­mi­cally in­ter­est­ing. In ad­di­tion to A Nat­u­ral Mi­nor and D Ly­dian he uses a mix­ture of the Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic scale,

Eb arpeg­gios and chro­matic notes. Due to the tun­ing, the tab is ex­actly where he puts his fin­gers if you watch the video, but re­mem­ber you will need to tune down a semi­tone for it to work this way when you play along.

Nick signs off with some great points about lis­ten­ing to as much im­pro­vised mu­sic as pos­si­ble. This lis­ten­ing will su­per­charge your progress and ben­e­fit your style in many ways.

Hope­fully, there will be a new tech­nique, lick or phrase in here some­where for you to per­fect. If you find one you like, then mem­o­rise it and use it in the fu­ture, es­pe­cially if the semi-qua­ver or sex­tu­plet feel is what’s re­quired. Once you have mas­tered some of the con­cepts in Nick’s solo, why not try a solo of your own over the back­ing track. Check out the chord chart and our scale fin­ger­ings.

Have fun and see you next time.

I Lis­ten to a lot of dif­fer­ent styles of mu­sic and a lot of that rubs off on me In the weird­est ways some­times Nick John­ston

NEXT MONTH Paul Biela­tow­ics demon­strates the mys­ti­cal art of chord tap­ping.

Nick John­ston with an­other bril­liant video mas­ter­class

Bis­cuit In The Basket is a Cana­dian hockey term for putting the puck (Bis­cuit) in the net (Basket)

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