CARL VERHEYEN Blues-fusion masterclass
The LA session guitar virtuoso plays rock blues lead over Jason Sidwell’s upbeat track Roll With The Green. Jon Bishop is your guide.
This stunning rock guitarist improvises a solo over another Jason Sidwell composition, then explains his approach in methodical detail.
This month we set sail with the first in a two-part feature with rock-blues soloing master Carl Verheyen. There are plenty of ear-grabbing interval leaps and instrumental rock vocabulary to learn so let’s get cracking. As Carl reflects, this month’s track is basically in the key of A. If you use the A Major scale (A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#) over the chords A, Bm, D and E their modal flavours will automatically be produced. The song has a 12/8 time signature so the pulse is counted 1 and a, 2 and a, 3 and a, 4 and a. Carl uses some special effects such as the artificial sweep harmonic. This technique uses a combination of strumming with the pick and sweeping the first finger of the picking hand across the strings’ node point to release the harmonic. Carl demonstrates this technique in the tutorial part of the accompanying video. For non-diatonic major chords Carl uses the classic trick of playing G Lydian mode. This works as the Lydian mode gets rid of the harsh dissonance (the perfect 4th ‘avoid’ note) found in the Major scale and replaces it with a raised 4th (#4 or #11). One of Carl’s trademark concepts is his use of intervallic lines and phrases. In the video he explains how he tries to steer clear of obvious sounding scale runs where all the notes follow each other in sequence. The intervallic approach breaks up the lines and provides an interesting ear-grabbing quality. The track switches to a D minor tonality in the chorus sections. Here the D Dorian mode (second mode of C Major: D-E-F-G-A-B-C) is the scale of choice (see feature on p30). Carl explains that all of his vibrato-equipped guitars are set up in a specific way. When the bar is pulled up as far has possible the first string raises by a semitone, the second string raises by a tone and the third string goes up a tone and a half. This makes the various whammy bar infused lines easier to play due to the guaranteed intonation. For the bridge section Carl switches to a chord based idea to break up the soloing. Here uses open-voiced triads where the 3rd of the chord is placed up the octave (Eric Johnson also favours this approach). It certainly creates a spacious sound and is a very effective way to add sophistication to these basic ingredients. Learning this solo note for note will certainly be a challenge, but well worth it. Once you have some of the key concepts under the fingers why not try creating your own path through Jason’s track, which is available on the GT audio.
Carl creates a stunning solo over Jason’s ‘Roll With The Green’
Carl Verheyen treats us to a cool lesson in soloing