Step back in time and work on your rock and roll ar­peg­gio rakes with this month’s trip down to the wood­shed. Char­lie Grif­fiths gets hep!

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Char­lie Grif­fiths helps you hone your skills. This month he moves on from Do­rian mode to pulling out #4 licks from the Ly­dian.

This in­stal­ment we will look at ’50s and ’60s rock and roll ar­peg­gio rakes. This tech­nique is a hy­brid of rhythm and lead gui­tar ap­proaches and can be heard on many clas­sic doo-wop songs, such as Bobby Darin’s Dream Lover, Sam Cooke’s Won­der­ful World, Cry­ing In The Rain by The Everly Brothers and Diana by Paul Anka. Per­haps the most fa­mous use of the raked ar­peg­gio is by The An­i­mals’s gui­tarist Hil­ton Valen­tine on their 1964 ver­sion of the folk-blues clas­sic, House Of The Ris­ing Sun.

The ap­proach utilises barre chords held with the fret­ting hand which are arpeg­giated us­ing the pick. The picked notes are played in spe­cific rhythms, us­ing a mix­ture eighth notes and 16th notes, so some prac­tice is re­quired to de­velop the pick con­trol re­quired.

Ex­am­ple 1 is an in­tro­duc­tion to the as­cend­ing and de­scend­ing pick strokes we need to mas­ter. This uses a C barre chord, but you can ap­ply it to any chord on four ad­ja­cent strings. First prac­tise the three as­cend­ing notes, played with three down­strokes. For econ­omy of mo­tion try to think of these three down­strokes as one smooth move­ment across three strings. Al­low the pick to glide from string to string in a smooth mo­tion while let­ting the tip hit the strings on its jour­ney. For the three de­scend­ing notes use the pick to play three up­strokes in the same smooth fash­ion. This tech­nique can be re­ferred to as ‘rak­ing’, but also ‘sweep pick­ing’ as the pick ‘sweeps’ back and forth across the strings. For the fi­nal touch you can rest your palm gen­tly on the strings at the bridge in or­der to lightly mute them. This gives the notes a per­cus­sive tone and also keeps them sep­a­rated.

In Ex­am­ple 2, we use the same chord and the same tech­nique, but this time the rhythm is dif­fer­ent. Rather than the even, con­tin­u­ous eighth notes, we have quicker 16th notes mixed in. The fo­cus here is to keep the tone, feel and tempo the same when switch­ing be­tween these sub­di­vi­sions.

In Ex­am­ple 3 we start ap­ply­ing the pick­ing pat­tern to a chord change. Here you can get used to mov­ing the pick­ing pat­tern from one set of strings to an­other.

Ex­am­ple 4 uses the clas­sic ’50s or doo-wop chord pro­gres­sion, which is I-VI-IV-V. You will recog­nise this from songs like Duke Of Earl by Gene Chan­dler, Ben E King’s Stand By Me, A Teenager In Love by Bobby Vee, Croc­o­dile Rock by El­ton John, and Earth An­gel by The Pen­guins (or for any Back To The Fu­ture fans, by Marvin Berry And The Starlighters, fea­tur­ing Marty Mc Fly).

The fifth and fi­nal ex­am­ple is rem­i­nis­cent of House Of The Ris­ing Sun and is played in a ‘let ring’ style, rather than palm-muted.

Play through each ex­am­ple slowly and ac­cu­rately, mak­ing sure that the pick­ing move­ments are clean and pre­cise be­fore grad­u­ally speed­ing up. Jive, any­one?


NEXT MONTH Char­lie looks at the less com­mon tech­nique of bend­ing the lower strings

Rakes can be played ei­ther down­wards or up­wards

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