CARL VERHEYEN Blues-fusion masterclass
Session virtuoso Carl Verheyen demonstrates some great fusion ideas over Jason’s exciting track, The Flow. Jon Bishop is your guide.
This stunning rock-fusion guitarist improvises a solo over Jason Sidwell composition, The Flow, then explains his approach in detail.
We continue our video masterclass series with a minor key rock track composed by Jason Sidwell and improvised over by Carl. Look out for ear-grabbing interval leaps and top instrumental rock vocabulary. As Carl explains, the track is mostly in D minor so he plays D Dorian mode (D-E-F-G-A-B-C) through the verse sections.
One of the key concepts in this solo is Carl’s trademark use of wide intervals. He likes to break up scale runs with intervallic leaps, as a simple ‘up and down the scale’ run is the last thing he wants to hear. (See lick 1, at 3:40 on the video).
Another concept Carl demonstrates is the use of a pre-composed motif that can be used as a jumping-off point for improvisation. This use of a motif insures a strong initial statement and allows for departures into other areas, such as the blues. (See lick 2, at 5:00 on the video).
For the chorus section Carl ‘outlines the changes’ using arpeggios from the chord. This insures that a melodic line is maintained.
Ebmaj9 When we get to the chord, Carl uses Eb (Eb-F-G-A-Bb-C-D)
Lydian mode to get an ethereal, floating sound in keeping with the track’s title, ‘The Flow’.
F Major Pentatonic comes in handy in the chorus section and Carl demonstrates the importance of knowing the Pentatonic scales from the bottom of the fretboard to the top and back down in one pass.
Carl has a very expressive style and uses plenty of articulation to make the phrases come to life. As well as finger slides, string bending and finger vibrato the whammy bar is utilised to great effect.
Carl has a particular whammy bar set-up that he favours. The springs are set so when the bar is pulled right up, the first string raises by a semitone from E to F, the second goes up a tone from B to C# and the third goes up a minor 3rd
Bb. from G to This pre-setting of the raised pitches allows for good intonation and confidence when bending pitches using the bar.
Another thing that may strike you when you watch Carl’s performance is the amount of pickup changes there are. Many players leave the pickup selector where it is for the duration of a solo. Here Carl switches to get the optimum sound for each phrase and sometimes even changes mid phrase.
Hopefully there will be a new technique, lick or phrase somewhere in here for you to perfect. If you find one you like then memorise it and use it (or tweak it) for future solos, especially if a wide interval or whammy bar tinged phrase is what you’re after. Once you have mastered some of the concepts in Carl’s solo, why not try creating a solo of your own over Jason’s rather involving backing track. Check out the chord chart and learn the changes before you start work on the licks. Have fun and see you next time.
CARL DEMONSTRATES THE PENTATONIC SCALES FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE FRETBOARD TO THE TOP AND BACK DOWN