Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Some Blog Licks" tabs

Lick 1 (0:00 - 0:10) : When I first started experimenting with writing my own music and exercises I started a notebook called the "Licktionary". I've filled three notebooks so far (the newest one being quite large) and the first two augmented licks here are taken from them. Augmented exercises are great for stretching and the intervals are uncommon compared to the standard things most of us practice. The short triad burst played on the G string is alternate picked but as for the notes on the upper E string, your best bet is to play with a legato touch.

Lick 2 (0:11 - 0:24) : The motive is revealed on the high E string and you can see how I wanted to play a similar lick higher up the fretboard. Here we can opt for a sweeping approach and I like to split it in halves. See it as a sweeping attack on two sets of three strings; the first shape is on the E B and G and then you'll descend and finish off on the low E A and D strings.

Lick 3 (0:25 - 0:39) : Essentially I created the next few arpeggio licks only to double up on the triad shared on the A and D strings; each pattern descends and has a repeated motif there. Eb minor and A minor share an appearance, and being a tritone apart gives this lick a very menacing tone. By the way, if anyone is interested in hearing a great piano work relying heavily on tritones you should look into Franz Liszt's Dante Sonata.

Lick 4 (0:40 - 0:54) : Same concept but here we have B minor and F# major. I like to use an aggressive upstroke on the A and D strings to play the repeated motifs. It is important to harmonize the rigid upstroke technique with the fluidity in the right hand during the sweeping motions.

Lick 5 (0:55 - 1:08) : The crux of this lick happens on the G string, where you will be playing F and F# twice but with two different fingerings (check the tablature). Why would we want to do such a thing? The descending pattern is in groups of 4 and that always requires some weird fingerings, I actually think some of the most obscure fingerings work best in these situations. If we didn't opt to switch to the first and second fingers the second time we would be stuck playing the next note with our pinky, which is always an inferior choice when we're looking into speed playing. Freeing up the right fingers is a crucial aspect of playing fast and if you go over my tabs on the blog there are many occasions when the exact same scale sequences are played with different fingerings. Absolutism does not exist in fingerings; we should choose wisely and develop proper habits. However, unconventional matters require a fresh approach.

Lick 6 (1:09 - 1:22) : An incredibly tasteless and tedious example which may or may not impress your friends. The object here is to spread your wingspan and keep the motion consistent, which is actually pretty tough to do. Big diminished stretching going on here, with the outermost notes being tapped with the right hand - index or middle finger, the choice is yours.

Lick 7 (1:23 - 1:30) : This is similar to the tritone arpeggio mix found in lick #3, except we're moving down a whole tone (or major second) each time.

Lick 8 (1:31 - 1:42) : This is probably my favorite of the bunch because it has more musical appeal. The lick mixes the earlier doubled-up triads and it also benefits from the modal climbing approach I love so much. If you look at the modes of the Eb harmonic minor scale you will see where the notes were plucked from and why they fit well. Sweeping on the descent works best; try and aggressively play that motif on the A and D strings and the climbing is done with a mixture of raking and picking as per the instructions from the mode climbing blog.

Lick 8 (1:43 - 1:50) : Ah, my favorite major scale, the Lydian. We're off racing in groups of fours this time and we have a good stretch up on the B string. There are some weird fingerings lurking about but I guarantee that they'll work best once they become assimilated.

Lick 9 (1:51 - 2:03 : Although there are more examples in the video this is all I have for tabs. This last one can be climbed using hammer-ons or even hybrid picking if you want a good challenge.


  1. Hi Keith... I had this posted on my blog... but it's for you.

    Hi Keith,
    I would love to have a copy of the heptatonic and bitonal scales you put out on you tube. I come from Mauritius, have a classical piano background as well as a sega (our local music here in Mauritius) and am playing with self taught jazz musicians at the moment. So my knowledge of jazz is third-hand and self-taught as well. Our group is fairly new and experimenting with classical structure with sega rhythm and jazz interludes.... Hard to describe, but enjoyable for us to play. My e-mail address is and we would really really appreciate getting a copy. Thank you so much for posting your material on you tube, you cannot imagine what a godsend it is for the self-taught like us lot (and we're far away on a tiny dot in the Indian Ocean too). Keep the musical fires burning, Rajni


  2. Thanks for getting this to me Laurie Monk, it's hard to keep track of certain things (even this blog) because I don't receive any kind of updates for them. I will get back to Rajni with the material he asked for. Cheers.

  3. Great stuff as usal KEITH! Shred ON!