Guitar World “Last Licks” Video Lesson on Rapid-Fire Rock Licks by Martin Goulding
For the July 2012 edition of Guitar World magazine which features Slash on the front cover, I put together my back cover column “Last Licks” based around some old school rapid-fire rock repetition licks in the style of some of the greats of the 1980′s era such as Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, George Lynch, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.
Fast and furious static repetition licks are a cornerstone of rock soloing, an effective and well used device for raising energy and intensity during solos.
Players of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s onwards had the benefits of a new technological age, with advances in amplifier design giving rise to more gain and tonal possibilities. The guitar too was quickly adapting to meet the demands of a new era, with slimmer necks, sleek contours, lighter strings, fast actions and greater sustain. Players were evolving technically and with the growing popularity of the legato approach, the more traditional pentatonic patterns of the classic rock era were hot-rodded for extra speed, high gain and tone-wide rock vibrato!
For the audio I used an Axe FX II set up with a modded JCM800 sound with the gain on 3 o’clock, and the TS808 type overdrive pedal with the gain set to zero, all played using my customised 1994 Ibanez RG 550 Ltd (see gear page). Then straight to an Apogee ensemble card into a Mac Pro running Logic. For Video, a Canon 60D and FCP X for editing. The supporting video goes into some detail breaking down the examples in a way that will be accessible for intermediate level players and has some behind the neck angles and slowed down, exaggerated versions to see the arm/wrist rotation for the bending and vibrato. The exit or finishing note is hit with a sliced, semi-harmonic pick attack on the bridge pick-up for the screaming sound associated with players like George Lynch,Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Tony Macalpine, Nuno Bettencourt and many of the players of the day and this tone will help you cut through the mix when soloing in a band over distorted rhythm guitars. For more examples of this type of tone in context, check out my Solo Studies area here.