Acclaimed metal guitarist Andy James has put together a blistering solo over one of his jam tracks from the upcoming Andy James Guitar Academy release “Ultimate Metal Improvisation Volume 1”, showcasing tapping and rapid alternate picking.
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Andy James’ Tips
“The lick in Bar 21-24 is based around the B minor pentatonic. We’re going to be tapping the 14th fret on the high E-string all the way down to the low E-string, leading with the tapped note. The ascending phrase is similar, but is lead by the left and right hand alternately and includes string skipping.
The left hand plays an E minor string-skipped arpeggio across the E, G and A strings with the right hand tapping the 15th, 16th and 17th frets, respectively. You can do variations based on this shape, which is good practice since string skipping can get really messy. This position is followed by the B minor pentatonic, played in exactly the same shape.
If you tap fairly hard and keep your left hand strong, there are very few problems that can happen and it can really help in building up your co-ordination.
I take a lot of influence from players like Tony MacAlpine and Michael Romeo, where they’re extremely efficient and fluid tappers. Those players inspired me to work on these tapping licks, and try and get them as clean and as precise as possible.
I find the run from Bar 33-40 to be good for practising alternate picking – its technical and I felt it really locked in with the backing track. The sequence is actually just several identical shapes in different positions put together. All these shapes are great to practice individually, to really focus on improving alternate picking.
I find upstrokes to be more harsh and aggressive in their attack, and for that reason tend to start alternate picked runs, including the final pentatonic two-note-per-string run from Bar 61, with an upstroke.”
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