Guitar Secrets
Guitar Secrets #11
Reprinted courtesy of Cherry Lane Publishing
originally published in GUITAR magazine 1984-1986

Lead Rhythms

Here's one to show the guitar as an orchestra, where you play a melody with more than one note at the same time. It works as either a rhythm part, a riff, or in a lead context. It's really the body of Keith Richards' style. Listen to "Honky Tonk Woman," "Brown Sugar" or "Start Me Up." He rarely plays single note melodies. Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" and "Castles Made of Sand" are two more great examples. How about his "Wind Cries Mary," or Eddie Van Halen throughout his whole career? It's a style of playing that stands up by itself. It needs no accompaniment, because it works in a minimal arrangement context.

This is a simple two note intro to a song called "Dancing in the Ruins," from the new Blue Öyster Cult album. The chords underneath are one 4/4 bar of Am and one bar where C and G each get two beats apiece. The line over that starts with the tonic and the 5th of an A, by playing on the 10th fret B string (ring finger) and the 9th fret G string (middle finger). Play these notes together and slide down a whole step to the 8th and 7th frets, using the same fingering. Then go to the 5th fret G and B strings to get the Am tonality. Next you continue that sound with your index finger on the B string first fret and the middle finger on the 2nd fret G string. Now play the two together taking your middle finger off for the open G string and do a pulloff to the open B string.

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