Remco Post : This month we discuss the DVD 'Learn To Play 50 Metal Killer Licks' van Lick Library. There has been a 'Volume 2' released in the meanwhile, but for the verdict on that one you will be have to be waiting for another month. Unless you are reading this later on in the archives. On this DVD for a change you will not be getting the killer songs of a specific band, but purely a focus on the techniques used by legends like Yngwie Malmsteen, Randy Rhoads, Kirk Hammett and Zakk Wylde. The tutor is Danny Gill and the chapters are: Yngwie Malmsteen, Randy Rhoads, Kirk Hammett en Zakk Wylde. De docent is Danny Gill en de hoofdstukken zijn: Minor Pentatonic Licks, Minor Pentatonic Shred, Minor Diatonic Licks, Intervallic Licks, String Skipping, Harmonics, 2 Handed Licks, Harmonic Minor and Combining Scales.
I think it works the best when I run through all separate chapters with you. It can indeed be tough to keep on repeating your scales on and on, especially when all you want to do is just play the songs you like, but to lay down the foundation for your guitar playing it is crucial to do so. Steve Vai, Dave Murray and Alexi Laiho have all patiently worked their way through basic exercises before becoming as good as they are now. They just picked stuff up a little faster than the average novice. The DVD sets off with the Minor Pentatonic scale, which is explained very clearly. Danny also demonstrated how you can use these scales to play solos. He keeps on playing them, turning up the speed with each round he plays them. He also recommends a Wah pedal, as that truly rules (to which I concur).
The next chapter is about the same stuff, but it is not called 'Shred' without a reason. The pace is turned up heavily and actually the only target is to let smoke come from the fret board. You wanted to do metal, right? You could have known that speed was inevitable a factor at some point. And that is exactly what this passage deals with for you. So you should expect fast soloing, that you can start using in your own solos as soon as you nail them. And or that goes too that even your great heroes do that too.
The next practice is the Diatonic Scale. This knows seven tones, instead of the five in the Pentatonic, so that makes it a bit more extensive. The octave is separated in five big and two small intervals. Yes, I admit that this is a bit theoretical, but that is exactly the point of the whole instruction. However, things are taught very well and clear, in such a patient way that everyone should be able to find a connection to it. And if you are in the target group, do yourself a favour and just keep on playing along until you can go along with it to a level that you think is acceptable. The last thing you should do is quitting a basic exercise because you think it isn't enough fun. It takes some puzzling in the beginning, but you instantly can tell the richness that arises in your playing.
The Intervallic licks are scales with tones in between. “Intervallic” refers to “interval”. I warned you that it would become theoretical, but in this case the terminology might be harder than the actual practice of it. Just pay attention and play along, next thing you know you have another trick in your high hat. Compare it to say a G power chord, in which the second tone is the D. These far spread tones are now applied in scales for solo works.
String Skipping is a technique with which, the name says it all, je play solos in which you use scales with which you skip a string. For instance, you are on the high E and you head to the G string, and only play the B string in between afterwards, or not at all. If you use scales at random and you decide to leave out a string in between, it may sound dissonant or even foolish, but if you know to which notes or with which finger patters you must execute this, very interesting things can happen. A very famous lick with string skipping is 'Sweet Child O Mine', by Guns N' Roses. If you are not playing that long, it might be too ambitious for you, but with perseverance and a lot of practice I am sure you will do just fine. Slash in turn played it with the same number of fingers you have available.
Harmonics is mainly about where you can play harmonics and how to use them in a solo. In this case it becomes surprisingly frantic, in a way never thought of them as applicable. It is more fun when you practice and connect right away, so you can keep on raising the bar in bits. But in general I would say that this DVD is aimed at guitarists with a modest level, so these passages could be a bit too demanding and challenging.
The next segment is 2 Handed Licks and that is just another way to say tapping. The technique is put on the map by one friendly Dutch born guitarist named Eddie van Halen. Apart from the fact you can play parts with it with note schemes that usually are out or reach for just your left hand (right hand of you reversed it), it looks fucking cool. And for a solo guitarist, let's be honest, that is half of the story. Danny show how to apply tapping to the maximum here, as he may not be a cocky rock star, but just than a friendly teacher, he masters his instrument in a very impressive way, which he displays here once more. Again the question is valid to whom this chapter may appeal.
The Harmonic Minor Scale is the most frantic of scales, according to Danny and in all honesty there was not a single one he does here I knew before. It sounds freakish and it reminds me of the classic solos of Yngwie. This is something I need to practice on some other time! Perseverance on basic exercises is one thing, sometimes you must acknowledge you go astray of your own intentions too far and throw the towel for now. The last chapter is simply about combining everything you learned so far on the DVD. And wonderful things can be made indeed. Even though the routines may appear dull at times. I am not going to try to make that any nicer than it is, it is just a part of your growing process, which in the end will only make you better and more complete.
Conclusion: contrary to what you might expect with a title like this, you will not be getting riffs or solos of well-known metal artists, but the DVD focuses on the techniques those guys use. I actually was hoping for the riffs, as the first thing you do when you buy a guitar, is to try and figure out how famous tunes are played. Preferably the classic riffs. A fine DVD for a guitarist that is ready to do some serious soloing and in order to do so needs the baggage of the right scales. I do feel the level of the addressed guitarists is kept a bit too broad. There are routines that make me fall asleep, while others I have to disconnect. I think it is better to address one kind of level. But all-in all it was superior fun again. I did forget to actually count if it was indeed 50 licks hehe.