Now, instead of mastering this lick and then going back to the web for more, let’s have some fun with it. Example 2 has us employing hybrid picking (using a hybrid of downstrokes and middle finger plucks on the picking hand) that has the phrase descending with a few bumps back up along the way rather than just descending through the notes only. This is similar to how Greg Howe might approach an idea like this (and by the way, Greg learned to play guitar by figuring out songs from records and then making them his own— go figure!).
Example 3 is a repeated pattern that retains that Greg Howe feel with a little hybrid picking (you can also use alternate picking or directional picking, but I think hybrid picking is actually easiest). In Example 4, we’re playing six notes but it’s like it’s only 3 because we replace every other note with a bend below it back up to the original pitch. I love this sound!
Finally, Example 5 is a string skipping pattern reminiscent of Slash’s iconic guitar part in Guns N Roses’ classic song, “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” A really fun way to create new ideas is to take an existing idea and ask, “How would (insert any guitarist’s name here) play this?” Great exercise!
I created these ideas and variations after maybe ten minutes of playing around. I could easily create hundreds more, and I likely will as I continue to practice this. Instead of looking for new licks the rest of this week, I’m going to keep creating new variations of this theme so that I start sounding more and more like me rather than Yngwie (not that I could sound like him anyway!).
So embrace who you are and get to work creating your own ideas and avoid being like the rest of the clones who just copy songs and solos note for note. Be you.
About the Author: Eric “Steal My Ideas!” Bourassa resides in Fort Worth, Texas, where his guitar lessons give students the opportunity to develop as musicians and artists instead of becoming clones and mindless guitar monkeys. He specializes in shred guitar, rock guitar, improvisation, and songwriting.