Hello there and welcome to my 1st Chops from Hell guest column. For this lesson I would really like to open your ears up to some fresh ideas that go beyond the typical "shredder" way of playing. Most of us have already learned and know all the Paul Gilbert 3 note per string alternate picking sequences and Van Halen-esq tapping lines. But I would like to show you some licks I learned from a great player and teacher, whom you all should know by the name of Greg Howe. Greg has opened my playing up to many new heights. By introducing me to the playing of Allan Holdsworth, Greg has totally inspired me to expand my legato playing. And from Greg's own book, some WAY COOL tapping lines.

To start, let's look at a really cool Holdsworth-inspired 4 note per string legato line. Allan has the most unique and original approach to playing hammer-ons and pull-offs in a linear scale sequence. To start, WARM UP. This lick can be a killer if you don't have the fretting hand nice and loose. This is a typical (yes we all know) G Major diatonic scale, but the tonality will be A dorian. We will begin on the 7th fret and move up to the 14th position using only hammer-ons. Pick the first note of each sequence for fluidity and to help keep the pulse of where the rhythm is. You will use all 4 fingers on each watch where the 1 is and play the whole thing as 16th notes. Here goes…

Now, let's take a look at a very cool tapping lick I created on a variation of a lick I learned from guitar master Greg Howe. This lick is in the key of G minor and is basically what I like to call a "theme lick". What does that mean? Well, this lick can be used very effectively in the context of a solo or improvisation. However, I like to use licks like this to establish a melodic theme in a song. On my upcoming CD I use a lick similar to this as the intro to a song. It sets up the song and also is used to bring it to completion. The technique is fairly simple. Start with a hammer-on from nowhere or (ghost note)…then tap, pull-off, and hammer-on (ghost hammer) again until you get through the sequence. I would recommend you use your right hand middle finger to execute this passage. Makes it easier that way to switch back to using a pick for the rest of the song.

Well, that's all for now. I hope you have really enjoyed my column and will check out my website at There's a mailing list there if you would like to sign up and my demo CD will soon be completed and ready for shipping. Godbless….