Today’s drill is a Paul Gilbert Style String Skipping Legato Guitar Lick using the minor pentatonic scale, hammer ons, and pull offs. This is also a great stretch exercise for the fretting hand, as the notes are configured in a 5-fret spread. Here are a few tips:
- Focus on the rhythm. This lick is easily destroyed by a “galloping” or even “limping” rhythm, meaning that there is a tendency to stop-start-stop-start due to the string skip. Go slowly at first. One idea is to pick all of the notes and do not do the hammer ons and pull offs until you can play it smoothly and evenly with picking. Then, add in the legatos and keep the rhythm under control.
- Watch the picking. As I always say, you must control the pick. If the pick is moving in an inefficient way due to laziness, lack of trying, or just error, you will physically prevent yourself from success. There is no substitute for hard work – BUT hard work with the wrong tools will only build you a solid, securely built MISTAKE that only crashes to the ground over time.
- This lick does not need to be played at light speed. Due to the large intervals, the string skipping, and the smooth articulation, this lick just SOUNDS fast, even when played at a moderate tempo. Once you push it to a speed where you lose control of the rhythm, pick, or articulation, it will actually sound slower because it is not in a machine-like rhythm. Slow it down a touch, and you’ll find that it actually sounds more impressive and faster when played at a more moderate tempo.
Nate Richards is the owner of Richards Guitar Studio – premium music lessons and rock school in Aston, PA. Serving Delaware County and beyond.