String Skipping II

String skilling is a very difficult skill to master. If used correctly, you could yield very interesting and original results in solos, especially codenzas. A codenza solo is a solo with just one instrument and no other accompaniment. The most famous codenza is “Eruption,” Eddie Van Halen’s classic two handed tapping outro has stumped many young-guns for years.

It is nearly impossible to talk about string skipping without talking about Paul Gilbert. Here is Paul Gilbert’s rendition of “Pachelbel’s Conon.” Everything is in 16th notes. It is human nature to syncopate things, so this is a challenge to you all. By the way, I still cannot do this as fast a Mr. Gilbert himself, 120 BPM (beats per minute). I stringly suggest practicing with a metronome. I know it’s boring as hell, but I force myself to it, it really does help. Slur what you dare.

Exercise 1. "Pachelbel's Conon"

 E B
|-16-12----------------12--------------------------|
|----------------------------------12-16-12--------|
|-------16-13----13-16-----------------------------|
|-------------14-------------13-16----------16-13--|
|-------------------------14-----------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------|

 C#m G#m
|-12-9--------------9----------------------|
|-----------------------------9-12-9-------|
|------13-9----9-13------------------------|
|-----------11-----------9-13--------13-9--|
|---------------------11-------------------|
|------------------------------------------|

 A E
|-9-5-----------5------------------|
|-----9-6---6-9---------5-9-5------|
|----------------------------------|
|---------7---------6-9-------9-6--|
|-----------------7----------------|
|----------------------------------|

 A B
|-9-5-----------5--------7-11-7-------|
|-------------------------------------|
|-----9-6---6-9-----8-11--------11-8--|
|---------7-------9-------------------|
|-------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------|

This next exercise will help you if you just can’t get the previous one. I warm up every day with this one, and it’s in my codenza solo during gigs. The first half is a C major arpeggio and the second is C minor. Try incorporating one of these into a solo you write. Get familiar with the sound and tonal texture it adds. This is all in 8th notes, play it at any speed. Once again, slur what you dare.

Exercise 2. Arpeggios

 C major C minor
|----------8-12-8-------||----------8-11-8-------|
|o---------------------o||o---------------------o|
|-----9-12--------12-9--||-----8-12--------12-8--|
|--10-------------------||--10-------------------|
|o---------------------o||o---------------------o|
|-----------------------||-----------------------|

This next string stipping exercise is a diminished run that I use in almost all of my solos. Of course, I’ll need to find something new, now that you guys know about it. In this example, we are in the key of D. It can be moved all over the fretboard because the diminished scale is pretty symetrical in 1 1/2 steps. Slur the notes, and slide down/up for the notes on the high E string. I count this in 2/4 as “tri-pi-let-2-and.” Once again, any speed is fine.

Exercise 3. Diminished Run

|------9-129-----6-96-----3-6/9-----6-9/12------9-12/15-------12-15/18--|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-9-12--------6-9-------3-6-------6-9--------9-12---------12-15-----------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Attemp to use these examples in creative ways, in codenzas or regular solos. Copy then elaborate, make it your own. For example, take Exercise 2’s C major arpeggio. Make the 10 fret, D string and 8th fret E string Cs into Ds by transposing them up 1/2 step. That is now a diminished arpeggio I would use in the keys of either D or F. Totally 8th notes in any speed.

Example 4. Changed Diminished Arpeggio

|----------9-12-9-------|
|o---------------------o|
|-----9-12--------12-9--|
|--11-------------------|
|o---------------------o|
|-----------------------|

I cannot think of any more examples or advice. Have fun with this, and make these your own. String skipping is fun, if you do it creatively. I use diminished scales in almost every one of my solos, so there are a lot of examples in that scale. If I find anymore useful information, I may post a Part 2, but, until then, peace, I’m out.

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