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> Barbarian Solo Lick
Ben Higgins
post May 24 2015, 02:27 PM
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I wanted to draw your attention to a lick that I use at the end of the track, Barbarian.From 3:49 onwards I start playing a repeating phrase that lasts until the end.

The tempo at this point is 95bpm and the lick is being played using 16th note sextuplets. Often when we use sextuplets we usually think of 3note per string licks that are arranged in some ascending or descending sequence. It doesn't necessarily have to be so. What I'm doing here is playing 2 notes on the high E and only one on the B. Take a look at the tab and see how they're arranged.

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Attached File  Barbarian_Solo_Lick.gp5 ( 3.82K ) Number of downloads: 59

Attached File  Barbarian_Solo_Lick.pdf ( 146.64K ) Number of downloads: 73

You'll see they're all 3 note patterns. More specifically, they're all triads which means they outline a basic chord arpeggio. The rhythm guitars on the track itself are playing single notes as opposed to chords but the implied chord changes are as follows:

B5, D5, G5, E5
B5, D5, G5, A5 and repeat.

The key is Bm.

I just used my ear when putting these shapes together. I didn't consider any theory, I just went with what sounded good. But, in a retrospective analysis the triad shapes could be named as:

Bm, D7, G, Em6
Bm, Dm7add11, Gsus2, A7add13

I'm not sure how accurate that is but the chances are you're more interested in how the lick is played rather than the exact theory, amiright? Ok, movin' on..... ph34r.gif

You can see the picking pattern is a mix of alternate picking and a pull-off. If you divide each shape into groups of 6, you pick the first note of 6 and then pull-off to the 2nd. From there you resume alternate picking until the phrase comes around again. Easy!

The hardest thing about this lick is the stretches involved, mainly in the second lot of shapes. You really give the 3rd finger and pinky a real workout with this lot so make sure you're properly warmed up before giving the shapes a shot. So, here's an official Ben Higgins Approved backing track for you play the lick over and get a feel for how it goes over the original chords!

Attached File  Barbarian_Solo_Backing_Track.mp3 ( 1.68MB ) Number of downloads: 48

Leaving the technical side and going over to the composing side of things I like to use licks that repeat but that also offer a degree of variation. Repetition and variation is a key cornerstone of song writing. That's how we get verses and choruses to repeat again and again without sounding boring or annoying. The listener's ear is drawn to something they recognise yet offering a few different notes (or chords or lyrics) keeps it fresh.

You'll also hear in the track that the rhythm guitars and drums conspire halfway through to increase the intensity. Even though the lead guitar is still doing the same thing the track still achieves to lift the drama up another notch, drawing it further into the big finish.

The rhythm guitars start to use full chords and the drums add extra kicks. Nothing too technical but enough to make a difference to the tension.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse into how I write and also enjoy the licks too.

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