John McLaughlin Picking Runs

by Ben Higgins

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  • Welcome to my new lesson!

    This time we will be learning 2 very unique picking runs used by John McLaughlin.

    "John McLaughlin (born 4 January 1942, Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England), also known as Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, is an English guitarist, bandleader and composer. His music includes many genres of jazz, and rock, which he coupled with an interest in Indian classical music to become one of the pioneering figures in fusion." - Wikipedia

    John is well known in guitar circles for his awesome alternate picking technique and his mind blowing runs, which seem to erupt out of nowhere. What's so impressive about John's blistering runs is that he can be playing something very sedate and then an ultra fast burst comes out of nowhere. He doesn't need to 'wind it up' to get the speed going, it's instant.

    John doesn't follow the usual diatonic 3 note per string sequences beloved of so many of us rock and metal players. Instead, he's very inventive with his use of intervals and puts together sequences of notes which take a bit of getting used to.

    I've presented the runs to you in an ascending and descending format whilst running through the modes of C Major. So, not only do you learn some awesome licks that John plays but this lesson serves as a picking exercise, warm up and a very useful reference point for students learning the modes.

    You'll be using a clean guitar setting, not only to sound like John but to help keep your ears focused on cleanliness of technique. Ready? Go!

    Tempo: 85 bpm

    Tuning: E A D G B E - Standard Tuning

    Compression, EQ & Reverb added to a clean guitar signal. Guitar recorded through a D.I. into an Edirol UA-25
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