Power Metal Soloing: Kai Hansen

by Gabriel Leopardi

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    THE PROFESSOR Commonly used in the power metal genre by players such as Kai Hansen and many others, the Harmonic Minor Scale and Aeolian Mode are both important shapes to have under your fingers. Demonstrated expertly by Gabriel in this lesson, you can hear how though they are only one note apart, these two scales can bring a solid level of contrast to your power metal soloing ideas and riffs. 

    Getting both the Aeolian Mode and the Harmonic Minor Scale under your fingers, and seeing them as only being one note apart, will allow you to quickly switch between these two classic sounds as you explore the power metal genre in the guitar practice room.

    Hi GMC!

    Welcome to the second lesson of the series based on the most influential Power Metal guitar players. I already recorded many lessons covering Power Metal bands from different parts of the world, but I mostly focused on songwriting, arranging and riffing. Now it’s time for guitar solos. I will be covering the style of the most remarked power metal guitarists. This time I decided to cover the style of the talented musician “Kai Hansen”.

    “Kai Michael Hansen (born January 17, 1963, in Hamburg, West Germany) is a heavy metal guitarist and vocalist. Hansen is the founder, lead guitarist, and vocalist of power metal band Gamma Ray. He is also the co-founder and former member of German metal bandHelloween. He is a prominent figure in power metal and has sold millions of albums worldwide. He is regarded as "the godfather of power metal", having founded three seminal bands in the genre. In 2011, he joined the band Unisonic featuring former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske.” - Wikipedia

    Music Style:
    Hansen can be considered one of the creators of Power Metal guitar playing. He has been part of one of the most important Power Metal bands ever: Helloween. His riffs, licks and compositions on albums like “Walls of Jericho” and “Keeper of the seven keys” have influenced lots of guitar players. His style is fast, wild, with influences of Iron Maiden, Yngwie Malmsteen and Judas Priest. In this lesson I tried to re-created his style of soloing heard on the first Helloween albums.

    Tonality, Chord Progression & Scales:
    As you can discover based on his influences, Hansen loves minor tonalities, harmonic minor scale, and also major tonalities when he wants to give a happy feeling to a melody. His solos often modulate many times and that’s what happens in this lesson. It starts in E minor, then goes to F#m, then back to E minor again. The scales used are E minor and E harmonic minor.

    Techniques:
    The techniques used in this lesson are palm muting, alternate picking, bending, legato and vibrato.
    It’s not an easy lesson so be patient if you are a beginner/intermediate player.

    Sound:
    I used my Pod HD 500 to record this lesson. I used the Brit J-45 Amp Model with a 4x12 Greenback 25 Cab Model.
    My guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Studio.

    Click HERE to download my POD HD500 Patch.

    Tuning:
    Standard 440

    Tempo:
    155 BPM



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