Yes that's right, the title said
classical. No this isn't some sick theory lesson on how to write classical music like
Bach. We are going to teach you how to apply classical techniques into your playing!
Neoclassical guitar is the new age
classical. It involved hard core metal guitar, fast hands, and some amazing scales and
If you are looking to be inspired or
put in awe by some neoclassical guitarist, take a look at some of Yngwie J Malmsteen
This is a beautiful representation
of guitar that really takes practice and patience but the reward is great. First we're
going to teach you where this stuff comes from, and then we're going to show you the
scales it's based from. Finally, we will show you how to apply it to your playing by
giving you a few licks to get started with. So here we go!
Tip #1: You need to
understand that neoclassical isn't just classical music. "Neoclassic" typically
refers (as a definition by most guitarists) to "neoclassic rock / metal", not
"current classical music". We're talking about rock and metal, influenced by
classical music. So don't worry, you're going to be rocking...hard and fast.
Neoclassical music became known in
the early 80's. Before then, heavy rock was blues inspired. Then some guitarists took a
leap of faith and started combing classical sounds into their hard metal songs.
Tip #2: Now it's time to
learn some scales that you can play around with and even write a few solos with. I would
like you to keep in mind when listening to players like Yngwie J Malmsteen that he is
incredibly fast and has spent many countless hours practicing this music.
You can be that good too if you put
the time into it. However, for these scales and riffs I will be slowing it down quite a
bit so you can enjoy it and really hear the classical integrated with the rock.
The first scale is an E (natural)
Tip, if you change the 15 on
your B string to a 16 you will then change the scale to an E Harmonic minor scale!
E Phrygian Dominant (harmonic
minor in the 5th mode)
This next scale is very useful but
needs to be used correctly to have the full effect. For instance you could be using the
scale above in a solo, then switch to the one below. The reason is it makes musical sense
(without going into the theory of it all). It won't be overpowering to the song and will
run smoothly together. E Phrygian Dominant (harmonic minor in the 5th mode)
Tip #3: Now it's time that we
applied what we've just learned. We're going to run through some simple riffs to get you
Remember, when your working from a
scale there is no wrong sequence of notes! Have fun and play what you like. It sounds
amazing when you continue to build you speed (see previous lesson to help you with that).
So lets keep going!
In the riff above you can easily see
where the scale is. It's broken down to three notes at a time so you can read it easier.
Can you hear the classical when you play it? It's really simple to get started.
Use that fret formula above and
shift it one octave lower and see the difference it makes in your playing.