Both Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy are great lead guitar players and here we focus in on some of the concepts and techniques at the heart of the Alter Bridge sound.
Our first tab example is a Tremonti-style run inspired by Down To My Last from the band’s 2004 debut album, One Day Remains. These shapes sound great played in between blues-rock oriented phrases.
The second lick is inspired by solos like Wouldn’t You Rather from the new album, where Mark uses five-note patterns in his phrasing.
Our third example shows how Myles adds ‘passing’ notes to scale-based licks by simply filling in the gaps between the scale notes. These notes can sound ‘wrong’ if you hang on them too long, but passing through them on the way to a ‘correct’ note gives a cool moment of tension.
Finally, we’re rounding off our lesson with a look at Myles’ jazz influences and jamming over a simple I-IV-V blues progression. There’s lots to learn here so take it slowly and have fun.
Click in the top right of the tab examples to enlarge
1. Soloing with six-note groupings(opens in new tab)
Start with a downstroke and use strict alternate picking throughout. You can start by looping each group of six notes over and over to get comfortable, then link all the pieces together as you build up to the complete lick.
2. Unusual rhythms(opens in new tab)
Start with your volume knob turned down then strum each chord before raising the volume to fade in. Add reverb or delay for extra sustain; we’ve added a panning delay effect set to a dotted eighth note rhythm.
In bars 3 and 4 allow the two strings to ring together and keep your delay pedal engaged.
3. Adding passing notes for colour(opens in new tab)
This lick is based in the B blues scale (B D E F F# A), so the 7th and 10th fret notes (F, F# and A) in bar 1 all belong to the scale.
The notes in between are passing notes, which are not technically in the scale but can be used to bridge the gap between notes.
4. Jazzy sounding scales(opens in new tab)
There are three scales in this lick. Bars 1 and 4 are based in the A minor pentatonic scale – the lick’s ‘home’ sound. Bar 2 uses the D whole tone scale, which moves in two-fret steps – no semitones.
Bar 3 takes things farther into jazz with the E Super Locrian mode (E F G A b Bb C D). Don’t worry about the weird names – just play slowly through the tab.
5. Learn 5 of Tremonti's favoured altered tunings
Mark has used loads of guitar tunings in the Alter Bridge, Creed and Tremonti back catalogues – it’s something you can use to inspire your own riffs and songs too. Here are just a few Alter Bridge and Creed tunings.
If you want to experiment, remember that the lower you tune, the heavier the string gauge you’ll need to keep your guitar’s string tension and tuning stable.
6. Tremonti's three-note-per-string shapes
Mark uses three-note-per-string scales to create both smooth legato lines and shredding alternate picked runs. Play through this D major shape and pay special attention to the fingering while keeping your fingers nicely spaced and square on the fretboard.
Try playing this shape in different keys by moving it lower and higher on the fretboard.