Alex Skolnick: melodic lick for the entire neck

Alex Skolnick delivers a lick spanning the entire neck
Alex Skolnick delivers a lick spanning the entire neck

You'll probably be more familiar with some parts of the neck than others. After all, every guitarist has their favourite chord shapes, arpeggios and scale patterns. So in this video lesson, Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick shows you how to break through plateaus in your lead playing by moving a simple lick across the whole fretboard.

His idea is based around a five-note 'cell'. A cell is a short musical phrase that you can develop by subtly changing the pitch or rhythm. Alex transposes his cell up and down the G Dorian scale diatonically, so that he stays in one key.

This is a linear approach, which means you move up and down the neck instead of moving laterally across the strings (as you would with a conventional scale pattern). This approach will help you discover new scale patterns on just one or two strings.

For more information on Alex, visit the official Alex Skolnick website.

Next page: the tab for the lick

Tab: five-note melodic 'cell'

(Click tab to enlarge)

The first five notes in bar 1 (four 16th notes and a quarter note) form the basic cell. Alex plays this phrase again on beat 3, but at a different pitch. Apart from the odd moment or two, Alex's entire solo is based on this simple cell, moved across the neck into different pitches.