neoclassical guitar licks

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Welcome back! In this lesson I wanna share with you two really great sounding neoclassical
guitar licks.
I still remember the first time I heard Yngwie Malmsteen, I was 15 years old and I was just so
amazed by his playing. His songs sounded like old music, from another time, but performed in a
very cool way. Later on I found out this genre is actually called Neoclassical Metal.
Neoclassical metal basically takes all the harmonic content from a classical piece, and turns it
into a modern metal song. Oftentimes the orchestration includes classical instruments like
violins, cellos, as well as drums, electric guitars and bass.
For some reason, whenever I think about Neoclassical metal, I just play a harmonic minor scale.
I mean, the harmonic minor scale is the essence of classical music; it has de V7 which is the
most important chord in classical music along with the I and I minor.
The following example is a neoclassical inspired lick in A harmonic minor:


It is not unusual for a neoclassical metal player to have a scalloped guitar, as this puts less
tension on your fingers which leads to faster playing. I mean, the fretboard is scalloped so you
don’t really have to put that much pressure on it; it doesn’t mean it’s easy, but sure if you are
able to master it, you can achieve very high speeds.
Here’s another lick:


This is also very common on neoclassical metal: diminished chords. Diminished chords just
sound like classical music to me. Another common technique that appears on this lick is “sweep
picking”. This technique is very popular among neoclassical players. When you have different
on consecutive strings (e.g. from the 5th to the 4th to the 3rd string) you don’t really pick each
string but sweep them, which means if you are picking down the 5th string and the next strings
are the 4th, 3rd and 2nd, you will move your hand down, without moving it upwards not even
This is all for today. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and please remember to check out our
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