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●4 PLAYING BEYOND THE FRETBOARD
Ever felt limited by your fretboard? Take a tip from Roy Buchanan, and you’ll never feel hemmed in by such paltry inconveniences in the future. In The Messiah Will Come Again at 3:55 Buchanan plays a long extended phrase all on the top string, starting with a pattern of three notes that he gradually moves chromatically up the fretboard, similar to the one outlined below
– although not quite as uniform as the exercise. As he nears the top of the fretboard he carries on beyond the top fret, so the string is obviously not able to be pressed down on a fret. This produces a semi-pitch, semi-percussive noise, indicated by the ‘x’s in the notation and tablature. Experiment with this; make sure you’ve dialled in a touch of reverb to fill things
out, added a touch of overdrive, and also play with conviction, otherwise this lick could fall flat on its face.
So what’s Buchanan up to? Searching for those ethereal, mystical notes he can hear in his head but can’t quite capture in the real world? Reaching for some existential truth? Or maybe he just ran out of fretboard…
●5 NOTE CRAMMING
Like many electric blues guitarists, Buchanan could sometimes crank up the excitement level in a lead part by ‘cramming’ – sticking in as many notes as possible, often by using the blues scale, which lends itself well to this technique. The first line of the exercise shows the first position D blues scale, starting on the bottom string, 10th fret with the first finger. This ‘note cramming’ technique can be heard in Sweet Dreams at 1:04, 1:29 and 1:53. The
second line of our exercise is similar to the phrase played by Buchanan at 1:53. Begin by practising the whole thing slowly, then gradually increase the tempo until you’re playing as fast as possible.
112 Guitar & Bass FEBRUARY 2012