A founding member of the influential metal band, Testament, Alex Skolnick is a household name in the world of thrash. But, he is also the head of the acclaimed acoustic project, Planetary Coalition. In fact, Alex stated that many of his songs, though they may end up later recorded on electric guitar, start off as acoustic arrangements.
In his course, Unbound Guitar: Acoustic Excursions, Alex delves into his creative approaches, and the acoustic guitar techniques that bring him the most success.
Here are six video acoustic guitar lessons from the course. But, for the full course, check out Alex Skolnick’s Unbound Guitar: Acoustic Excursions on TrueFire!
Unbound Guitar: Acoustic Studies – Conundrum Excerpts – Overview
Let’s take a look at this track which I call “Conundrum Excerpts.” Naturally, this implies the track contains pieces from a larger work called, “Conundrum.”
Unbound Guitar: Acoustic Studies – Conundrum Excerpts – Performance
Here is my performance of the track, “Conundrum Excerpts.”
Unbound Guitar: Acoustic Studies – Conundrum Excerpts – Intro Section Breakdown
We can pick this song apart piece by piece. So, let’s start off by taking a look at the intro section.
Unbound Guitar: Acoustic Studies – Conundrum Excerpts – Phrygian Modal Riff
Let’s take a look at the inspirations for the tune. We will explore the suspended b9 chord and Phrygian mode, which is the third mode of the Major scale. Included is the four-note pattern which is repeated in octaves and forms the foundation of the main lick. So, follow along and then we’ll move on to the last parts of the tune.
Unbound Guitar: Acoustic Studies – Conundrum Excerpts – Open Chordal Section
This part uses an open rhythm, and was originally composed on an acoustic. The first part consists of picked individual notes alternating with wide open strums. Then, the second part has a featured melody played on the higher notes. And, this part is played with a hybrid picking technique to give it a fuller sound. Now, let’s touch on the song’s ending.
Unbound Guitar: Acoustic Studies – Conundrum Excerpts – Ending Section
The sus b9 part in the “A Section” is transposed to E, which enables the use of the open strings for picking and pulling off the lick. Then, the four-note pattern repeats up an octave as before except this time in E. Finally, the concluding “walkdown” of the tune consists of the main sus b9 chord voicing descending down the neck.
Digging these free acoustic guitar lessons? Check out Alex Skolnick’s full course, Unbound Guitar: Acoustic Excursions.