It’s safe to say that enjoying music is part of the human condition. There are so many types of music, you are bound to be drawn to some form of it. Though, despite the wide variety of styles, it might come as a surprise to some to learn that most of these genres share the same essential building blocks. This is true of much of modern music, and is a helpful piece of knowledge to hang on to when learning an instrument like the guitar.
In his TrueFire course, Unbound Guitar, Alex Skolnick sheds light on the shared, fundamental basics that make up many forms of guitar music. Then, he helps you get a grasp on using these core techniques and approaches to improve your own playing.
Here are 8 free Alex Skolnick guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Alex’s full course, Unbound Guitar!
Alex Skolnick Guitar Lesson – All Together Demo
Let’s talk about blending bends with the slides, hammers-ons and pull-offs. By doing this, and just using a select few notes from our basic pentatonic shapes, we’re really starting to get into the realm of music-making on the guitar.
Alex Skolnick Guitar Lesson – All Together Performance
Here, we have a specific emphasis on bends. Classic moments by Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Leslie West, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and others begin to flavor the playing. There are some licks starting to appear which folks may recognize as my own style. By absorbing these ideas and applying your own personality, you’ll tap into what will eventually become your own style.
Alex Skolnick Guitar Lesson – Sweeps
“Sweeping” is similar to “raking”. The main difference is that very clear notes are played, not muffled or muted ones. These are often done with triads as a way to embellish a target note. Triads can be combined into “sweeping” arpeggios which will be looked at in the future. For now, we’re focused mainly on approaching a single note with a simple triad.
Alex Skolnick Guitar Lesson – Melodic Expressionism
While the high-intensity repetition looked at in the previous segment can be exciting, it is best used in conjunction with a sense of melodic expressionism. Here we look at the process of developing a solo, with a slow classic rock-style power ballad as background.
Alex Skolnick Guitar Lesson – A Whiter Shade of Young Romance Overview
The title gives away the inspirations: “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (Procol Harem), “All the Young Dudes” (Mott The Hoople) and “Goodbye to Romance” (Ozzy Osbourne). Like those songs and many others (“Piano Man” by Billy Joel, for example), the progression moves backwards through the key, in this case, C.
Alex Skolnick Guitar Lesson – A Whiter Shade of Young Romance Performance
Here I’m trying to stick mostly to slow, simple phrases that create melodic expressionism discussed earlier. There are a few obvious references. It does get into some high intensity repetition, with some moments inspired by Randy Rhoads and others, with a few flashes of speed. Most of the time, however, it’s all about melody.
Alex Skolnick Guitar Lesson – Vinnie the Vamp Overview
This track is all about attitude. It’s the first based on a single-note vamp. It is also our first track with what’s known as a modulation, or changing of keys.
Alex Skolnick Guitar Lesson – Vinnie the Vamp Performance
The main vamp is based on F# minor, which is the relative of A major. The second part or “B section” moves to A Dorian, similar to the previous track. Notice how this enables ideas that fit the A major pentatonic patterns over the main vamp, yet it is easy to switch to A minor pentatonic over the bridge.
Digging these free Alex Skolnick guitar lessons? Check out his full course, Unbound Guitar on TrueFire!