Watch the A Heavy Rock online guitar lesson by Johnny Hiland from Ten Gallon Guitar
Alright folks, now it's time to break down the rock section. It's a little weird for chicken picker to be doing that but I love all genres of music and I love to play all genres. I also love incorporating my chicken picking in my rock playing, and I did a lot of it in this track I just played. To start off this track, I played your simple A bluesy scale but yet in a pentatonic kind of way scale. And what I did when I was doing it I reached back down and grabbed an open A string which I never did teach you. It's a descending lick and then I connected it to this, and then I played your G open string scale. So I played the G open string scale into the D open string scale and then I went back into the A where I proceeded back up into the higher sections where I could finger tap. Now what I want to do is teach you what I'm doing exactly for the finger tapping. Essentially, what I learned from jamming long and hard on Van Halen records is that you can actually play at an A. We're going to tap on B string, from the 5th to the 8th fret in a tap, and then tap the 10th fret with our finger. And then we're going to take it from the E position, and I'm barring with my first finger on the fifth fret and I'm in the A position. I'm tapping on B from the 5th to the 8th fret to the 10th fret and then on the high E string I'm tapping from the fifth to the 9th fret with the 10th being the one that's being tapped by my right index finger. I'm moving it back from the 9th fret to the 7th fret on the high E string, so I'm bouncing back and forth between the two. So I'm tapping off, but I'm bringing it back down the scale. So I'm tapping again the same thing and then running down the scale and I'm just plucking that so you can hear it and I don't have to crack my distortion all the way. I walk down the actual scale from a pentatonic position, and I'm walking from the A note B string 7th fret to the 5th fret on the D string, up to the A string, seventh fret which is an E note. As I do that I'm hitting the G string open and using the whammy bar to bring it down. The whammy bar is really fun and I like using it with harmonic stuff. Sometimes I'll use an A and so all I'm doing is I'm just tapping the 5th and 7th fret on the low E and then tapping just the fifth fret on the A, D, and G and it creates a cool overtone, in a harmonic sense, over the A chord. To finish everything off, I started using the E section from that A and I used the E open string lick in both cases, so the first E lick that we learned connected right directly with the seventh one, or the second one which was the seventh and fourth, which led me to directly into the D pattern, which is like a D with flat seven- a D seven chord- and then into the Hendrix chord and back into A, where I did a rock lick which I learned as a young kid, and I didn't play it that far but that's what it stems from. And that's how we ended it, with the actual lick in the track. So there you have it folks, there's a run-down of the rock stuff. So yes, you can use open strings in rock. Can you actually add some steel guitar bends in rock? Yes you can. So don't be afraid to apply chicken picking with heavy metal rock. It really works! When I was onstage with Sammy Hagar, and Steve Vai, and those type of guys, I'll bust out the chicken picking. It's a lot of fun. I've had a lot of years of getting the opportunity and being blessed to have the opportunity to go out with such guys and be able to utilize my chicken pickin’ in the rock realm. I hope you get a chance to experiment with some rock sounds and check out some rock pedals. There's all kind of great stuff out there, and we'll get into the gear section here in a little while. Rock music is a whole lot of fun and I know, from my teen years, I've loved it. I've been a huge fan of everyone from Steve Vai to Satriani to Van Halen, and Mark Tremonti. The list goes on and on. It's a genre that I love to play and I sure hope you have fun learning.