Watch the A Night To Remember Progression online guitar lesson by Andy Timmons from Electric Expression
We're breaking down some of the melodic and improvisational content that I played at the end of A Night to Remember from Ear X-tacy 2. On this run-through I dug right in on the melody. This is at the end of the song where the main key of the song's been B minor, but now it modulates to D minor and the chord progression is D minor to F major to B flat major. So a lot of the ideas we've been talking about in other sections come from this same parent key of F major. But the first thing I do is state the melody, and it starts with a device I use quite a bit with a pivot note. Where I'm pivoting off the note A in this position of D minor. So the melody is really F and A and D and that's all in the key of D aeolian. That B flat resolving into the A over the D minor. So that next part of the phrase is something else that I commonly do, and that's pre-bending a note with my first finger from the nine to the minor third. I like the way this feels and sounds. I'll do a lot of sliding just on one string with that one finger. A fun exercise to get into when you're exploring some of the horizontal playing. Now the second half of the melody I rise from the A up to the high D, and I give that note quite a bit of emphasis. I hit the note, give it a rest, and then do that up pick harmonic thing that I like to do. Then I just repeat that next part of the melody up the octave. So that's the content of that initial melodic statement, and then I jumped right into just rocking out on some double stops.
And that's another effective energy builder, by finding a cluster of notes that sound good over each chord change. It's the A and the D. It's the same type of thing as if you were Chuck Berry. That root and fifth idea, but what I'm doing is I've got a D on the D string and a D on the B string, so I've got the octave. And in between that I've got the notes G and A that I'm pivoting back and forth on. It's not really double stops because there's three string involved, but it's almost a chordal fifth idea. There's some palm muting going on and that's a rhythm guitar thing, but I'm using it in a soloistic way. I'm choking the D string and getting some rhythm from it. I may be over-emphasizing but that's what's happening within that phrase. And then before I repeat that whole phrase I give just a little melodic lick and as I'm watching what I'm doing, I see that I repeat that D note. I shift to my index finger, and I think it's because I like the sound of my vibrato with that finger better than the D. I think it sounds a little smoother, at least for my technique. Here's another thing that I love to do, and it's just basically creating noise, but it's an interesting technique. I slide up to the D and F and I'm bending from G to A, but I'm also incorporating just the open E string and it's just there for noise and tension content. But you can also hear that harmonic ascending and descending that happens when I dig into it. I love that sound. And then I resolve that tension by fretting the high C above it. So there's that middle section with the double stop ideas and then after that an ascending unison bend. Another kind of energy building idea. Just moving right up the minor with the extra ninth degree. It's all unison bends, but I'm doing some tremolo picking where I'm going as fast as I can. And then when I get to that, the top note is A.
When I get to the A I start alternating with the note C on top with my fourth finger. Then I do a descending scalar run, and it involves some triplets just in that key of D aeolian. Basic idea and then moving it - it's a hammer on and then just moving it through the scale. I'll use that same figure, that rhythmic figure a lot, just in pentatonic. If I wanted to take a D minor pentatonic ascending and then descending. Of course that was on the B and G string. You can find little rhythmic groupings like that and try moving it through the scale to give you new melodic and rhythmic ideas. Okay, so there's A Night to Remember. Take some of these ideas. Hopefully incorporating ideas from all the sections in the series and try plugging some of those in. Don't overwhelm yourself with too much information. The best thing is just take one or two ideas at a time and really develop it. It's like learning a language. If you learn a new phrase in whatever language it's great to be able to try to use it by speaking that language. Use it in a sentence. It's the same with melodic ideas. You can't learn the whole language in one sitting. You need to find phrases that resonate with you and that you enjoy and then really develop those and then add it to what you already know. Before long, these start becoming a natural part of your dialogue, they become a natural part of your phrases. Now you can keep building on to that, and that's the inspiring thing. You never get to the end of that road. It just keeps going and keeps getting broader and more beautiful. I hope you're inspired like I am and have fun.