Watch the Purple: 9 online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Guitar Cubed
Guitar 3 throws down a sonic challenge with its gain-controlled tone. More often than not when it comes to playing a “lead” part we guitarists are quick to step on whatever gain enhancement option we have at our disposal for added sustain. And why not, the added crunch makes our world go round in terms of fluidity, power and raw energy. But, is raucous ruckus all we’re good for? I say no! Purple’s Guitar 3 whips out some sweet sounding ideas that have much-o stones all without the squaring of any waveforms. The main ingredient here is smart diadic playing as you’ll soon see.
Hopefully by now Guitar Cubed has put motivic development on your radar big time, but just in case that point hasn’t fully set, Guitar 3 is a motivic 800 pound gorilla. The crux of the solo is stated right from the beginning in bar 1 on the upbeat of 1 with a lone Bb on the 2nd string that’s treated with syncopated 16ths and a loose pick hand attack. This idea is played--in some way, shape or form--in the first bar of the first five consecutive two bar sequences. One reason why this works and one that is a key approach to playing over unorthodox changes is the Bb is a strong common chord tone to Cm (b7th) and Ebm (5th). The lone exception is in bar 7 where the 11th fret Bb is foregone for a walk up in what feels like C minor blues that is played with the same rhythm motive.
With our attention focused at this part of Guitar 3 look over at bar 8 and you’ll notice a D natural played over an Ebdim9. To some that may raise an eyebrow as the 7th in a fully diminished 7th chord is flatted twice. But, in a diminished scale there’s actually a major 7th degree! Check it out: 1 2 b3 4 b5 #5 6 7. If that doesn’t disturb your theoretical background the whole step bend to G natural over a Ebdim should. “Blasphemy!” you say? Before you throw down scripture such as one of Adam Kadmon’s Grimoire books to back your claim this is melodic heresy just listen back to the performance. Does it sound bad? Does it offend? Is it a train wreck? Not to my ears and that’s what matters. Before you ring Mr Pilate, listen to how it sounds in the overall mix of things. It’s just a great lick. I’m not saying throw all your rules to the wind, but rules are meant to be broken, right? A great professor of mine back in my WPC days once said to me, “Buono, theory is hindsight; let your ears be the final judge.” Words to live by, thanks Prof. Aiken.
Back to the motivic development element, the concept continues to be present in the second half of Guitar 3. In bar 9 the syncopated Bb is beefed up into a perfect 4th diad with a higher Eb added on the high E string to break things up and at the same time starts to take the solo to the next level. From there things go somewhere completely different with regards to bars 1-8. For the remainder of Guitar 3, bars 10-16 role out some real nice diadic lick ideas that are rife with clever slides of all kinds as well as involved diadic motion (check out the walk up of fourths in bar 12, for example).
The overall approach to playing over the EbmMaj7 and Ebdim sounds is to actually stay horizontal and stick with a Cm vision. The trick is to play a C minor blues hybrid pentatonic that’s contains the following degrees: 1 b3 4 b5 b7. This stationary permutation of C minor pentatonic is just simply flatting the 5th (Gb) to link up with the b3rd of Ebm.
If you remember back in Stiff Upper Lip the final bar of Guitar 3 reiterated a theme that was developed in the bars 1 and 5. Here in Purple this idea is once more employed, but this time it’s the controversial lick played in bar 8 that’s reiterated in bar 16 in the form of octaves (and, yes, this time the G natural was set aside for the musically “correct” Gb).