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Watch the Spy Hunter: 9 online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Guitar Cubed

A recurring concept throughout Guitar Cubed, especially in the Guitar 3 parts, will be motivic development. If you walk away with anything from this course, make sure it’s this. My playing almost overnight changed for the [much] better when David Fiuczynski laid it on the table for me in a tiny railroad apartment in the East Village in the early 90’s. Motivic development goes like this: you state an idea (the motive)--be it a lick, riff or just a short snippet--and you build on it. Sounds easy? It is, but there's a lot to it and the results are monumental. As you’ll see here in this first Guitar 3 breakdown, Spy Hunter really brings it home by utilizing motivic development to the fullest in the initial eight bars as well as the concluding set of four. Be sure to listen closely to this part of the breakdown so you can get the most from this life-changing soloing approach. Once you have a mental understanding, your job is to apply this to not only your lick writing, but your improvising, too! That’s where it really shines through.

Purely speaking in guitar terms you’re gonna see a lot of double-stop bends with the first one popping up in bar 5 of Guitar 3 where you bend a whole step from b7th to the root (G to A) and catch the b3rd (C) with your 4th finger. Classic rock n’ roll all the way and a lick idea you gotta have in your bag. In addition to that essential ditty, there’s plenty of 1/4-step inflections (check out bar 7 going into 8, for instance), displaced 16th note groupings (bar 11) and clever 1/2-step bends that blues-a-ly slur the b3rd to a major 3rd (bar 16).

When playing over a jam that features single notes in the backbone parts (such as our Guitar 1 & 2 parts) there’s a chance you may be able to play a little bi-polar-like in your solo (in this case Guitar 3). Spy Hunter does just that where you have two complementing riff ideas based out of Am, BUT there’s nary a 3rd of any kind in either part. This opens up the possibilities for Guitar 3 to go in more directions than just strictly playing from a minor standpoint. That’s exactly what happens in bars 9-11 where the vision shifts into A Mixolydian (A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G). Since there’s no 3rds to contest this approach it works and works well making for a fresh sound that seems like it pops up out of nowhere. Nice!

As you listen to Spy Hunter’s Guitar 3 you may hear some similarities to a legendary solo by an English guy from a band that “would go over like lead zeppelin” according to Keith Moon. There’s nothing like taking influence from a part you know that works and has stood the test of time. So if you’re feeling dry and you need some starting points for your own motivic development activities, it may only be as far away as your iPod.