This selection is from Polish violinist/composer Henryk Wieniawski’s first Violin Concerto (F sharp minor, Op. 14). The opening measures of the third movement, presented in this lesson, contain some nice-sounding, lively licks with some styles almost never found in modern shred guitar. It’s great for learning something a little different…
The opening melody of this lick sounds really nice. It’s in the key of F# minor, so notice the D# and the E# in the opening measures – there’s the melodic minor scale in action!
Listen to the mp3 file and notice the “dotted rhythm” (named after the dots that you can see after the note heads in the example above) in the opening melody. In modern guitar music, you hear this pattern every now and then in rhythm guitar (Metallica is one example, though it’s more common to hear the 8th-16th-16th pattern), but virtually never in melody, leads, or solos.
This dotted rhythm in this piece is surprisingly difficult to pull off on the guitar because you need a certain “light touch”. To play it cleanly and lightly will take quite a bit of perseverance especially if you’ve never played a lick like this before. Don’t give up!
An especially difficult part is playing the grace notes (see the quick “4-5-4” in tab above) cleanly and lightly. The fingering suggestion here indicates you play the preceding F# note on the B-string (7th fret). This itself can be challenging, but is easier and produces a lighter sound than fingering the F# on the 2nd fret of the E string and playing the grace notes with your 3rd and 4th fingers. If the grace notes were not present, we’d certainly finger this lick a little different, opting to play the F# on the E string.
Suggestion: Before tackling the “4-5-4” grace notes, leave them out, only playing the G# (4th fret, E-string), and play the preceding F# on the 2nd fret of the E-string (right). Doing this, you can work it up to speed with the appropriate lightness and develop a good feel for the lick. At that point, add in the grace notes with the fingering indicated in the standard tab.
The second lick takes advantage of “string skipping”, a technique that Paul Gilbert made popular for more efficiently play arpeggios. However, this lick will likely feel much more awkward than some of the classic string skipping arpeggios. At first, the
Fortunately, the lick isn’t required to be played very fast. Still, this string skipping exercise is great for left-handed acrobatics. Playing this lick in double-time, for instance, will require a lot of practice.
The lick is meant to be played legato, so sharp alternate-picking with a lot of attack is not required. However, I personally find that it’s easier to play by picking all of the notes lightly and still keep a legato feel to it instead of mixing in hammer-ons and pull-offs.
Have at it. Keep shredding!