For unit 3 we draw our attention to the lead skills of Tom Misch! We're able to break down his approach by covering a variety of styles and techniques that you need to master. These include vibrato, advanced slides, trills, playing behind a beat, pick dynamics and more! To apply all of this, we take a "dry" lead line and learn to add these elements to really spice it up and create something truly amazing.
In this section, it is our aim to take a very simple and dry melody line, and turn it into a Tom Misch classic! With each lesson we'll be uncovering the techniques and skill set you need, starting with your timing. Now, we don't mean how well you can play on the beat... We mean how well you can play off the beat! So you can see how this is immediately an advanced concept, as all your guitar playing life up to now, you have practised playing to a beat, on a beat and being as "in time" as possible. Now, we want you to deliberately be slightly loose with that timing. Let's take a simple melody line in the guitar tabs section.
Pay close attention to how Dion takes this simple melody line, using the pentatonic scale, and plays it behind the beat, occasionally adding in staccato hits (meaning short and stifled notes that don't ring out like the rest). The only way to learn this is listening and emulating, so have some fun with it!
The next technique we will bring in is the use of slides, especially semitone slides, to add a bit more character and vocal quality to the notes. The key thing here is that the slides occur within the same beat as the note itself. In music and tab format, this is often called a "grace" note, and is pictured as a smaller number, like this:
Once again, the best form of learning here is trial and error. We will be applying this to a cool solo as well, in a few lessons time! Follow Dion in the video, and start trying it for yourself in your own improvisation.
Next up we'll be talking dynamics and pick control. This is probably the most important part of the process, as it can be a clear indicator of a great player. To practice the concept of dynamics in lead, we will take the A minor pentatonic scale and work on our picking hand.
As you go through the scale, try to pick the first note on each string hard, then the second note soft. Repeat all the way through!
This is a great exercise to add to your daily warm-ups, trying to get quicker and quicker at this shift between hard and light picking, and all the greys in between!
We will now take the rhythm track we learnt in unit 1 and add the lead part. In this lesson, we will simply work through the melody, scale shapes and context, before adding the Tom Misch'isms in the next lesson.
The key of the track is C major, although it does start on the ii chord of Dm9. For this reason, we will be using our C major pentatonic and C major diatonic scale to create this solo. We are firmly rooted in Shape 1 and 2 of both, which you can find outlined here. Be sure to get these shapes absolutely memorised if you don't know them already!
Finally, for the last lesson of the unit, we will add everything that makes this solo really tick and sound way more like Tom Misch. Here is a checklist to try and work through when you want to do this process:
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