Tuning: E A D G B E (Standard)
“Bark at the Moon“… Pretty win but also overlooked solo. I always loved Zakk and Randy… And poor Jake E. Lee is so easy to overlook. Jake‘s like that guy who replaced the Yellow Wiggle. He was actually great but deep down we all had our reservations. This solo itself isn’t too hard. There’s some lengthy diatonic runs and some bluesy licks but nothing horrendously difficult. As usual we’ll break the solo down into problematic sections and I’ll leave a link to the tab and YouTube lesson at the bottom of the article.
The first section takes place around a D minor pentatonic with a few diatonic Aeolian notes. (See excerpt below)
This phrase isn’t too hard to play but it is really expressive. There’s bends, slides, vibratos and pulloffs. It’s definitely worth trying to put all these techniques into your own playing to make your pentatonic phrasing more expressive and sexy.
This section has a few pulloffs and works into a D minor arpeggio. Let’s take a look at the lick.
The thing I like about the way Jake plays this is he uses several techniques within a phrase instead of making it a lengthy arpeggio or sweepy passage. I’m constantly telling my students to be tasteful and sparing with flashy techniques. Try implementing a bit of legato and bends around your arpeggios in an homage to Jake E. Lee‘s pursuit of tasteful win.
This section begins with a really nice octave chord phrase. This is not a difficult concept at all, however it’s an awesome way to convey a melody and often make something very hooky and memorable. Let’s take a look at the lick.
As this comes before a rather redonkulous amount of shred runs in sections 5 and 6, it provides a really good contrast in slow melody before lighting note shred. There’s not a hug amount of chords/strums per bar and a cheeky slide in there for flavour. I would urge all of you to attempt to put octave chords into solos you are writing or improvising as it will force you to be slower, more tasteful and more selective with your note choice.
The fifth section of this solo deals with some pretty mammoth runs. I think it’s best to get you head around the basic scale first and add the cool shred pattern to it. First I want to get acquainted with an A Phrygian shape across all 6 strings. (See scale shape below)
Now that we’re comfortable with the shape we can address the lick from the actual solo itself.
As you can see we’ve got 6 groups of 4 semiquavers (or sixteenth notes) spread across this 2 bar phrase. This lick nearly destroyed me until I broke it down into 4 note groups and just built up the speed slowly. I would strongly recommend using a metronome, audacity or any slowing down software you may have to build the speed needed to play this hilarious lick and pattern at album speed.
The last section is relatively predictable 2 string shred patterns just working through various diatonic shapes across the 1st and 2nd strings. Let’s take a look at the lick. (See excerpt below)
You’ll notice the entire lick is made up of semiquaver triplets. I practiced this in groups of 6 (2 triplets at a time) and then tried to join the groups together as I built speed and grew more familiar with the sequence. Obviously the speed is what makes this lick challenging, but if you do (or have done) your scale and shred practice homework you should be able to conquer this phrase like a boss.
I hope this has been helpful and enjoyable. Happy shredding peeps!
By Chris Zoupa