[Fredrik’s Paul Reed Smith Signature Model guitar is in Standard Tuning: E A D G B E]
String-Skipping / Tapping Lick
This lick utilizes both string-skipping and tapping techniques. Fredrik creates some interesting harmonic movement by outlining an Emin7 arpeggio, followed by a combination of Eaug(maj7) and Emaj7 arpeggios. He warns that “the tricky part is to mute the strings… it’s all about muting with this hand and that hand whenever you need to.” Pay special attention to ensure that all notes are cleanly separated and are not bleeding into one another when crossing strings.
“When I tap, I tap with my piss-off [middle] finger, because then I can still have the pick in my [hand]. So I have that ready if I need it. And that’s basically it… this type of widdly-woo lick.”
Heir Apparent Solo (2:56)
In this example, Fredrik demonstrates the solo from ‘Heir Apparent,’ perhaps the darkest and heaviest track off Opeth’s 2008 album Watershed. “It’s a mixture between harmonic minor and a bit of diminished scales in this solo.” Practice the final string-skipping diminished arpeggio lick slowly, making sure to build up sufficient left-hand strength to execute the patterns smoothly. The key to getting the right flow in this section is perform each note with consistent attack and volume.
Hungarian Minor Lick
This lick based around Hungarian Minor scale patterns played in octaves. Hungarian Minor is the same scale as Harmonic Minor, but with a raised fourth degree. The resulting formula is 1, 2, b3, +4, 5, b6, 7, so in the key of E Hungarian Minor it translates to E, F#, G, A#, B, C, D#. Check out Fredrik’s tastefully placed bends in this lick, which add to the exotic nature of the scale.
Nepenthe Solo (3:33)
“On the new album [Heritage], there’s a track called ‘Nepenthe,’ which is kind of a jazzy track, but it has a pretty freaked out solo, which I’m trying to play like a fusion guy or something.” Pretty freaked out indeed, this solo features some interesting phrasing and harmonic elements. Fredrik weaves in and out of minor pentatonic and whole tone scale fragments, bridging them with some chromatic passing tones to add that jazzy flavor.
[Special thanks to Chris Robinson for his excellent camera work, Kim Kangwan and Paul Schneider for their top-notch transcriptions, Peter Boyle for his precision editing, and Cigar Masters of Worcester, MA for their warm hospitality.]