Contact   |   Staff  |   Contribute  |   Advertise  |   Site Map  |   Legal

Scar Symmetry: Per Nilsson Masterclass (Part 1)

November 20th, 2010




Ghost Prototype Part 1 Solo Lick

‘What I’m doing here is diminished arpeggios, just using the same shape.’ As Per explains, this lick opens with a series of three diminished arpeggios, and resolves the disorienting harmony with a descending sweep that suggests C# major. Pay attention to the slides that Per uses during and after the sweep, as they help him maintain the fluid sound of the lick, along with highlighting in separate octaves a pleasing perfect 4th to major 3rd resolution against the implied C# major.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Scar Symmetry - Ghost Prototype Solo Lick

Ascension Chamber Intro Solo

The bulk of this solo combines hybrid picking with groups of unpicked hammer-ons and pull-offs. To perform this at any tempo and make the notes actually sound will take a great deal of left-hand finger strength, which can be developed by isolating the first pattern from bar 3 and repeating it slowly, and then doing the same with the next two patterns.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Scar Symmetry - Ascension Chamber Intro Solo

Slaves To The Subliminal Verse Riffs

Per’s 7-string Ibanez is in standard tuning for this song [B E A D G B E]. Pay attention to the abrupt transitions between palm-muted chugging and sliding during the riffs.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Scar Symmetry - Slaves To The Subliminal Verse Riffs

Slaves To The Subliminal Pre-Chorus

Make sure to let your strings ring out during the Pre-Chorus chords to make this section better stand out against the heavy portions before it, and prepare for the one unusual power chord voicing towards the end.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Scar Symmetry - Slaves To The Subliminal Pre-Chorus

Slaves To The Subliminal Chorus

This is the simplest part of the Masterclass, but there is still more going on than first appears. Prepare your left hand positioning carefully and manage it during the subtle chord shifts, so that every note rings out through the full Chorus.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Scar Symmetry - Slaves To The Subliminal Chorus

The Illusionist Riffs

‘It starts on the 8th note before the bar-line. It’s kind of tricky, because you feel like the bar starts when the riff does, but it doesn’t.’ As you practice the intensely syncopated first riff, listen carefully and be sure to let notes like the first one ring and cut off most of the others as marked in order to keep things tight. Like ‘Slaves To The Subliminal,’ this song is played on a 7-string in standard tuning.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Scar Symmetry - The Illusionist Riffs

The Illusionist Solo

‘Basically the solo is in C# Phrygian Dominant.’ Per spends a lot of time sliding around in this solo, so practice those slides individually so that you can incorporate them accurately with the rest of the solo. The flurry of notes in the second-to-last bar is another place to spend some quality shed time.

Per executes that series of arpeggios by hammering-on and pulling-off without a pick, leaving his right hand free to tap the descending highest note on the E string. One more thing – just like the riff beneath it, this solo is extremely tight and syncopated, and starts on the 8th note before the beginning of the bar, so bear that in mind as you try to line yourself up with a metronome the original track.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Scar Symmetry - The Illusionist Solo

[Special thanks to: Chris Robinson for his excellent intro and camera work, and Cigar Masters of Worcester, MA for their warm hospitality.]