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Scar Symmetry: Per Nilsson Masterclass (Part 2)

November 20th, 2010




Holographic Universe 1:53

[Per’s 7-string is tuned to Drop-A for this song: A E A D G B E] ‘The lick is a diminished arpeggio played with string-skipping and three notes per string.’ The most challenging part of this section is transitioning between the chugging riffs and the bursts of wide-reaching legato arpeggios that Per mentions. Practice the riffs leading into and out of the arpeggio slowly, and pay close attention to your muting technique to keep the switch clean.

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Scar Symmetry - Holographic Universe

Tapping Arpeggios

‘When I play 7th arpeggios, I do three notes per string, where two notes are played with my left hand and one with my right hand. For example, Amin7 goes like this. You just change the second and fourth notes, which are the 3rd and 7th of the chord, if you want a different kind of arpeggio, like Amaj7. You can also play one shape with your left hand and then change what you tap with your right hand, so you get different textures. For example, for the Amin7 arpeggio I change what I do with my right hand, which makes it Amin7(9,11).’ Per sounds all left-hand notes without picking by using hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Scar Symmetry - Tapping Arpeggios

Prism And Gate Tapping 2:21

‘This part is a one-octave major triad shape that I move around.’ This lick opens Per’s solo in ‘Prism And Gate’ The chord markings are for the arpeggios Per plays over the riff – the riff itself continues to vamp on C#, which gives the D arpeggio a half step above an even more disorienting effect. Again, Per sounds all left-hand notes without picking by using hammer-ons and pull-offs.

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Scar Symmetry - Prism And Gate Tapping

Prism And Gate Arpeggio Variations

‘I use that arpeggio in other songs. You can play it in minor, and because I play the root note with my right hand, I can switch that note out to play the 9th and still have the minor triad in my left hand.’

Scar Symmetry - Prism And Gate Arpeggio Variations

String-Skipping Tapping Minor Pentatonic Scale

‘Usually you play the pentatonic scale with two notes per string, but instead I play it with three notes in my left hand and a fourth with my right hand, and I’m able to skip every other string. You can play some really fast stuff with just that – that’s something I use quite a lot.’ The first measure illustrates the basic tapping pattern, and the rest of tab is of Per using the pattern to execute some blazing licks. As before, Per sounds all left-hand notes without picking by using hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Scar Symmetry - String-Skipping Tapping Minor Pentatonic

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