The 13th Fret

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(To Kick Your Ass)

Hello HMS-ers! This month’s instalment of The 13th Fret is actually a continuation of our Half/Whole Diminished concept discussed last month. I figured that having another concrete example of a fairly obscure scale such as the H/W would help to understand its sound and possible applications.

This month, we’ll turn to the theme song that I recorded a few years back for the website, “Metal Motivation”; an excellent resource that takes principals for life achievement, and uses metal music to “light the wick”. Having watched several of their videos and being impressed with their work, I contacted head MM-er, C.J. Ortiz and offered to pen a theme song of their own.

He accepted and I got to work.

The brief track (0:47 total) has been featured in many of their videos, and is intended to represent the rawness and impact that the MM message and videos have. I’m using a 7-string guitar in standard tuning (B,E,A,D,G,B,E) and chose the key of C# minor as the canvas for the madness. Although not intentional, the piece manages to utilize the C# half/whole diminished scale (C#,D,E,E#,G,G#,A#,B) almost entirely! The main riff was largely inspired by Morbid Angel and their tendency to craft twisting, churning rhythms that are both memorable and interesting. The riff is played using alternate picking exclusively (down/up), until the four chord conclusion where I resort to down strokes.

Click here to download the sheet music for Kelly's Metal Motivation theme song!

"This lick actually excludes a few notes from the scale, which provides a wider, more intervallic sound."

The solo is a study in the “symmetrical” nature that is inherent in the H/W diminished scale. You’ll notice that the fingering in bar 5 is a half-step/step and a half structure that moves diagonally across strings 2 to 1 (B to E), until the position shift enters in the second half or bar 6. This lick actually excludes a few notes from the scale, which provides a wider, more intervallic sound. Once again, bars 5-6 are played with strict alternate picking.

The final run is a series of string-skipped diminished 7th arpeggios that combine alternate picking with legato (hammer on/pull off), to help vary the amount of “attack” in the line. Although the arpeggios move around to different fretboard positions frequently, I really only view them as TWO different arpeggios: C#dim7 (C#,E,G,A#) and Ddim7 (D,F,G#,B). Interestingly enough, the sum total of ALL of those notes comprises the entire H/W scale!

To wrap it up, I use a tapped bend from the 24th fret on the B sting. Keep in mind the power of the bend should come from the left hand; the tapping finger (I use my middle finger of the right hand) should simply go along for the ride.

I hope you found this to be a helpful reference to the H/W diminished scale, as well as a source for licks/riffs/ideas. As always, hit me up on Facebook if you have any questions, or would like the Guitar Pro 6 file of the lesson. Also, check out C.J.’s site and page for more on Metal Motivation. See you next month! \m/

As always, feel free to direct any questions or comments to Kelly's Facebook page.

Kelly Kereliuk, HMS

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