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Excerpts From Midnight Drive

For this column I am going to share some examples from my debut Shrapnel CD, Midnight Drive. I feel these examples do a nice job of capturing the more definitive aspects of my playing style. During the writing of this CD, I was working quite hard on integrating modern techniques into my playing style. To play these examples, it is important to be able to alternate pick fluently, tap with your right hand, sweep pick arpeggios and execute legato lines.

Example 1 – Lee’s Theme (intro and verse)
This intro to this song is built from arpeggios and is influenced by John Coltrane chord changes. The intro to this song was my attempt to translate some of the saxophone lines I had in my head at the time to the guitar. What I like about many jazz lines is the step like motion of the lines as opposed to smooth up and down movements. For the verse, I use lots of two-hand tapping to outline the chord progression which is based on a jazzy blues progression.

Example 2 – Dominant Figure (intro and verse)
This song as the title suggests is based on dominant chords. A dominant chord is defined by the major third and the flat seven. The chord formula for a dominant seventh chord is: 1, 3, 5, b7. You will also notice that I use the second minor chord quite a bit which is related to the dominant seventh chord in the key. To create some interest, I utilize abrupt key changes and counterpoint in verses and chorus.

Example 3 – Nine to Five (intro)
The syncopated intro to this song utilizes sweeping arpeggios combined with two-hand tapping. The voice leading used in the rhythm part is closely spaced descending lines. To add contrast, I layer a smooth arpeggio line over the rather choppy rhythm intro.

About Stephen Ross:
Stephen Ross is a professional guitarist/author who released is debut CD, "Midnight Drive" on Shrapnel Records in the early nineties. He is also the other of the book "Arpeggios for the Modern Guitarist" published by Hal Leonard and leader and chief songwriter of the Rogosonic project. Stephen has finished writing and recording his second instrumental release. No release date available yet.

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