Prog Rock

Prog Rock

This style is, in some respects, closer to orchestral classical music than to popular song form. The compositions typically are very long, feature many different sections with odd meters, and a wide range of instrumentation; you may hear a sweet nylon string guitar section, followed by a brutal distorted riff.

A few important names: Yes, Genesis, Rush and Dream Theater.


Ex 1: The first lick shows a riff in the style of Rush’s Alex Lifeson in 7/8. When working with odd meters, try to avoid the mathematic approach and make the riffs musical! This lick shows a rhythm pattern that can be used with two chords. Note the use of open strings. This lick will work as backing track.

Ex 2: This lick in the style of Steve Howe and Alex Lifeson. This time it’s an arpeggio which is one of their trademarks. Note again the use of open strings and how the pattern fits in the rhythm.

Ex 3: This is a very simple line typical of a band like Yes, or even Pink Floyd. This lick is based around the B minor pentatonic with an added 9th (C#). Again the rule is to find something simple that fits in the rhythm perfectly.

Ex 4: This is a lick that shows another trademark of the genre: playing harmonized lines with the keyboard player. This line is mixture of Yes’s and Tool’s styles and shows more freedom on the rhythm. Again, note the use of open strings.

Ex 5: This lick is a bit harder than the previous ones, but it’s not as hard as it looks! It’s in the style of contemporary bands and players such as John Petrucci and Dream Theater. It’s built using power chords in the upper register and played using hybrid picking and needs a bit more attention than usual but once you get it on board, it’s great! It sounds like a whammy pedal!


GT132 – 50 Licks To Go
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