About "Suspension"

Hello to all of you again. In this new column I want to show my method of writing music, my idea of improvisation-shred-melody and my favorite techniques that I used on my instrumental album "Suspension".

First of all, in my opinion, every guitar solo has melody, the difference is whether you hear it immediately, or only after multiple listenings. For example, if you listen to a slow guitar solo with great vibrato, you usually say that it has melody. You may enjoy it or not, but you surely think it has melody. On the other hand, if you listen to a fast guitar solo you need to listen to it again to determine if it has melody -- well what is the melody for us? In my opinion, even the fastest solo has melody -- you just feel it.

I usually divide shred solos into two groups to study them. The first group is made up of shred solos written before played. They tend to have a static sense; they are always the same in the same situations. I like a lot of them but they have a sense of already being heard. The second group is based on shred improvised solos -- they are the most impressive and interesting, and they are above all, melodic guitar solos.

On my CD there aren't too many parts written and pre-determined to play in only one way. All the solos are improvised at the same moment I recorded them because the improvisation is melody. When I run or slow down, with my guitar, I play this way because I feel a particular emotion during these passages so I put my emotions in these fast notes and they are played with emotion. So why isn't it called melody? Every time I play my songs I play them with a different state of mind so it is normal that I play them in a different way, for this reason I think that improvisation is very important. As I said, I didn't have a lot of parts already written except some double stereo arpeggio runs, but most of the notes recorded are improvised. The bending and improvised scales have something special and different compared to the other phrases and you know them immediately. All notes sound more real -- it is hard to explain with words but it is so. The improvisation and melody are really connected, and if you put them together the result is such a beautiful effect.

One of my favorite techniques is using arpeggios. On my site there are a lot of exercises based on these figures. To start to create improvisation with arpeggios you need to know all the positions that they can be played on your guitar (see my column "Arpeggio Combinations, Part 1" and "Arpeggio Combinations, Part 2"). Once you have focused them in your mind and in your hands you can combine them with scales, string skipping and playing as your emotions dictate at the moment. If you want, you can sweep on low strings and bend on high, or slide two notes and add one with tapping -- the combinations are endless! The most important thing, in my opinion, is to know where all the notes are on the frets so when you play you give in to your emotions without thinking about which note is right or not. If you do so, you'll play as you are, in a different way, with peace, and your state of mind will rule on your guitar. There will be melody with your shred guitar playing.

Sometimes if you listen to the melody in a shred solo trying to find a sequence of notes that you can fix in your mind it is hard or impossible. The shred melody is the entire guitar solo -- don't try to analyze each second of it but try to understand it as a whole, and close your eyes and let the notes go by. You'll hear a guitar solo that will speak to you and you will just understand it. At the beginning it is hard if it is new to you, but when you enter into the same state of mind as the player you can hear and understand more things than those told by words. For this reason, try to give in to your emotions and play as you feel, thinking about nothing, but only as a puppet, where your mind tells the rules of this game -- melody.

The title of my CD represents this idea, something suspended is something not defined that can change in every moment; it reminds me of the movement of the sea that is so beautiful and varys as it wants.

All I have said in this column is just my opinion, so it is expected that a lot of you are against my ideas. Anyway, I'll continue this way and I'll keep on enjoying my playing! Have fun!

Here is an example of the beginning of my song "Secrets", it is played with a tapping technique, and it is, in my opinion, very melodic. There isn't a specific tempo to play it, it is played with emotion, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, with accents, with crescendo, or calando. In this case, the solo is written but the melody is represented by the way it is played. The notes are sweet and it needs to be played as a fluent flood of music. It isn't contrary to the words I've written above, it is another kind of melody shown only by the player. I hope you'll enjoy it!

|T  T  T  T  T  T  T  T    T  T  T  T  T  T  T  T  T  T    T   T
|L  L  R  R  L  L  R  R    L  L  R  R  L  L  R  R  L  L    R   R

L=Left Hand
R=Right Hand

Francesco Fareri is an Italian guitarist who was profiled on the December, 1999 Undiscovered Artists page on the Guitar Nine site.

His latest instrumental CD is entitled "Secrets Within".

Francesco Fareri