Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci has been known for his long, melodic and extremely virtuosic solos for more than two and a half decades now. One of his finest moments came on Dream Theater's 2009 album Black Clouds & Silver Linings with his outro solo to "The Best of Times".
In this The Best of Times guitar lesson I am gonna to show you how to play this epic and beautifully melodic solo note-for-note.
For those of you unfamiliar with this track and this outro solo, go ahead and find it on YouTube or something and fast forward to about the 10 minute mark. That is when this incredible guitar solo begins and it lasts well over 3 minutes until the song fades out.
This solo has a bit of everything in it. Beautiful melodic lines that work perfectly over the haunting chord progression, blisteringly fast alternate picking and sweep picking sections, and many large bends that can seriously send your calluses running home to mama! 🙂
In order to properly tackle this entire solo, I have decided to break it up into 3 video lessons. That is pretty much what is required to teach something that is so expansive in both time and technique.
I will start each video lesson performing the part of the solo that I will be teaching in that particular video lesson. After that I will then break each phrase down for you note-for-note.
A good part of the solo is dedicated to slow and highly emotional guitar melodies. Don't automatically think that these sections are gonna be easy just because the aren't being played at a 1000 notes per second.
To really make those notes sing you need to make sure that not only are all the bends in tune, but you will also what to add a liberal amount of vibrato to those notes. Try to focus on a smooth and even vibrato and not some erratic thing that doesn't sound very musical.
For the really advanced licks in this solo, you will find that each one of them can make an excellent technique exercise. If there is one thing about John Petrucci's solo playing it is that not only is he very precise, but his licks are usually very pattern oriented and can be easily broken down into a nice technique exercise. He isn't one of those players who just lets it fly with a random sequence of notes that is hard to recreate. Instead, his playing is usually very focused with definitive patterns to follow during the fast sections.
As with anything this advanced, I usually go through the notes in the lesson a little bit quicker than usual. That is because not only do we have a lot of notes to get through, but in addition, if your ability level on the guitar is to the level that you can even consider learning such a monster guitar solo, you probably just need to see me play each phrase slowly instead of getting overly detailed about each note. I will call out each note, but it will go by faster than usual.
Pay close attention during all of these lessons to when I point out a specific pattern that John Petrucci is playing and then sequencing across the fretboard. That pattern goes a long way in helping understand how he is creating those extended fast licks.
So good luck with this one, it truly is an epic solo!
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