If you always loved the sound of Thin Lizzy, or the epic guitar duels of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Metallica, you'll certainly want to learn more about guitar lines harmonization.
In this article, I'll show you a simple method that will allow creating twin guitars solos easily. Keep in mind that can different types of harmonization exist, in this article we're going to learn harmonization in thirds.
Harmonization In Thirds
The process of guitar harmonization in simple:
- The first guitar plays a melody using a scale, major or minor.
- The second guitar plays the same melody using a scale one third above the first scale.
- It's important to use only the notes in the first scale, so the thirds will be major or minor.
- What we are doing here is basically harmonizing the scale by stacking thirds intervals
How To Apply This Method To The Guitar
We're going to harmonize a minor scale, instead of a major one, because the minor sound is typical of bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.
Applying this method is straightforward: one guitar will play the melody using the A minor scale shape; the second guitar will play the same melody, with the same notes order, but using the C major scale
In the video above I show you the sound created by the two scale played ad the same time.
A Minor Scale - The first guitar plays on this pattern
C Major Scale - The second guitar plays on this pattern
Let's analyze a bit the intervals created by this kind of harmonization:
First guitar: A minor scale
- 1) A
- 2) B
- 3) C
- 4) D
- 5) E
- 6) F
- 7) G
- 8) A
Second guitar: C major scale. Why C? Because C is a minor third above A, and it's a note of the A minor scale. C# (a major third above A) does not belong to the A minor scale so we can't use it.
- 1) C
- 2) D
- 3) E
- 4) F
- 5) G
- 6) A
- 7) B
- 8) C
Major and Minor Thirds
- 1) Between A and C there are 3 half-steps, so it's a Minor Third
- 2) Between B and D there are 3 half-steps, so it's a Minor Third
- 3) Between C and E there are 4 half-steps, so it's a Major Third
- 4) Between D and F there are 3 half-steps, so it's a Minor Third
- 5) Between E and G there are 3 half-steps, so it's a Minor Third
- 6) Between F and A there are 4 half-steps, so it's a Major Third
- 7) Between G and B there are 3 half-steps, so it's a Minor Third
Other Types Of Harmonization
We have just scratched the surface of the fascinating world of harmony. We could also harmonize solos with Sixth intervals, or with Parallel Fourths ( have you ever heard of Frank Zappa?), or other kind of intervals. The process is the same: choose a scale, harmonize it by stacking thirds or other interval qualities, and listen to the sound you've just created.
Notable Examples of Lead Guitar Twin Solos
I'll conclude this article by leaving some popular songs that elevated the twin guitars concept at its best:
- The Eagles, "Hotel California" (the solos at the end is an awesome example of twin guitars)
- Iron Maiden - Aces High (in the live version of Life After Death the guitar tracks are clearly isolated to the left and to the right channels)
- Cacophony - Concerto (with the one and unique Jason Becker)
- Helloween Future World (wizardry starts at 2:45)
- Racer X - "Scarified"
- Thin Lizzy - "The Boys Are Back In Town"
- Slayer - "South of Heaven" (a great example of harmonization with dissonant intervals)
That's all! As always, experiment with this new material, create your own lines, record yourself on one track and play an harmonized line over. And don't forget to request your free access the the download area to get chords and scales pdfs.