How to Create “SHAKTI” John Mclaughlin Indian/Western Guitar Lines

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How to Create “SHAKTI” John Mclaughlin Indian/Western Guitar Lines

Please watch above video for detailed analysis:

Hi Guys,

Today we will look at how to develop “Shakti” John McLaughlin-esqe Indian raga lines with alternate picking guitar technique.

To begin with we will take this Scale as our Raga Base: [This starts on a “Down” stroke for alternate picking]:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

This base is a sort of Lydian sound with the tonic note as F and the B natural as the #11

In this first example we will employ arpeggios to create a chord pair effect:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

Here is the full line: Notice how we go from a “Western” concept of chord pairing to a more non diatonic scalic raga answering phrase

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

The next concept exploits repetition: This is common in raga’s and is very good when alternate picking to get the tempo and rhythmic groove into your right hand picking so that the following phrase will be rhythmical!

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

Here is the full Phrase:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

We can now add slurs and slides: “On” the beat:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

“Off” the beat:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

Full line/phrase with “Slide”:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

Another useful concept is to repeat the semitones in the scale and create a phrase/lick:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

PENTATONIC POWER!

The most common thing found in creating “Raga’s” from a western point of view is the employment of pentatonic scales. In this example we will build up a pentatonic line:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

This time we will start on the 6th guitar string: Notice, the 4 note groupings of 16 notes [Tetrachords]

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

INTERVALS:

In the next example we will start a phrase with the interval of a 4th and a bit of repetition. Again, this is useful in order to set the tempo and prepare the fretting hand fingers to get in position to play a fast phrase rhythmically.

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

Here is another example:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

GROUPS OF 5:

Groups of 5 notes create “Odd” patterns when alternate picking. But, 2 groups of 5 will go back to an even pattern, meaning that you will be starting on a down stroke again and back to familiar alternate picking territory.

This exercise works easily because the second group of 5 starts on an upstroke on the first string:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

GROUPS OF SIX [Sextuplets]:

It’s a good idea to barre a chord or an interval group [if possible] when playing 6’s [Sextuplets] as they will be very fast when picking and you will need to be in control of the rhythm. It’s also a good idea to repeat any notes or phrases that are at hand :

Example:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

Classic John mcLaughlin Improvisation Tool:

This next concept uses an arpeggio and 4ths. This crops up in lots of Johns improvisations:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

One last concept is that of quoting another melody, phrase, or famous lick into the Raga. Here we will use the old jazz favourite as a reference:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

Notice how this weaves back into the Raga:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

Finally, in order to create your own raga it’s a good idea to take a form:

In this case we could take a 16 beat cycle and times it by 4 to create a 16 Bar Structure:

how to-createshakti-john-mclaughlin-raga-guitar-lines

Notice the turn around in bar 16: At this point everyone will know where they are in the composition/raga so it can start back to the beginning and repeat itself for improvisation:

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How to Play “Frevo” intro by Guitar Trio John Mclaughlin and Paco De Lucia:

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How to Play “Frevo” intro by Guitar Trio John Mclaughlin and Paco De Lucia-Alternate Picking Lesson

Please watch video for detailed analysis:

“FREVO” Intro PDF

This is a repeated alternate picking pattern starting on a down stroke.

It consists of rhythmic sextuplets. These can be counted as triplets or as Konokol Ta ki ta Ta ki ta.

sextuplets, alternate, picking Frevo, guitar trio, Mclaughlin, De Lucia, De Meola, lesson
How to Play “Frevo” intro by Guitar Trio John Mclaughlin and Paco De Lucia Guitar Lesson

It is essential to accent the first note of each 6 note grouping in order to get “Rhythmical” picking patterns.

accent, sextuplets, alternate, picking Frevo, guitar trio, Mclaughlin, De Lucia, De Meola, lesson
How to Play “Frevo” intro by Guitar Trio John Mclaughlin and Paco De Lucia Guitar Lesson

After crossing the first two strings the pattern is repetitive

repeated, sextuplets, alternate, picking Frevo, guitar trio, Mclaughlin, De Lucia, De Meola, lesson
How to Play “Frevo” intro by Guitar Trio John Mclaughlin and Paco De Lucia Guitar Lesson

Below, is the whole intro starting on a “Down” stroke for strict alternate picking

Frevo, sextuplets, alternate, picking, guitar trio, Mclaughlin, De Lucia, De Meola, lesson
How to Play “Frevo” intro by Guitar Trio John Mclaughlin and Paco De Lucia Guitar Lesson

sextuplets, alternate, picking Frevo, guitar trio, Mclaughlin, De Lucia, De Meola, lesson
Friday Night in San Francisco by Al Di MeolaJohn McLaughlin and Paco de Lucía

Friday Night in San Francisco is a 1981 live album by Al Di MeolaJohn McLaughlin and Paco de Lucía. It was described by jazz author and critic Walter Kolosky as “a musical event that could be compared to the Benny Goodman Band’s performance at Carnegie Hall in 1938 … [it] may be considered the most influential of all live acoustic guitar albums”.[4]

All the tracks except “Guardian Angel” were recorded live at The Warfield Theatre on 5 December 1980, in San Francisco; “Guardian Angel” was recorded at Minot Sound, in White Plains, New York.

Track listing

No.TitlePerformersLength
1.Mediterranean Sundance/Río Ancho” (Al Di MeolaPaco de Lucía)Paco de Lucía (left channel) and Al Di Meola (right channel)11:25
2.“Short Tales of the Black Forest” (Chick Corea)John McLaughlin (left channel) and Al Di Meola (right channel)8:39
No.TitleLength
3.“Frevo Rasgado” (Egberto Gismonti)John McLaughlin (left channel) and Paco de Lucía (right channel)7:54
4.“Fantasia Suite” (Al Di Meola)Paco de Lucía (left channel), John McLaughlin (middle channel) and Al Di Meola (right channel)8:41
5.“Guardian Angel” (John McLaughlin)Paco de Lucía (left channel), John McLaughlin (middle channel) and Al Di Meola (right channel)4:00

Personnel

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