How To Play Awesome Guitar Licks Using The Power Of The Tritone (No Theory Needed)


By Tom Hess


Looking for new ways to make your guitar licks sound more interesting?


You're in for a treat.


You're going to learn a powerful way to create new guitar licks using:


The diminished 5th/augmented 4th. This is also known as the tritone.


Find this note by moving up a #4/down a b5 from any note.


This note is an incredibly powerful tool for making your licks sound intense and menacing.


You're going to learn how to use this right now (don't worry: little to no music theory knowledge is needed here).


How are you going to learn it?


Watch this video:


So, do there exits other methods for using this powerful note to play killer licks?


Of course!


Find more ways to do it by reading these ideas:


Tritone Guitar Lick Idea #1. Bend Up From The Tritone To The Next Highest Note.


I originally heard this used by famous guitar player Marty Friedman. I call it this technique “Marty Bends.”


So now you are going to learn it too.


The general concept is that you bend from a note outside of the scale to play a pitch within the scale.


This video showcases how cool this sounds:


Use this concept to bend from the tritone up to the 5th in the scale. This quickly generates drama and tension, then resolves it to a note in the scale.


(Note: This concept isn't limited to the tritone either. Use it with any note outside of the scale.)


Question: “Tom Hess, what if I am having trouble keeping my bends in tune?”


Answer: No problem. First, give yourself a reference by simply playing the note you will bend to (like normal).


Next, bend the string up to match the pitch you just played. Then compare the two and keep doing this until they are identical. Over time, you’ll be able to do this faster and faster.


Bonus tip: Bending the string slowly builds tons of drama. Like this:

Hear It



Tritone Guitar Lick Idea #2. Combine The b5/#4 With Interesting Scales & Modes


There are tons of ways to use the tritone with exotic modes and scales.


One of the coolest scales that takes advantage of this note is Lydian.


Hear It



The tritone in the Lydian is an awesome note to focus on in order to create tons of drama and tension in your playing.


Use what you learned from the video at the start of the page to squeeze tons of drama out of this note.


And you know what? There are even more ways to play killer licks using Lydian:



Tritone Guitar Lick Idea #3. Combine Double Stops With The Tritone To Make Them Scream


Not sure what double stops are?


Double stops is simply the idea of playing two notes on the fretboard simultaneously (commonly heard in blues and rock).


Good news is, you can sue double stops with tritones to makes your licks scream regardless of your preferred genre.


Here is an example:



Hear It


Tip: double stops and vibrato are an incredible pairing when it comes to play intense licks. If you struggle to make your vibrato sound good, check out this vibrato mastery video (by one of my top guitar students).


Here is another idea to consider while we are discussing double stops:


Learn how to play double stops with tons of aggression and intensity:


Want to learn more ways to play badass guitar licks and solos?


I've got you covered!


Download this free guitar soloing eGuide and discover the how to easily add more passion to any guitar lick.



Author's Bio: 

About The Author:

Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and composer. He teaches guitar players from all over the world in his online guitar lessons. Learn more on the Tom Hess Wikipedia page.