Most accomplished rock guitar players use a more scalar method. They play lines that travel across the whole neck. For example, Michael Schenker will play a run that flows into this and that, and it’s beautiful, but I don’t do that as much. I always thought it was more interesting to take a left turn here and there. I probably got a lot of that from listening to Jeff Beck. I never take something to its logical conclusion. I break everything up and bounce around a lot, like this [Ex. 1]. Other players might look at that lick and go, ‘Wow, why did he think of going there?’ F*cked up hardwiring, I guess [laughs].
“It probably all started with me wanting to work my way out of the A blues box. Simply stated, I was just trying to play between—or outside of—the dots. Instead of standard
pentatonic licks, I’d be doing stuff like this [Ex. 2]—you know, adding notes, subtracting notes, or even mixing up major and minor and skipping strings [Ex. 3]. I’ll even bend a low string and jump up to the highest string [Ex.4]. It’s interesting finding ways to make this stuff work against whatever rhythm part you have going in the background.