Pedal Points

Welcome back! In this lesson I will be showing you a very cool technique I like to use which is popular in many styles of music, but is typically used in classical music and neoclassical shred. This technique is called pedal points. A pedal point is a sustained or repeated note, usually in the bass, while other parts move up or down.

Pedal points have a very distinct sound and are used in many different ways with single notes and with chords; for this lesson we will be using single notes. Pedal points are also a great way to build up your coordination and technique. I use this technique on my latest, upcoming CD "Electric City," We will cover a small segment in this lesson.

Example 1. This first example is based on the A harmonic minor scale (A, B, C, D, E, F, G#). This pedal point is based on two strings moving down the neck, pedaling each scale tone from the A harmonic minor scale beginning with F on the high E string. Try applying this pattern to different scales.

MP3 - Pedal Points, Example 1

Example 2. Now we will expand this idea a little further and we will use all six strings. In this example we will be using the same scale as the previous example, but we will be pedaling just the C note on the first string and moving right down the scale. This is a great exercise to help develop your string skipping technique.

MP3 - Pedal Points, Example 2

Example 3. This next example is from my song "Napali Coast" from my CD "Electric City". This example is based on the C melodic minor scale (C, D, Eb, F, G, A, B). The cool thing about this line is it does not just go up and down the scale, it is a melodic line that is pedaling the D on the G string above the melody. This creates a neat effect; try creating a melody and then place a pedal tone above it.

MP3 - Pedal Points, Example 3

Example 4. OK, now we will reverse this idea and move up and down the neck pedaling a lower tone. This example moves up and down the A melodic minor scale (A, B, C, D, E, F#, G#), pedaling the A note on the D string. This one can be tricky at high speeds, you might want to follow the fingerings supplied.

MP3 - Pedal Points, Example 4



Ok, that is it for now! I just gave you a few examples to get you started, be sure to make up your own, and be sure to visit for more information.

Mike Campese is an all-around music performer, session artist and teacher competent in many musical styles, electric and acoustic. He has studied at G.I.T. (Honors Graduate), and with Paul Gilbert, Norman Brown, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson and Keith Wyatt.

Mike Campese: The Fire Within