Dissecting Oli Herbert's "Become The Catalyst" - Guitar Lesson

Oli Herbert of “All That Remains”
Using the Hungarian minor Scale

By John McCarthy

Oli Herbert is one of today’s premier new Metal guitarists. The lead guitarist and primary song writer for the melodic metalcore band “All That Remains,” Oli has shown a diverse array of rhythm and lead compositions that really makes him stand out.

I had the pleasure of spending time with Oli creating two instructional programs that outline his style; I got a real good look at the musical mechanics (blueprints) that run through his metal veins.

As a rhythm player, Oli uses many harmonic inversions, harmonized power chords and advanced chords such as 9ths and 13ths, often playing them with muted chugging, triplets and the reverse gallop. His rhythmic variations give his music a real bouncy feel, and keep you moving along with the songs.

Today I want to focus on Oli’s lead guitar talents. Out of all the guitarists I’ve worked with, I think Oli uses the widest variety of scales within his leads. His choices for exotic scales such as Hungarian minor give his leads a flair and distinction that make him stand out in the pit.

Let’s look at Oli’s lead from the song “Become the Catalyst” from his CD “The Fall of Ideals.” In this lead he rips through some amazing phrasings using the “E” Hungarian minor scale and chromatic passing tones. The Hungarian minor scale is similar to the Harmonic minor scale only we sharp the 4th degree. Those of you that have dabbled in Blues know the sharp 4th is the Blues tri-tone note, kinda cool…a little Blues flavor in a Metal lead. The “E” Hungarian minor scale consists of E – F# - G – A# - B – C – D# - E see the scale diagrams in figure 1 to hear the sound of this scale. So here is an easy way to understand how these scales are made: start with the Natural minor scale, sharp the 7th which makes the scale a Harmonic minor, then sharp the 4th and you have the Hungarian minor scale.

Play through the lead in figure 2 and pay close attention to the timing and triplet phrasings.….Happy shredding guys!

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