Mr. Cowley Solo (Bar 1)

Hey guys just a question for the first few bars of the solo for Mr. Crowley.

(g)------b12 (14)---------------------------------

This part that repeats a few times. How would any of you approach this with regards to pickslanting? When I play it it doesn’t really feel smooth. Was wondering if anyone had a good solution?? Thanks!

It really depends on what pickslant you’re most comfortable with. Being an upward pickslanter, I would personally have gone with outside picking for the B-e string 10th frets, then economy picked the 13th upwards.

HOWEVER since I’ve kind of transitioned into the “Marshall Harrison” style, which has increased my picking speed by double (but only after also understanding how pickslanting works from Masters in Mechanics) with his “swybrid” picking (combination of hybrid plucking the string with the middle finger and economy picking), maybe you could try the following (although it might feel uncomfortable first):

Maintain downward pickslanting/USX at all times for this specific lick. Downstroke the 12th fret on the 3rd string, downstroke the B string, then use middle finger to pluck the “e” string, then do an upstroke on the 13th fret on the B string (then pull-off), then repeat.

So: Down, down, middle finger pluck, up …(and repeat)

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Yeah this has been a lick that’s haunted me too. I can’t really understand how such a complicated lick could become somewhat of a staple lick among the big blues guitarist of the old days. I’ve always struggled with it as well and can still not play it properly without it feeling wonky.

So I have a few options, if it’s ok to somewhat change the lick. In the video below I show all three versions in order.

Version 1. This is my go to where I get rid of the second note and go for aggression of the other notes instead. So I’m using USX through out all these licks. What’s important in this version is that the bent note is twice as long as the other notes and that the note on the E string is an upstroke. The rest is just alternating.

(g)------b12 (14)---------------------------------

Version 2. Here all the notes of the original lick are played but I use a downward sweep for the first three, and legato for the two last. To be clear, this means that the first note of the B string is a “hammer on from nowhere”. First note is still twice as long as the other. This is a much smoother sounding lick in general.

(g)------b12 (14)---------------------------------

Version 3. This is a version I just came up with so I haven’t burnt this in and it doesn’t feel totally smooth yet. It’s a combination of the two versions above and adds a doubled note on the E string to keep USX motion. So the first three notes are swept like version 2 with the exception that the first note are now just as long as all the other notes to keep the triplet feel going. The last three are alternate picked exactly like version 1.

(g)------b12 (14)---------------------------------

Hope this is of any help.


No pickslanting. For the speed of this lick in the solo, I would crosspick-ish it to get a more aggresive tone (down-down-up-down-pull). However, if I want to go maximum speed, I would pickslant (down-down-down-up-pull).

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I used to think I was the only one who had problems with this lick. It seems to be so common in the repertoirs of all the blues, rock and metal guitarists. Many of them aren’t even known for having particularly good technique. And yet I always struggled with it. I’m kind of glad that other people find this lick difficult as well.

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This is a staple lick in rock guitar. I’ve recently adopted a down, down, up, up aproach to after alternate picking it for years (crosspicking given one note per string section?).

There is a thread here on the forum that showed even Jimi sweeping through it. I’ve seen Phil X footage of him employing some economy motion here as well. I think all approaches are valuable.

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I remember the first time I ever heard this solo decades ago- it was the most amazing thing ever and still is. Of course, back then we had no clue how picking mechanics worked and all we could do is try to brute force everything we learned. Now that we have so much more knowledge available, has anyone tracked down a video of Randy playing this to see what his exact pick strokes were???

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Here is one version exactly as Paul Gilbert plays it (fingering + picking).

I am hitting extremely hard which is one advantage this “cross-picked” version gives you. The sweep version @qwertygitarr does is the way to go if you want a smoother, more flowing sound.



Looks like D-D-D-HammerFromNowhere-Pulloff from the man himself.

Another good solution for those willing to hybrid pick:

Down - Down - Pluck - Down - Up

“Pluck” can be any of the fingers not holding the pick. It works best with a steady upstroke escape approach.

But I also agree that the “hammer from nowhere” seems the key technique for the classic way of playing this lick.

This is the only clear footage I’m aware of Randy playing it (Solo 1 starts at 2:17). Of course the director decided that the first half of the solo should be a close up of the drummer and Ozzy not singing lol, so we don’t get to see Rhoads during the passage in question.

Who knows if there’s archived footage of just the camera on Randy? I doubt we’d ever see it unfortunately.

I suspect he does either DDDU+p or DDDh+p.

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