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Caprice No. V


Hey, Hey, Hey. What’s happening? What’s happenin’ Re Run? Rodge? What’s happenin’ D? Mrs. Thomas? Shirley? What’s’ happenin’ G9?

Here is what I consider to be the most technically challenging piece ever written. Yes, my friends, it is the quintessential shred monster Caprice No. V by Nicolo Paganini. After watching Steve Vai in the movie Crossroads playing parts of this piece, then hearing actual violin versions of the piece by Midori and Pearlman, I became very inspired to work this piece out. Yngwie Malmsteen, Jason Becker, Uli Jon Roth and countless others have tried playing this piece on electric guitar but nobody ever did it note for note to the sheet music like the violinists did. So, I decided to buy the sheet music and work out fingerings for the entire piece. You will want to play most of the fingerings the way that I have worked out, though these fingerings are still just suggestions. Part of the difficulty is that you cannot play this piece efficiently without, at the very least, mastering sweep picking and alternate picking. Tapping, string skipping, hybrid picking, economy picking, finger picking and cross picking can also be employed.

Explore the notation and try other fingerings for various sections. I have found that I like to play the intro and the outro somewhat freely, and the arpeggios as fast as possible. Uli Jon Roth suggested that the vibrato should not be the same on all sustained notes, and that is a point worth noting. I do suggest using a majority of (horizontal) violin-like vibrato. Also, the high E note should be bent from the D note on the 22nd fret so that the vibrato will sound different naturally. The super-high A note must be done with horizontal vibrato (or the bar), as you cannot vibrato well any other way after hitting the artificial harmonic on the supposed 29th fret. (See performance notes for details on achieving this note.) Some can attain that high note by fretting against the pickup if the note achieved is an A. If this is possible on your guitar, then obviously you should use the bar for the vibrato the high A note. For the crazy-insane part starting in line 27 of my transcription, use the picking sequence of down, up, up, down, up, up, etc. Al Dimeola mastered this technique, and it is a total bitch.

Now I know you’re saying, “whatchoo talkin’ bout, Mr. Drummond!” Or, something like, “F**k, Kevin, this shit is impossible!” I understand how you feel and you should feel that way, but try not to think that way. I used to say to myself and others “if any other human being was ever able to do it, then I can, too.” (even if that human being may have been possessed by the Devil, or if he had some chemical assistance (steroids).) We are all the same, and if we believe that we can do something, then we can, even if we can’t. Kind of like Charlie (Herman from Herman’s Head) in that movie Fright Night. “You’ve got to be believe for it to work, Charlie.”

Make sure to really listen to yourself. Many guitar players are delusional. They play and hear what they hear in their mind and instead of what they are actually playing. Be honest with yourself, and don’t be lazy. Work on the sections that trouble you. Create exercises and etudes
out of them.

Also, try to understand the beauty in the harmonic structure of this piece – another reason it is such a masterpiece. Even though it is just shredding sixteenth notes for two and a half minutes straight, it is still kick ass the whole way through. It is a great learning aid for mixing modes and arpeggios together as well. Good luck, my friends. This is a piece that will really get your chops together.

Peace out, homies. We are all brothers of the light, bonded fraternally by the art of musick.

To watch a video or hear audio of this piece played by Kevin M Buck, go to www.kevinmbuck.com. Or www.myspace.com/kevinmbuck.

For a free Kevin M Buck CD. What classic sitcom character am I in the first paragraph?

Send replies to
. First five correct responses get the prize!

Kevin M Buck is the guitar wizard from Chicago. Buck has won many awards and has played with Roger Daltry, Uli Jon Roth, and many others. Most argue that Kevin is the only real guitar hero in today’s rock scene. Kevin just released his second album entitled Euphoric Darkness. It is a heavy metal/hard rock album with killer songs and insane guitar playing. For more info on Kevin M Buck, go to www.kevinmbuck.com or www.myspace.com/kevinmbuck .

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