Barring Licks Pt.1

I'm very pleased to announce Adam Ross as guest columnist at Chops from Hell. For more info on Adam and his terrifying chops visit

In the shred guitar community, barring is typically a concept that is avoided at all costs. It seems to run contrary to most advanced guitar techniques, the goal of which are to sound clean and precise. However, when applied the right way, barring can provide you with some very cool licks, and give your playing an edge!!

For our purposes, barring will mean that either your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th finger will play the same fret on 2 adjacent strings. This may be awkward at first, but with a bit of practice, it will be easy for you to combine your legato playing with barring. Simply slant your finger to play 2 adjacent strings, and resume to your normal legato playing.

Example 1 uses the A minor pentatonic scale, 2 notes per string. Pay close attention to the articulations, as they are the essence of these barring licks.

To give these licks more edge, try using your middle finger to replace the upstrokes in these licks.

fast slow

You can apply this to the familiar "3 notes per string" scales. Example 2 uses the G major scale, 3 notes per string. Notice the pattern of the picking, as well as the hammer-ons and pull-offs. Try combining your legato playing with an occasional barred note.

fast slow

Ahhhh. Now that you have a better handle on these licks, we can crank it up a notch. Example 3 uses the A minor pentatonic scale, 3 notes per string. Forget about the note groupings…just play it as fast as you can. Play this one at your next blues gig, and you'll be sure not to get called back!!

fast slow

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Check back for more insane barring licks that'll make the ladies go wild!! See ya later…

Adam Ross
Adam Ross Website
MP3 page

the following bio material from

Cincinnati, Ohio native Adam Ross started playing guitar at the age of 13, inspired by the music of the day: Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, etc. He quickly took to the instrument, and was soon playing with local bands throughout his hometown. His dedication to music was clearly evident from the start.

At age 14, Adam studied at the University of Cincinnati's Conservatory of Music, where his classes emphasized classical and jazz harmony. About this time, Adam began to perform with various blues and rock bands in the Cincinnati area, frequently sitting in with some of the city's top blues acts.

It was around then that Adam was introduced to the music of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, sparking his interest in instrumental rock music. He began to practice as much as 8 hours a day, listening and transcibing some of instrumental rock's most prominent guitairsts, as well as refining his own craft.

In the summer of 1996, Adam attended the National Guitar Summer Workshop (NGSW), and attended seminars by Vinnie Moore, John Petrucci, and others. While a student at the NGSW, Adam auditioned and was accepted as an instructor/intern at the school. Adam has returned to the NGSW to teach his own schedule of classes. In the summer of 1999, Adam shared the stage with Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci, performing to a packed NGSW auditorium.

Upon returning from the NGSW, Adam was invited to perform "The Star Spangled Banner" at the Cincinnati Gardens Arena, for a Cincinnati Cyclones hockey game. At the age of 17, he entered the Cincinnati Crossroads Guitar Contest, and was the runner-up. Later that year, Adam auditioned for the prestigious Berklee College of Music, transcribing and performing Yngwie Malmsteen's "Far Beyond The Sun."

This audition landed him a scholarsihp to study at Berklee, but instead, he opted to study music at the University of Southern California. Adam played in the top guitar and jazz ensembles at USC, and studied with some of Los Angeles's top studio musicians. He was also very active as a sideman in the Los Angeles area, backing singer/songwriters at clubs such as the Genghis Cohen and The Mint, and lending his unique guitar style to many recording sessions. While at USC, Adam completed his first CD, entitled "In Your Dreams." Despite his successes in Los Angeles, in the winter of 2000, Adam decided to return to Berklee College of Music to complete his education.

Since returning to Berklee, Adam has maintained a busy schedule in the Boston area, playing with several blues projects, as well as leading a dual guitar instrumental rock band. He was invited by Berklee instructor Don Lappin as a guest lecturer for Lappin's Rock Guitar Class. His CD has received rave reviews by Guitar Nine Records, as well as SHRAPNEL Recording Artist Stephen Ross.