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Clash: Dynamics, Singles Notes, & Arpeggios

 

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The Clash used dynamics within their music much more than the Pistols or the Ramones, often using a crescendo or a sudden drop in volume within a section, to lend more impact to the next section. In this sense the Clash were very much a vocal band, obviously intent on getting their message across.

Also, Mick used a lot of sustained single notes out just about anywhere, even in the Clash's early music, which gave even his rhythm work a "lead" feel. He tended to favor the major third in a lot of situations, or the fifth. He'd also occasionally go lower with single notes providing something of a baritone line between the rhythm chords and the bass line.

Another Mick-ism is using string bends from the major pentatonic scale. If you're using the major pentatonic scale in the key of A on the first second and a third strings, in tab this would go starting on the third string 2-4 to the second string 2-5 to the first string 2-5, the notes being A-B-C#-E-F#. If you play the root at the second fret, play the second at the fourth, you can bend the second to the major third with the third finger and then use the fourth finger to get to the fifth degree of the scale on the second string, or get to the octave of the root on the fifth fret of the first string.
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