by Jamie Kime
Navigating through the complex maze of albums by The Artist Formerly/Currently Known as Prince can be a formidable task. To date, there are approximately two dozen Prince albums from which to choose, some brilliant, and some that can only be described as "uneven." His battles with former label Warner Bros. are legendary (appearing at public functions with the word "slave" painted on his face, etc.), and his subsequent attempt at web-only self-distribution alienated scores of his millions of fans. Still, The Artist has always proven to be as resilient in business as he is musically prolific. As a writer, he has the ability to effortlessly glide from one style or genre to another with a seamless ease. As a performer, he and his band, The New Power Generation, are one of the tightest and intense live acts you're likely to witness. And don't let the flamboyant stage presence overshadow his mad guitar skills. The fuzzed-out intro to "When Doves Cry" was only a taste; he can stand his ground against any poofy-haired shredder (are there really any of these left?), and can even (gasp!) play over changes while throwing a Hendrix meets Eddie Hazel slant on the proceedings.
The Bb major scale is utilized exclusively in this lick. The opening double-stop bend, if done with a spanky clean tone, would make a great pedal steel lick. Here however, with some fuzz and delay, it has a blusey feel reminiscent of Santana. The remainder is a simple major scale-based motive. It concludes with a bend and release variation on the opening double-stop which nicely bookends the entire lick. This is a simple enough pattern to easily relocate to different positions in order to hear and "feel" the difference in keys. Also, always keep track of the root note (in this recording, it's Bb on the second string, 11th fret). Try throwing on a little extra vibrato every time you resolve to it.