EssentialLicks - John Petrucci

John Petrucci participated in several projects but he is best known for his part in the ambitious Dream Theater group. His digital-sounding runs and his guitar clinics made him very appreciated, especially by guitar students. We'll try to unveil some of his secrets.

Petrucci often uses fast chromatic runs like the 3-finger one from As I Am:

And a 4-finger run from Beyond This Life:

The MIDI File

Petrucci knows that chromatic runs are the easiest to play so he uses them again and again. From Deep In Heaven:

And again in Under a Glass Moon:

The MIDI File

To give more spice to his chromatic addiction, Petrucci uses sometimes hammer-ons and pull-offs like in this run from In the Name Of God:

Simple patterns added by free strings is another easy trick by Petrucci. From Octavarium:

The MIDI File

Another ornamentation used by Petrucci is the DiMeola-style palm-mute. From Status Speaker:

And the same procedure in To Live Forever:


Tapping is a must for all "guitar virtuosos". Some small ones from The Root Of All Evil:

The Root Of All Evil


And a more extended tapped run from A Fortune In Lies:

A Fortune In Lies


Let's see now a few of Petrucci's sweeping arpeggios. We'll start with a simple triad from A Change Of Seasons:

A Change Of Seasons

The MIDI File


And two sequences from After Life:

After Life


Triads from Endless Sacrifice:

Endless Sacrifice


From The Glass Prison:

The Glass Prison

The MIDI File


And, finally, arpeggios with rhythm changes from Never Enough:

Never Enough


And now, let's take a look at Petrucci's fast runs. First, a scale from Blind Faith:

Blind Faith

The MIDI File


A short run from Scarred:



Another fast pattern from Stream Of Conciousness:

Stream Of Conciousness

The MIDI File


A run combined with arpeggios from Dance Of Eternity:

Dance Of Eternity


Fast changes of position in Endless Sacrifice:

Endless Sacrifice


Repetitive patterns are a trademark of all rock guitar "virtuosos". The following is from The Great Debate:

The Great Debate


From the same song, a pattern spiced with hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides:

The Great Debate


From 6:00:



A run with a little skip from Fatal Tragedy:

Fatal Tragedy


And another repetitive run from Caught In a Web:

Caught In a Web

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