Ok, I see, thanks! I think it's always cool to learn things by ear, even with Vinnie!
While doing all those Vinnie solos, have you noticed anything particular to mention about Vinnie's choice of notes?
That's a great question...
In terms of actual note choice and technique, Vinnie has a deep bag of tricks IMO. Some things I've noted in studying his playing over the years:
Firstly, in my opinion, Vinnie's ear for melody is amazing. There is lots of focus on his ability to play fast -- and that is a part of his playing that I admittedly love -- but Vinnie can really play tastefully. The solos for "Love Kills," "That Time Of Year" and "Ecstasy" are all extremely memorable and singable. And I've found that his work with Treasure and Dan Hartman, and most of his KISS solos, are also ripe with rich melodic content.
When Vinnie plays fast, he has a penchant for throwing in lots of chromatic notes, and notes outside of the typical scale. (Especially on the VVI albums. Lots of reckless abandon...) In his instructional video, his point was that you can make these chromatics work in the context of a fast run. For example, in "Gimme More," the solo is essentially in B Minor. There is a lick where he descends in B Minor pentatonic at the 7th position, but he throws in some extra notes to fill in some of the holes in that five-note scale: G# (major sixth/Dorian flavor), F (tritone/blues scale), and A# (major seventh). In the context of the run, all these notes work.
Vinnie also has a knack for interesting uses of sweeps. In "Deeper And Deeper," the sweep run that he does is actually based on three major chords: A major, D major and E major. In using these chords, and changing the positions, it makes for a great-sounding climax to the solo -- and sounds classical to my ears.
Also, Vinnie was apt to throw in some outside stuff. He used diminished arpeggios quite a bit -- "Burn" has some effective diminished usage. And on "Ashes To Ashes," Vinnie busts out with a whole tone scale run to end the solo. For sure, not all rock players have this type of vocabulary.
Tapping -- Vinnie liked to move his tapping finger up and down the neck to add melodic content. That final run in "A Million To One" is a great example. He is hammering B and D on the high E (7th and 10th fret) and his tapping finger plays an ascending melody.
Vinnie relied heavily on the whammy bar. He could wiggle it gently to make the notes sing a ala "Love Kills." And then he also abused it to get vulgar sounds -- think those weird sounds all over the VVI debut, the howling notes on "Fits Like A Glove" and that terrifying whammy dive on the outro to "Young And Wasted."
In all seriousness, there are so many layers to Vinnie's playing. He has continued to fascinate me for nearly 30 years...