EX­AM­PLE zz TO P STYLE solo study

Guitar Techniques - - Lesson: Blues -

[Bars 13-16] When you think of tap­ping, Van Halen ini­tially springs to mind. Well, Billy got there be­fore him (although there were play­ers sev­eral decades be­fore us­ing the tech­nique also; check out Jim­mie Web­ster’s 1958 al­bum for fur­ther ev­i­dence). We’re after a kind of drunken and slurred sound here, with the vi­brato com­ing from the fret­ting hand and not the tap­ping digit, which for me would be the sec­ond fin­ger so that I can keep the pick in place be­tween thumb and first. The hy­brid pick­ing idea in bars 15-16 sounds rather like a Ham­mond B3 lick trans­ferred onto the gui­tar and you re­ally need to be us­ing a hy­brid pick­ing ap­proach here. [Bars 17-20] There’s a rep­e­ti­tious pen­ta­tonic lick in bars 17-18 that rhyth­mi­cally dis­places in a 4-against-3 pat­tern. Ideas of this na­ture will with­stand nu­mer­ous rep­e­ti­tions, so we’ve cut things a lit­tle short for the sake of brevity. Billy of­ten stretches th­ese types of ideas over sev­eral cho­ruses so oc­ca­sion­ally it pays to be bold and stick to your guns. [Bars 21-24] Pinched har­monic have be­come some­thing of a sig­na­ture tech­nique and a huge com­po­nent of the Gib­bons sound. In this ear­lier era of Billy’s play­ing they are still present but not quite so fre­quently ex­ploited, prov­ing that it’s good when re­search­ing a player’s style to visit dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods to gauge their de­vel­op­ment and progress. Any­way, here’s the trick to per­fect­ing pinched har­mon­ics. It’s es­sen­tially the same tech­nique you’d use for palm mut­ing although the wrist is slightly ro­tated clock­wise; caus­ing the thumb to cross the string you in­tend to pick at a right an­gle. As you pick down­wards with just the tip of the plec­trum the thumb should now make con­tact with the string, cre­at­ing a node point and - hey presto! - a har­monic should now leap out. Ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent points along the length of the string to bring out dif­fer­ent over­tones. It’s fun to be ran­dom at times!

cd track 42

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