EXAMPLE zz TO P STYLE solo study
[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