From blues to rock and beyond, this month Les Davidson examines the playing of that fiery left-handed guitar-slinger, Eric Gales.
Freddie King, albert collins, Buddy Guy guitar styles, but mix in some Hendrix and Eric Johnson style pentatonic bursts and that’s his blues playing.
Gales is known for his tough and fiery no-holds-barred style. He has so far played in a variety of line-ups, which even verge upon heavy rock, psychedelic rock and ‘nu funk’.
Eric was born in 1974 and grew up with three brothers, two of whom played the guitar upside-down and lefthanded, as does Eric.
Gales is in fact right- handed and, as he learnt from an older brother, never realised that there was any other way to play. Hence he just kept going with that way of doing things.
in 1990, Eric and Eugene Gales signed with Elektra records, and together with drummer Hubert crawford released 1991's The Eric Gales Band and 1993's Picture Of a Thousand Faces. a Guitar World reader's Poll named Eric ‘Best New Talent’ in 1991.
Gales has clearly developed his own voice as a player, and although one can hear some strong influences there is no mistaking him when he plays. check out some of his live YouTube performances to get a taste of this fiery, unrelenting approach.
The following musical examples are from Eric’s tenure with the Pinnick, Gales, Pridgen line-up, that serve as an introduction to his approach to playing in a blues-rock setting. Both examples should be used to expand both your blues-rock vocabulary and overall technical fretboard facility.
Gales uses a conventional plectrum technique with quite a lot of hammer-ons and pull-off’s to get that smooth note delivery,
a lot of my songs are based on simple vamps Eric Gales
although sometimes he uses just his thumb and also both pick and fingers. The two 16-bar examples are playable with plectrum or hammers and fingers.
There are many ways to build up speed but here i’d suggest you attempt to play the ideas at full tempo, even if you can only manage the first few notes. Reduce the speed by all means at this point, add the next few notes or even a single note and then take the tempo back up, taking care to play the notes cleanly and accurately. This way we’re making progress by expanding a few notes at a time, rather than playing an entire phrase at a fraction of the desired speed. You may of course prefer ther regular GT approach of learning at a slower tempo and speeding up later.
Eric Gales: a powerful and meaningful performer