HARD ROCK

Char­lie Grif­fiths is Headed For A Heart­break as he goes Down Incog­nito with a look at one of rock’s most ver­sa­tile play­ers: Reb Beach of Winger.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Char­lie Grif­fiths is Headed For A Heart­break with a look at Winger gui­tarist Reb Beach.

Winger gui­tarist Reb Beach made his name in the 80s as a ver­sa­tile stu­dio ses­sion mu­si­cian work­ing with names like Chaka Khan, The Bee Gees and Twisted Sis­ter. He is also one of the most in-de­mand gui­tarists in hard rock, hav­ing han­dled axe du­ties for the likes of Dokken, Whites­nake, Night Ranger and Alice Cooper. This vir­tu­os­ity is ev­i­dent in Winger’s mu­sic, Reb’s main cre­ative home in the late 80s and early 90s, hav­ing re­leased three al­bums: Winger in 1988, In The Heart Of The Young in 1990 and Pull in 1993. All the al­bums were well re­ceived by fans as the mu­sic ticked the fun ‘hair metal’ box, but mu­sos were into it too due to Reb’s gui­tar play­ing, but also Rod Mor­gen­stein’s in­cred­i­ble pro­gres­sive-in­fused drum­ming.

As is of­ten the case, when grunge ar­rived on the scene, the band be­came an un­for­tu­nate tar­get for the press and an un­flat­ter­ing run­ning gag in Beavis and Butt-head in which the ‘un­cool’ Ste­wart wore a Winger shirt as op­posed to Beavis and Butt-head’s awe­some Me­tal­lica and AC/DC shirts. The band de­cided to call it a day in 1994 and Reb con­tin­ued his ses­sion ca­reer. In 2001 the band re­formed for some re­union tours, which were such a suc­cess that three more al­bums were spawned: IV in 2006, Karma in 2009 and Bet­ter Days Comin’ in 2014. They re­main ac­tive to this day, tour­ing reg­u­larly.

Two of our riff ex­am­ples fo­cus on the 1988 de­but; Ex 1 be­ing a heavy riff com­bin­ing chro­matic notes with the Blues scale. Ex 3 is a palm-muted arpeg­giated chord sec­tion that’s typ­i­cal of Reb’s style on this al­bum.

The re­main­ing three riffs are in­spired by tracks from Pull, such as Ex 2, which uses some sus­pended tri­ads on the sec­ond, third and fourth strings. Ex 4 is a heavy E Blues scale, sin­gle-note riff and, fi­nally, Ex 5 fea­tures crys­tal clean arpeg­gios.

Reb’s solo­ing style is rooted in hard rock’s core tech­niques, such as bluesy licks cou­pled with flow­ing le­gato lines with har­mon­ics and whammy bar stunts to add some the­atrics. Mr Beach is also a skilled two-handed tap­per, of­ten us­ing the tech­nique to cre­ate in­ter­val­lic Pen­ta­tonic melodies and also su­per-smooth le­gato lines within three-notes-per-string scales; ham­mer­ing-on two scale notes with his fret­ting hand and ad­ding a third note with his tap­ping hand.

Our solo ex­am­ple fo­cuses on this as­pect of Reb’s play­ing and is a se­ri­ous tap­ping work­out. Work through all the ex­am­ples slowly, mak­ing sure the notes sound clean and full, be­fore build­ing up speed grad­u­ally.

reb has han­dled axe du­ties for the likes of dokken, Whites­nake, night ranger, alice cooper and Winger

Jon Roth and Reb Beach with Winger at Don­ing­ton 2014

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