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.
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