Example 4: ‘Dust My Broom’ Lick
This isn’T actually a Billy Gibbons lick at all. But he has used it so often it’s certainly worth including. It originally comes from the Elmore James classic tune Dust My Broom and is a total must-learn
Example 5: Pinched Harmonics
Pinched Harmonics Are one of the most recognisable elements of Gibbons’ style – they’re in pretty much every solo. One classic example that springs to mind is the solo he played in
La Grange. I can vividly remember trying to learn that solo, note by note, when I was younger. Of course, now I’m older and hopefully a little wiser, I realise that harmonics like this are not really ‘planned’ – you just ‘dig in’ and hit the string simultaneously with the flesh of the side of your thumb and the pick at different parts of the string length and see what harmonics spring forth!
Example 6: Tapped Bend Lick
This Lick is a Gibbons classic! I first heard it way, way back in 1973 when it was played in the solo (at 1:25) of Beer Drinkers & Hell
Raisers from the Tres Hombres album. It was definitely the first time I ever heard tapping on a recording… five years prior to Van Halen’s first album as well! To play it correctly, you simply perform a regular
blues cliché. To perform it, simply play the G triad in triplets and slide it in from below every beat or, as here, every two beats. The overall idea is to sound like you’re using a slide, even though you aren’t.
On the video you can easily see how I am moving my picking hand along the string in an attempt to vary the harmonics produced. This is why I haven’t notated the exact pitches of the harmonics that I played in the notation here – that would be pointless because they’d most likely be different every single time!
It is worth mentioning that Billy also sometimes plays pinched harmonics by plucking the string with his pick-hand index finger and then using the side of his pick-hand thumb to simultaneously lightly touch the stings at various (node) points. Try it; it works brilliantly!
string bend from the C to the D on the G string and then tap and hold the G string at the 10th fret. Because the string is still being bent up by a tone, the note produced by the tap will be a G and not the F that usually resides at the 10th fret of that string. The vibrato applied to the bend is most effective when performed with your fretting hand.