Something I Learned From Billy Gibbons

A few years ago I bought an issue of Guitar Player Magazine. Inside there was a DVD with lessons from different players, everyone from Yngwie to Zach Wylde. Anyway there was a great little lesson from Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top on there too and he played some cool stuff… it’s where the inspiration for this lesson comes from.

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What’s Going On Here?

What we’re seeing in this example is how nicely you can combine sweet sounding major and minor 6th intervals with a standard blues shuffle. Once you’ve mastered a typical blues shuffle I guess this is the next step to aim for – being able to combine shuffle patterns with things of melodic interest and fuse them both together as one.

I’m playing in the key of A here but you can easily create this same effect in other keys too such as E or D. I’ll likely film lessons showing you just that in the future.

Some Of Theory (for those of you who care)

In most cases the major 3rd of the chord is being suspended and then allowed to open. This is what gives the shuffle its sweet sound.

For example, on an A chord the notes of a major 3rd interval are A – C# however we first play A – D (the 4th). This creates just a little bit of tension because your ear naturally wants to hear the 3rd but it has to wait.

When the 3rd is opened up (that’s the part where you slide your first finger to the 2nd fret on the B string) it resolves the tension back to a point of rest.

For anyone who believes that blues guitar is all about minor keys, crying and misery just play them this! It proves that blues can sound just as sweet as any other kind of music.

 

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