Billy Gibbons Guitar Stylings and ZZ Top Those "Sharp Dressed Men" From Texas.
The Billy Gibbons guitar stylings are what gives the band ZZ Top that hard rockin
blues based edge.Plus the fact him and the bass player Dusty Hill look so darn cool.
With both of them having the long hair and the chest-length beards, sunglasses, they look like
they spent the last 40 years learning the guitar up in the Ozark mountains with
all the Hillbillies. And just recently came down to join civilization.
But Billy Gibbons guitar leads are what gives ZZ Top such a driving
gritty sound. He's one of the toughest guitar players in the business....and no
I don't mean he could beat up Mike Tyson in a fight.I mean he has one of the toughest
rockin wailing guitar sounds in the business.He's a great rock blues player. Check out his
awesome guitar solos on the ZZ Top tunes “Tush” or “La Grange” to name just a few.
Now since none of us can get a personal Billy Gibbons guitar lesson I'll expound a bit on
his guitar playing style.Billy is a master of all the rock and blues riffs , unison bends,pull offs,
vibrato,double stops etc....but one of the guitar tricks that he is widely known for is his use of
pinch harmonics in a lot of his solos.
What the H***are pinch harmonics? I thought you'd never ask...and no it's not someting you
do to a hot babe you like by giving her a pinch on the you know what. It's actually a guitar
technique that is done with your picking hand by holding the guitar pick right at the very
bottom so that only the tip of the pick and the thumb and index finger,slighty catch the
string giving you the overtone or harmonic and giving you that high pitched squeal effect
as you pick the string. And your electric guitar should be set to the lead pickup to accomplish this.
Another Billy Gibbons guitar technique that he uses a lot is playing slide guitar.
And no....don't think that you can phone Billy up on a sunday afternoon and pop over
to his place for some slide guitar lessons,it's not going to happen.Unless of course you
are Billy Gibbons Super Hot 19 year old guitar playing girlfriend.Or one of his
celebrity friends.Did you know Billy hung around with Jimi Hendrix and Les Paul? And he
is also friends with guys like Jimmy Page,Jeff Beck,Dwight Yoakham...you can just imagine
them all pulling up to a bar in the ZZ Top car to have a couple of beers...right?
Billy Gibbons guitar style is such that he really specializes in coming up with these great
sounding original rock blues intros listen to “Cheap Sunglasses” or “Sharp Dressed Man”
with the intro in the “key of C” where he uses the 2 note doublestops intro...A and E notes on the
3rd and 2nd strings both held down with the 3rd finger at the 10th fret...then down 2 frets to the G and Eb notes
both held down with the 1st finger on the 8th fret to the single C note 4th string 10th fret played with
the 3 finger with vibrato.Another facit of Billys playing is that he makes extensive use of
doublestops in lots of his guitar solos.
Mr. Gibbons has also guested and played guitar on many A-list music acts such as
John Mayall and Nickelback just to name a few. He's also a part-time actor on “Bones”
the TV series. And you gotta love Billy Gibbons car which is the 1933 Ford Coupe which is featured in some of the ZZ Top Videos.
Ok...what kind of amplification powers the Billy Gibbons guitar sound? Well...onstage he uses two Marshall JMP-1 Valve midi-pre-amps some Marshall Power Amplifiers and various other effects.
Billy Gibbons guitar that he plays is the Gretsch Jupiter Thunderbird,and also a 1959 Les Paul known as Pearly Gates.
Billy and the Bass Player Dusty Hill both have guitars dressed up in fur that they play on stage and Gibbons is also noted for
using a Mexican Peso Coin as a guitar pick. Gosh...you would think a mult-millionaire like him could afford an American made pick...Oh Well maybe the Mexican chicks dig it.
So to wrap things up on our discussion on the Billy Gibbons guitar sound. He is the main singer and songwriter in ZZ Top,and as if that didn't make him enough money.At the 2010 NAMM show along with Dunlop he has developed a new line of guitar accessories,picks,strings,and slides all called "Rev Willy's" which is Billy Gibbons nickname.
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