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Michael Johnson >> Rockabilly Legends >>
Lesson Subject: Rockabilly Legends
What you learn: Duane Eddy Style
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: This interactive lesson is on the style of Duane Eddy, or otherwise known as the "King of '50s Twang Guitar"! Duane Eddy influenced many guitarist who made a profound impact on instrumental guitar. He influenced the whole surf movement and many rockabilly guitarists. He was the guitarist who played the "Peter Gunn" theme. Here's a sample of the licks you'll learn:



Michael: Notice the simple lead lines. This is a great lesson for beginners lesson to understand how to play solos and fun for the rest of us. Our first scale is in E Major:



Michael: This is a basic scale, the progression will be based on the E I, IV & V. Do any of you know which chords make up that progression?

Rhinosaur: E A B

Michael: Thanks Rhino, here's the jam track for our first set of licks.

Looping Jam Track 1

Michael: Notice the jam track has a rockabilly and country type beat. Duane would use the country sound, but added his rock 'n' roll twist with the bends. Here's our first lick:





Bending the 6th String


Michael: Notice how I use my 3rd and 2nd finger to support it for the bend. You take a simple melody using the E Major scale. Notice the guitar tone used, do you know what effects I'm using?

Ginger: Reverb & echo

Paula: Fuzz box and echo?

Michael: Close, I'm using a clean guitar tone with a tremolo and reverb effect. That's a signature sound for many guitarists of the '50s rockabilly and surf guitar.

Paula: Twangy guitar sound!

Michael: Yep, a good old Fender sound, but...... Duane Eddy actually used a 6120 Gretsch hollow-body guitar, just like Brian Setzer. Here's our next lick:





Michael: Another simple variation on the E Major scale, now let's try to play over the chord progression. The next licks will follow the root notes of the E I, IV, V progression: E (I), A (IV), E (I), B (IV), E. (I)





Michael: The chord changes are shown in the tab. Try playing this over the looping jam track and catch all the progression changes. Now let's try another version:





Michael: The licks uses a slide which add a cool spin to the licks. Now let's add a few chords in between the licks.





Skedman: Yee haw!

Michael: You bet!!! You repeat the same intervals in between the licks, you can hear the root note change with the progression, you repeat the same basic intervals until you play the B7 on the V of the progression. It can be a little tricky to switch between both parts (chords/licks), but it fills the sound of the progression. Let's try another:





Michael: This lick has a different approach to the progression, but it's the same concept of playing chord intervals over the progression.

Position 1


Position 2


Position 3



Michael: Here's the basic fingerings for the open E position, now let's shift to the E Minor. The minor was used in Peter Gunn, here's a jam track using the style of that lick:

Looping Jam Track 2

Michael: Now we'll play minor based licks and chords over this progression.





Michael: Simple, but effective intervals.

Position 1


Position 2



Position 3


Position 4 - E Minor Chord


Michael: You just hold the same fingering and pick, then strum the E min chord at the end. Notice I strum the E min from the little string and up.





Michael: Here's another variation, you can play licks in the E minor scale then strum the E min. You can also play chord variations over the progression. Here's a few you can try:





Michael: Here's the fingerings.

E Minor Chord


E Augmented Chord


E Min 6


Michael: Make sure you play these over the last jam track, how do you like these licks?

mehl: Nice and twangy!

GFSalles: Very nice!

Michael: You bet, this next one uses the add9 for the first chord.





Michael: This fits nicely over the bass/drums.

E Minor add9


E #5 add9


E 6/9


Michael: Pretty simple chord change as you see. I look forward to seeing you all next lesson and practice hard!!!


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