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Lyle Ronglien >> Billy Gibbons style >>

Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) Style

Lesson 3

Lyle: In this lesson you'll learn how to play the riffs from the lesson sample. It's a nice simple laid back groove in Bm. You'll need to know the B minor pentatonic pattern/scale:

Lyle: Give that scale a listen and look at the pattern as it lays out on the virtual fretboard.

Lyle: Ok, now the fun part, learning blues riffs in the style of ZZ Top's guitarist, Billy Gibbons. Check out this first riff, you'll use your thumb for the bass notes.

Lyle: You will notice that on almost each of the riffs in this lesson, you'll start by playing the bass lick with your thumb, followed by a blues lick.

Lyle: In the next riff you'll play a descending B min pentatonic scale:

Lyle: Is everyone using your thumb for the first 3 bass notes?!

Jimmy: yes

Dennis: yep

anthony: yes

Bryant: yup

billybob: yes, but why?

Lyle: Using the thumb is an easy, relaxed way to play those notes without having to reach over with your fingers, and it frees up your other fingers for playing other notes while your thumb is on the bass, and besides, Hendrix did it this way! Here's a jam track for you to practice playing these riffs with:

Lyle: Riff 3 is a variation of riff 2, with more feeling:

Lyle: I'd like to point out a little something about riffs 2 and 3, Riff 2 was good, simple and to the point, while riff 3 was a stronger variation of it, embellishing on the basic theme, adding excitement to it, same riff but "stronger" with the added hammer-ons etc.

Lyle: It's like talking, you'll say a phrase, then you might repeat it a little different with more detail. So, if you play a cool simple blues riff, play it again with a little more feeling and a slight variation to it, maybe even louder!

Lyle: Riff 4 is like 2 riffs together:

ripit: very greasy

Picky: Is the first bend two strings or just the 3rd string on the ninth fret?

Lyle: It's a unison bend at the front of riff 4. Hold down the 7th fret, 2nd string with your index finger, then bend the 9th fret, 3rd string up a whole step after you pick both strings at the same time. Complicated instructions for a simple video!

Lyle: Riff 5 uses a descending B minor pentatonic scale

Lyle: Riff 6 is like a BB King lick:

Lyle: Notice the two different bend amounts, whole step and a 1/4 step. Next riff:

Lyle: Riff 7 will give you some of you a new way to play the pentatonic, it's descending in a sequenced type of pattern.:

Lyle: Riff 8 uses a 1 1/2 step bend,

Lyle: Riff 9 is the follow up of riff 8:

Lyle: Riff 9 is tricky, bend up the 2nd string, grab the 3rd string and release the bend.

Lyle: Riff 10 is dynamically higher than the other riffs, building excitement:

dh: Lyle in Riff 9 when you grab the 3rd sting and release the bend should the pitch note be (9) instead of (11)?

Lyle: Yes, the 3rd string will come down to the 9th fret.

Lyle: Riff 11 is like the "answer" to riff 10.

Lyle: Riff 12 is like riff 2, only in a different place on the neck and 1 octave higher.

Lyle: Try playing some of these riffs without the jam track, just solo guitar, your thumb is "the bass player", and the little blues riffs that follow each bass lick is the "Billy Gibbons" part. This is a technique for you to practice sounding like two people at once. Use the jam track to help you get your timing between the riffs, then try it on your own.

Lyle: That's all for this lesson tonight.

Jimmy: Thanks


Dennis: great stuff

Michael: lyle... question

Michael: is it easier to bend heavier strings up to tone than lighter strings

Michael: currently using 10's .. thinking that I should try 11's?

Lyle: I believe it's easier to bend light strings to any pitch.

Lyle: Less resistance.

Michael: yes.. easier in that way.. but would heavier strings have to be bent less to reach same pitch

Lyle: I don't think so.

Lyle: Just harder to do.,

Lyle: Louder and fatter tone is what you get with heavier strings. I get sore fingers using heavy strings.

Lyle: I use 10 - 46 on Les Pauls, 9 - 42 on Strats etc.

Let's take a break for now.

Lyle: Next time we'll learn more cool blues riffs!

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