It would be an understatement to say that the electric guitar played an important role in the musical revolution of the ’50s and ’60s. Between rock & roll, Chicago blues, and surf and rockabilly, the electric guitar was an essential ingredient of these movements.
In his course, Slapback, Billy & Twang Guitar Guidebook, BJ Baartmans takes you on an educational adventure through the era of Surf, Rockabilly and rock & roll music.
Here are 6 free Slapback, Billy & Twang Guitar lessons from BJ’s course. For the full course, check out the Slapback, Billy & Twang Guitar Guidebook on TrueFire!
Whammy Bar & Vibrato
One way to change pitch on the guitar is by using a whammy bar – a Bigsby unit like most Gretsch guitars were outfitted with or the oddly named tremolo handle on a Fender stratocaster. Using it while picking means changing your way of picking a bit. Or, you can do what a lot of players did: just use it at the end of a solo or a song to shake up the final chord.
One of the things that make guitar players recognizable is the way they vibrate strings. The way they create a specific tone adding finger vibrato. It really comes out in clean recordings. But if that’s not so clearly audible or plain hard to do, it comes down to different things to recognize a player. Timing and choice of notes become all the more important. So, that’s also a good way of making yourself noticeable. Play where the others are not, just a bit before or after the beat and stay in a not so crowded melodic range. Like always, the devil’s in the details…
Chromatic runs are a feature of many gypsy jazz solos. In rockabilly, they’ve also become a staple.
House Cats: Performance
A free take on “Hit the Road Jack” and “Stray Cat Strut”. I was completely knocked out and still am hearing Brian Setzer’s “Stray Cat Strut” in the early 80’s. The tone of the big Gretsch guitar, the minor swing riffs, the whole vibe of the song. I spent hours trying to figure out what he was playing. By the time I sort of got it, I realized that I needed to dig deeper to truly understand what it was all about. Little did I know at the time of jazz guitar, big band chords, or tape echo.
House Cats: Breakdown
I’ve recorded this tune in the key of F minor. Not the easiest one, but it gives you some very cool harmonic open string options.
Rumble Jets: Performance
Brian Setzer and The Stray Cats were a direct link back to the future for me. Setzer opened a lot of doors. I tell myself, this little tune could be one of theirs. Playing this kind of music live is great fun. I love the energy. People dance to it.
Rumble Jets: Breakdown
Now, let’s break this down. Playing fast riffs is just cool here!
Digging these free Slapback, Billy & Twang Guitar lessons? Check out BJ Baartmans’ course, Slapback, Billy & Twang Guitar Guidebook.