This lesson is on Billy Gibbon’s guitar style. His blues-rock playing on the ZZ Top albums has some of the best tone and phrasing out there. One thing in particular that I have always enjoyed is the way he frequently uses multiple notes at a time during solos. This is important because in a trio format it can be tough to keep the band from sounding thin when the guitar solo comes around. Using open strings, double stops, and arpeggios like Billy Gibbons can help keep everything sounding full. I focused on this aspect of his playing with 5 guitar licks that will get you in the Billy Gibbons/ZZ Top style.
The first lick starts off with a rhythm guitar style phrase with double stops. Starting with an idea like this helps when building the solo because it keeps you from overplaying right from the start. The first two bars I play with hybrid picking using my fingers for the D and G strings and the pick on the A string. The double stops in the third and fourth bar I play with the pick. This gives a much more aggressive sound and helps to lead smoothly into the next phrases.
The second lick begins with a quick hammer on from the open A string up to the 12th fret. In the second bar I also use hybrid picking and I keep the G and D strings ringing throughout.
The third lick is another double stop idea that uses hybrid picking. It ends with a quick pull off to the open A string into a power chord.
The fourth lick begins with a power chord slide up to F#. Then there is another hybrid picked phrase on the G and B strings. This is a similar idea to what he plays during his solo in the song “La Grange”.
The final lick is a quick ending blues phrase. I play it using my fingers to pick the first two double stops on the B and E strings, but it is also easy to just play the entire phrase with your pick.