A man with such a beard and such a crazy collection of guitars is not often associated with such a deft touch and catchy songs of women and booze….actually that’s a lie, because ‘Revered Willy G’ is not only a rockstar, he is a connoisseur of the blues genre.
Gibbons plied his trade opening for the one-andonly Jimi Hendrix with his band the Moving Sidewalks before forming ZZ Top with Dusty Hill and the ironically named Frank Beard; and after a few guitar purchases and battles with the ever changing industry, that ‘Little Ol’ Band from Texas’ are still going strong.
The licks here outline a few of what I think are the corner-stones of Gibbons sound. Billy is all about knowing where you are on the fret-board, hence why I have put in the descending 6ths lick and the open string licks. He is a very big hybrid picker too, so be sure to watch my picking when I demonstrate the licks. Everything else is a variation on what I will affectionately term ‘the cliché lick’, and each player has their own take on this.
There is also a little pinched harmonic on the first lick that you should pay close attention too, because once you have it down, you are well on your way to building an impressive array of tricks to add to your own bag. It is incorporating the flesh of your thumb to ‘pop’ that harmonic out.
Gibbons has a sound that is mostly associated with early Marshall Plexi’s; loud, dirty and raucous. So that is what we’re looking for here, bridge pickup on your guitar with everything up full and coax each lick from your fingers in a controlled way, but spread some attitude over that too. ZZ GO!