La Grange Guitar Lesson – ZZ Top

In this lesson series we will take a look at one of ZZ Top's signature songs "La Grange".

The short little riff that opens the song actually has quite a bit for us to sink our teeth into. There is abundant hybrid picking, left hand muting and upbeat accents (which challenge some players). All of this is wrapped up in a tight little traditional boogie blues rhythm.

In this La Grange guitar lesson video I will break all those little details down to help get you playing this cool little riff in no time.

For those of you who don't have any experience with hybrid picking perhaps learning this La Grange riff will be a good place to start.

Just take your time in the beginning. The hybrid picking is very simple and repetitive but essential to getting that snappy tone right when the riff starts.

We also have to contend with a slight pinky bend as well. My suggestion is to just not over think that too much. Just a little slight downward pressure on the string for that bent note and you will be just fine. It's not like you are trying to do a half-step or whole-step bend. You are simply putting a little inflection into the note.

Billy Gibbons really does bring a multitude of techniques to his "La Grange" riff, but probably the most essential element you don't want to over look (as in all of Billy Gibbons riffs) is the rhythm. It uses a traditional boogie blues rhythm throughout, and the heavy left hand muting is a vital part of making the rhythm sound convincing.

In the second video lesson I will break down the entire main solo note-for-note including the interlude that happens at the end.

You are in for some fun stuff with this one. Fast pentatonic licks, slippery slides, delicate bends, hybrid picking and more. All of these techniques are thrown into this epic La Grange guitar solo by the great Billy Gibbons.

I suggest learning to play the entire solo in phrases, which is how I break it up in the lesson. Master each bite size piece before moving on to the next. Then slowly put all of those pieces together and you will eventually have the entire solo down.

Also, if you haven't already, make sure you can play the main riff to "La Grange" first before attempting the solo. The main riff can be a nice little hybrid picking warmup, which you will definitely need before tackling the solo. 🙂

After you have that taken care of, you will be ready to get crackin' on the solo. As with anything on the guitar that is a bit advanced, take your time and try to absorb not only the techniques required but also the sound of each individual phrase. It is much easier to memorize how to play a piece of music when you are very familiar with it's sound.

Have Fun! Carl..

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La Grange Guitar Lesson Pt.1 - Intro/Main Riff

La Grange Guitar Lesson Pt.2 - Guitar Solo


  1. GEORG P WEYAND on June 9, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Carl the Great!!
    Thanks for showing us how to play that riff.

  2. Caleb on September 1, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Hi Carl, I was wondering if you would do some complete song lessons for ZZTop, and more of their songs. Its just so hard to learn from others because they don’t explain enough as you do that makes it easier to learn.
    So I hope you see my comment and make the consideration. And sorry for my English skills.

    Thank you.

    • Carl Brown on September 1, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      I certainly hope to do many ZZ Top songs. Just hoping for those likes to come in. I am sure I will be doing some in the next couple months. 🙂


  3. michael whitley on December 15, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I hope you do the guitar solo I really like the song and thanks for teaching it.

    • Carl Brown on December 16, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Hey Michael, did you miss the solo solo video above? There should be two video lessons above, one for the main riff and one for the solo.

  4. michael whitley on December 19, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Yeah I did seen it after I rolled the screen up both are there. Thanks for getting back to me. I’m getting it done slowly.

  5. michael whitley on December 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    I hope you will do tube snake booggie by zz top its really a cool song.

  6. george lambert on June 17, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Thank you. I hope you will review the end it the song.

  7. Andrew Witts on September 20, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Carl,
    Great lesson as always. I’m working through the solo – there is a lot in there!
    Any chance of doing a lesson for the second solo/outro in La Grange?

  8. Ken Parsley on March 5, 2016 at 10:03 am

    H Carl,
    I have really enjoyed this lesson. I agree with Andrew’s request, love to see a quick video of the 2nd solo!

  9. Jim Werle on May 3, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Carl,
    This is great so thanks!
    I second Ken’s comment – a video of the second/outro solo would be awesome!
    Thanks so much, Jim

  10. Jason Fredensborg on March 25, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Carl, could you do a lesson on ZZTop’s “Just Got Paid Today”? One of their baddest riffs!!

  11. Gary Dessen on December 3, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Hi Carl, could you do a lesson on beer drinkers and hell raisers…great guitar in that song!!

  12. David True on June 4, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    Hi Carl,

    I have learned the first fingering technique from your first video. I would like to learn the next part where Billy plays the slightly higher repetitive notes. Do you have a video of that?


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