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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