Jeff Buckley, Steve Miller, and More!

February 7, 2014

Jeff Buckley's Grace Notes

GP contributor Vinne DeMasi delivered this one. “Despite a career cut tragically short less than three years after the release of his 1994 debut Grace, Jeff Buckley was recognized as an avatar of his era. Rush drummer Neil Peart considered him “one of the few great ones,” and Jimmy Page sang his praises in multiple interviews. Although most lauded for his impassioned vocal style, Buckley was an imaginative guitarist and a kindred spirit to Page, distilling elements of Delta blues, jazz, folk, Indian music, psychedelia, and rock into his own intoxicating elixir. The open-G droning lick below summarizes motifs Buckley plays and expands upon during the hypnotic intro to ‘Dream Brother.’ Stretch your pinky to the 4th fret, allowing the notes on the top two strings to sustain against each other as much as possible.”

Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Steve Miller bandmate Kenny Lee Lewis brings this knowledge. “This is so simple it’s ludicrous,” he enthuses. “Steve Miller showed this to me years ago and I couldn’t believe how useful it was. It’s a technique that old blues guys in Chicago learned decades ago so they could rock those classic patterns all night long without killing themselves. Follow the fingerings and prepare to be amazed. Lift your pinky up off the fifth string when playing the E on the fourth string. Relaxing your fingers will automatically mute the fifth string. Once you get this coordinated, you can do it all night long in any key, with no cramps or fatigue.” Damn, dude.

Poor Man’s TransTrem

The supremely badass David Torn revealed in his latest interview that when using a standard trem (with standard string gauges), certain pairs of strings will change pitch diatonically— at least for a time—and certain pairs will raise and lower at the same rate. Strange but true—he’s right. This lick, when played on a floating-trem guitar, will give you (mostly) sweet diatonic up-bends on the G and B strings in bar 1, and cool parallel descending bends on the E and G strings. Who knew?

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