Matthias Jabs Interprets Hendrixs “All Along the Watchtower”

December 1, 2010

REV_GP1210_Less_MJ_nr_1MATTHIAS JABS WAS COOL enough to sit for a lesson before a Scorpions gig in Tampa, Florida. Plugging his signature Dommenget Explorer-style guitar into a GK 250ML(!), he shredded through a bunch of great licks, all with his slick bends and vibrato. When I mention that he quotes “All Along the Watchtower” solo in the song “Slave Me” off the new Scorps record, he flashes a big smile. “Absolutely. That is the song that made me play guitar.” (Note to Bob Dylan fans: He is quick to specify, “The Hendrix version.”)

Jabs’ Dommenget is tuned a full-step below standard, so I’ve notated the solo in G, although you’ll see in the video that it looks like he’s in A. (If you want to play along with the studio track on Sting in the Tail, the solo starts after the shout chorus at 1:38.) Alright, jokers and thieves, let’s get into it. Ex. 1, he launches into those classic oneand- a-half-step bends and does a nice slow release from Bb to G before landing on the sustained C. Anyone who knows Jabs’ playing knows that the molto vibrato designation should probably read moltissimo, so keep it slow, wide, and in time with the music. He goes through a couple more Hendrixian moves and then, in the first ending, finishes up with a blues scale run. Because this tune isn’t in the current setlist, Jabs went through a few endings to the solo trying to remember what he tracked in the studio. The second ending is similar to what’s on the album. He makes those bends seem easy, but they’re trickier than you might think, especially at speed and when by the scale runs. Ex. 2 is when he gave up trying to recall the exact ending to the lead and just blazed across the neck. The quintuplets could probably be viewed as three sixteenth-note triplets followed by two sixteenths, but they go by so damn fast it doesn’t really matter. Like always, put a huge, sweeping vibrato on that last note. Jawohl!


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