Matthias Jabs on Bending

December 1, 2010

REV_GP1210_Less_MJ_nrONE OF THE COOLEST PARTS OF Scorps shredder Matthias Jabs’ style is his unique way of bending notes. Watching him onstage and in this private lesson, I was struck by his ability to bend really slowly, waiting until the last instant to get the note perfectly in tune. Even when he’s playing fast, he never rushes his bends. As Jabs is cruising through some blues licks, he plays Ex. 1. At first glance this might seem like a very ordinary box pattern in D (because he tunes down a full-step, it will look like he’s playing in E in the accompanying video). He runs up from the root and bends from G to A before then tagging a fretted A. This will be a recurring motif in this lesson and shows Jabs’ debt to Jeff Beck. The first twist comes on beat four of the 1st bar. Check out how Jabs reaches up to the root on the B string, and then bends it up to the 9 (E) before returning to his blues box. In addition to sounding cool, this is also a great exercise for stretching, working your pinky, and breaking old habits, so feel free to run those licks over and over. Mr. Matthias rounds out Ex. 1 with some more bouncing between bends and the unison fretted notes and a slick scale run. great example of Jabs’ bending prowess is in his solo to the Scorpions tune “20th Century Man” off Animal Magnetism. (When I quoted part of that lead, he didn’t recognize it at first. “You know,” he mused, “I have not heard that since, well, since the 20th Century.”) Ex. 2 shows my interpretation of that great solo. Keep it Jabs-y and grab the high bend on beat with your pinky. For the quick pull-off descent on the last beat of bar 2, you can pull off all the way to an open G if it makes it easier to land on the E. When he plays over the D chord in bar 5, Jabs gets super Beckish (think “Star Cycle”) with his tasty major-key bends. Wunderbar!

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