Duane Eddy - Guitar Heroes A-Z

October 29, 2007

From a musical and technical standpoint, Eddy’s melodies were basic and sparse, but he infused them with soulful mojo and a healthy dose of effects—primarily amp tremolo set to medium or low speed, vibrato (courtesy of a Bigsby), and echo. Employing mostly medium tempos and big subdivisions (typically quarter- and eighth-notes) allowed Eddy to use the Bigsby on his two-pickup Gretsch 6120 hollowbody to great effect. He could add everything from subtle and controlled vibrato to more exaggerated bend-like maneuvers on notes and chords, and he pioneered the technique of using the bar to bring a “pre-depressed” string up to pitch from a half- or whole-step below. This was the vibrato-bar equivalent of the reverse-bend, except that the pitch resolved upward. (Sometimes, when applying this process to a picked open string, Eddy would score major cool points by operating the Bigsby with his fretting hand.) For his monumental influence on electric guitar music, Eddy received the Guitar Player Legend Award in 2004.

The confidence in Eddy’s delivery, phrasing, and tone—which remains to this day—allowed him to play straightforward lines (like the one shown here) with such authority he became an icon to the new crop of future legends just coming over the horizon—a generation that would include Clapton, Page, Harrison, and more. To achieve an even yet commanding attack, pick this lick using all downstrokes. Keep the tone rounded, not percussive, and let the notes sing.

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