Lose your pick (if you dare) and dig deep into the snarly pull-offs and sweet ’n’ sour bendies in Ex. 1, the whammy-bar inflections in Ex. 2 that leave you wondering whether you just heard a slide guitar or blues harp, and Ex. 3’s deliciously dissonant fingerstyle “banjo” rolls (Sorry for giving this last one away, Jeff!). You’ll be rewarded with goosebumps to spare.
Beck’s innovative whammy work doesn’t end with faux slide and harp sounds, either. You’ll need a floating bar to play Ex. 4, which shows how the Guv’nor coaxes a tear-jerking G Lydian melody (actually a simple descending D major scale sequence à la “Dueling Banjos”) from a single, 19th-fret D harmonic. Finally, Ex. 5 offers a taste of Beck’s uncannily accurate off-the-fretboard slide work—just one of many high points (no pun intended) in his live set. Mute all six strings with your fretting hand (very important), hold the slide in your plucking hand, and use it to tap and vibrate the virtual above-the-neck “fret” positions as notated. You’ll be conversing with the birdies in no time.
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