“YOU PICK UP SOMETHING from
everybody you’re around, and that’s probably
the coolest thing about this tour. I get to
watch these guys and try to soak in their
amazing abilities.” So says Jonny Lang on
the subject of being on the Experience Hendrix
tour, where he shares the bill with Eric
Johnson, Joe Satriani, Brad Whitford, Kenny
Wayne Shepherd, and others. Lang was cool enough to demo his gear for GP and show
some of his playing techniques, including
the Hendrix-y morsel here.
This is loosely based on the tune “May
This Be Love” off Hendrix’s stunning debut.
It’s a free-form E Mixolydian canvas that drifts
between E and Amaj7 chords. The trick is to
keep bouncing off the open E and A strings.
Lang starts in the lower register with an
open low E with a B over it. Use a pinching
fingerstyle technique to strike both strings
simultaneously (a hybrid, pick-and-fingers
approach will also work). When it comes
time for the A chord, notice how Lang recycles
the same ascending line on the D string.
This lends a nice continuity to the part, but
the G# now adds a complex major 7 sound.
The lines are simple, but the low strings
underneath give the phrases an open, spacious
vibe. Also, the way he bends the upper
pitches against the bass notes provides a
super-cool tension and release, although these
will get sour on a floating-whammy guitar.
When we get back to E in bar 4, Lang
starts exploring the upper register. Check
out how the fairly “normal” E major pentatonic
licks take on a new dimension when
he combines them with the pedaling low
note. After flirting with Amaj7, he goes into
E minor pentatonic before a righteous Bbdim
run that slides up to the V (B), and then back
This lesson was transcribed with a Godin Freeway
SA guitar, a Roland GI-20 MIDI interface,
and Sibelius software.
(The musical examples in this lesson are at the very end of this video.)