Jonny Lang Gets Experienced

August 5, 2010

“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. 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. 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. 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 to E.

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.)


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