Jeff Beck - Guitar Heroes A-Z

As unpredictable as they come, Jeff Beck has kept guitarists on the edge of their seats for more than four decades now, and he’s not done with us yet. With his ever-expanding arsenal of techniques and his continually evolving talents at melodic interpretation, Beck shows no sign of slowing down. His mind-blowing catalog, from the Yardbirds to his current four-piece lineup (as well as numerous guest appearances on others’ projects) constitutes nothing less than a university’s worth of study materials.

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.