5 Signature Techniques from 5 Classic Players

5 Signature Techniques from 5 Classic Players

Most of your favourite guitar players probably have something about their style that is unique to them. There are certain things that are intrinsic with specific players and we always associate them with that player, even if it’s something that’s more widely used.

In this lesson we will look at 5 signature techniques that are associated with 5 classic players.

Stevie Ray Vaughan Rhythmic Rakes

5 Signature Techniques from 5 Classic Players

If you want to add some Texas style attitude to your 12 bar playing, you’ll like this one.

This technique is based around a triplet shuffle feel. You are playing a fretted note on the beat and an upwards muted rake on the “a” of the triplet. This phrase lasts for 2 bars so if you are putting this into a 12 bar, this would cover 2 bars of your first chord. This is based in E.

Keep it loose feeling to maintain the SRV style vibe. It doesn’t have to be a perfect triplet. Stevie would often play it slight ahead of the beat to give it a more urgent feel.

David Gilmour Multi Step Bends

5 Signature Techniques from 5 Classic Players

If you want to get those bending fingers in shape, check out this multi step bend in the style of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour.

It starts with a rake into a full step bend. The full step bend is released before being bent up two whole tones, all without re-picking. The two tone bend is very tricky to get to grips with at first and will require a lot of additional finger strength so spend some time tuning the bend.

In the video there is an ear training exercise that will help you better pick this massive bend.

Jimi Hendrix Embellished Chords

5 Signature Techniques from 5 Classic Players
5 Signature Techniques from 5 Classic Players

One thing that Hendrix often gets overlooked for is his ability to make chord progressions and lead guitar cross over. This progression is just three chords.

C#m, B and A, all played as triads with the thumb playing the low E string.

You’ll notice that the chords are combined with notes from the C#m Pentatonic scale to add some lead lines and embellishments.

Eddie Van Halen Two Hand Tapping

5 Signature Techniques from 5 Classic Players
5 Signature Techniques from 5 Classic Players

Eddie Van Halen might not have been the person to invent two handed tapping, but he certainly brought it to mass attention in the late 70s.

Think of this as an extended legato passage. Each tap phrase is a triplet so you’re hitting three notes per beat.

Your fretting hand is just doing a hammer on each time from the 2nd to the 5th fret of the B string. The start of each triplet is the tapped note.

For the first 2 bars, you are tapping the 9th fret on the B string with your picking hand. You should have your fretting hand already in place. When you lift your picking hand finger off the 9th fret, it will act as a pull off to the 2nd fret that your fretting hand is playing ready. Once you hear that 2nd fret, proceed to hammer on with your fretting hand to the 5th fret.

In the third and fourth bar, your tapped note is moving to the 10th fret.

Zakk Wylde Pinched Harmonics

5 Signature Techniques from 5 Classic Players

When you think of Zakk Wylde you think of big, heavy riffs and pinched harmonics.

This technique is done by holding your pick a little closer to the end and brushing the side of the picking hand thumb against the string just after the pick makes contact. The thumb will activate the harmonic.

The harmonic changes depending on where you pinch. Try in between the pickups for the best results.

Don’t forget to crank the gain and digging in hard with the pick also helps. When you hear the harmonic, apply a generous amount of vibrato.

About The Author

Leigh Fuge is a professional guitar player from Swansea in South Wales that has written and created content for many high-profile guitar brands and publications such as PMT, RSL Rockschool, Trinity College London, Guitar.com and more.

He works with mgrmusic.com to provide high quality guitar content for guitar players of all abilities from around the country. To date, mgrmusic.com has successfully generated over 32,000 student enquiries for their network of music teachers around the country. Find a local teacher in your area today.