billy gibbons

Micki Free with his sidekicks: JMP 2061X heads, 1974X combos, and SV20C combos. The guitar is a Teye Gypsy Queen model.

The veteran blues-rocker uses low-wattage amps to creative a massive, high-intensity sound that nods to heroes like Hendrix, Trower, and early Clapton.

Micki Free is not a less-is-more kind of player—at least when it comes to amps. His setup is all reissue Marshalls: two JMP 2061X heads perched on 4x12 stacks, a pair of 1974X combos, and double SV20C 1x10 combos. They look great together and, of course, sound even better.

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Learn a few secrets about how the king of Texas boogie-rock combines attitude with soul.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Beginner
Lesson Overview:
• Understand how to focus on chord tones in your phrases.
• Learn the subtle art of understated slide guitar.
• Develop a more laid-back feel.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons has been cutting records and touring the world for almost 50 years, and as a result his name and massive beard have become almost synonymous with Texas blues-rock guitar. Gibbons has never been a fast player, nor has he relied on blazing technique to connect with the audience, but if you’re looking for tips and tricks to take your blues playing to the next level, there’s much to learn from the Rev. In the pursuit of scales, arpeggios, and tricky theory, it’s all too easy to lose your connection with phrasing, timing, vibrato, and tone. Gibbons has these essential qualities in spades.

From his Texas blues roots to the disco influence of the ’80s, Gibbons has explored different sounds over the decades. He even dipped his toes into Cuban waters on his recent solo album, Perfectamundo. For this lesson we’ll turn to the absolutely timeless Eliminator. Released in 1983, it has a definite dance edge, thanks to the drums and production, but the riffs are still as blues-rock as they come.

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Billy Gibbons teamed up with Babicz to create a bridge that can be strung up both from the back (à la BFG) or through the body of the guitar.

Wall Township, New Jersey (January 4, 2016) -- Babicz and AP International are proud to announce the BFG Humbucker bridge.  Designed in cooperation with Billy Gibbons, the BFG utilizes the patented Babicz “eCAM” saddle design and can string both from the back (à la BFG) or through the body of the guitar.  This production model represents the same bridge Billy is currently touring with.  According to the Reverend himself, “The Babicz is stabilizing intonation, and is no doubt maintaining accuracy throughout an evening's thrashing, keeping exacting pitch all the while. Amazing. The Babicz design fundamentals make for a remarkable work indeed".

Babicz Full Contact Hardware is designed to maximize and maintain consistent contact between the vibrating guitar string and the guitar/bass body. Most conventional guitar and bass bridges, especially after making adjustments for intonation and action, leave space between the saddle and bridge, which greatly reduces the sonic integrity of the string. With Babicz Full Contact Hardware, you can adjust your action as high or low as desired while maintaining maximum string transference to the body, for optimum tone, dynamic range, pitch stability and resonance. Babicz Full Contact Hardware can be found at Winter NAMM 2016.

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