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John 5 Guitar Lesson — Tuning and Bending Tips and Tricks via Streetwater

August 16, 2018

World-renowned rocker John 5 shows Sweetwater's Nick Bowcott some cool guitar tricks. Check out the tabs for this lesson below.

 

Curtesy of www.streetwater.com

 

In example 1, John uses the following four things to emulate the sound of one of his favorite instruments — the pedal-steel guitar — on his signature Tele:

  1. Behind-the-nut string bends — achieved by applying carefully controlled downward pressure on the string he wants to bend behind the nut. Photo A captures him doing that on the G string (which is tuned to G# in this example).

     

    Photo A: John 5’s behind-the-nut string-bending technique.

  1. Tune the guitar to an open E major chord (low to high: E, B, E, G#, B, E).

  2. Fingerpick the strings, as in photo B.

     

     

  3. Photo B: Note — no pick!

  4. Use clean tone and allow all the notes to ring.

    Example 2 illustrates John’s clever use of open-string notes and a diagonally symmetric fingering pattern to create a neat little meandering E major run.

    Last but certainly not least, example 3 has John tuning his low and high E strings down a whole step to D — an action that gives him three D strings that are each an octave apart. Then by using these three strings, he combines the open-string notes, rapid-fire hammer-ons, subtle but effective palm-muting, lightning speed, and incredibly accurate string skipping with both hands to create a mesmerizing melodic run with a healthy helping of distortion.

    On the subject of picking this string-skipping sizzler: as you’ll see in the accompanying video, John is a deft employer of hybrid picking (using a combination of his plectrum and fingers to pick the strings), a technique well worth mastering when it comes to carrying out string-skipping stuff with both speed and efficiency.

     

     

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