LESSON > SHRED YOUR ENTHUSIASM
Johnny Cash vs.
BY PAUL GILBERT
Paul Gilbert purposefully began playing guitar
at age 9, formed the guitar-driven bands Racer
X and Mr. Big, and then accidentally had a No.
1 hit with an acoustic song called “To Be with
You.” Paul began teaching at GIT at the age of
18, has released countless albums and guitar
instructional DVDs, and will be remembered as
“the guy who got the drill stuck in his hair.” For
more information, visit paulgilbert.com
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sound clips of
pinky is the first to arrive, so I let it grab a
note here and there. If you give your pinky
some exercise, it will serve you well. Just
keep it out of cold weather.
This month’s example is a simple blues
progression in A, with a few extra chords
thrown in. But for a rock ’n’ roll guitarist
like me, those extra chords such as D#dim7,
F#+, Bm9, and various altered E7 chords
can be as formidable as facing an ostrich
charge. My only defense is to practice and
listen, and practice and listen even more,
getting my fingers and ears around these
sounds. I like these sounds, so that’s why I
go through the trouble.
The solo pattern is built from two
notes going up, followed by two notes
going down. To simplify, just think: two
up, two down. Soloists often play a lot of
notes in one direction, so I like how this
phrase reverses so often. It keeps the ear
This is also a good workout for alter-
nate picking. I recommend starting with a
downstroke followed by an upstroke, and
just keeping that pattern going. For the left
hand, I’ve written out the details with tab-
lature to show you where you can find the
notes on the neck. Measure 10 is definitely
the craziest pinky-stretching and string-
skipping moment of the piece. There are
other possible fingerings for these notes, but
I think this is the easiest one to keep the
notes sounding clear.
Johnny Cash was attacked by an ostrich. It was his own ostrich. In recalling the
incident, Johnny theorized that the ostrich
was angry over the loss of its mate, which
had died from a bout of cold weather—
several of the ostriches that Johnny was
keeping on his property were frozen as well.
Johnny also claims that he only survived the
attack because he happened to be wearing a
particularly large leather belt.
I feel so normal after hearing a story like
this. I have no ostriches on my property,
and my belt is not imposing in any way.
I’m sure that Johnny wasn’t trying
to be outrageous or showy by owning
ostriches. I’m guessing that he just wanted
to have some around, so he went out and
got them. Similarly, I’m not trying to be
outrageous or showy by using my pinky
to reach the notes in the example on the
following page. I just like these notes, so I
go out and look for them. Sometimes the
I heartily encourage you to reach over the top of
the neck and hold down some nice, big bass notes.
Hendrix did it. Why not give it a try?
PREMIER GUITAR JUNE 2012 73