Magazine article Guitar Player

From A to Zee: Josh Zee Makes the Ordinary Extraordinary

Magazine article Guitar Player

From A to Zee: Josh Zee Makes the Ordinary Extraordinary

Article excerpt

YOU MAY RECOGNIZE JOSH ZEE FROM such bands as Protein, the Mother Truckers, the South Austin Moonlighters, or his current blues band Mojo Rising. If you do, you know him to be a countrified blues-rock badass who combines Van Halen swagger with B.B. King soul. His greatest gift seems to be playing fresh, unusual licks over seemingly run-of-the-mill changes. Let's dissect how he attacks a I-IV in G. Giddy up.

He starts out with a G major lick based around a seventh-position G grip (the D-shaped triangle one). This sets up the high-energy triplet feel that will permeate and pervade this solo. Lean into that A bend as the IV chord hits. That's the VI of the C chord and will be a recurring motif. Zee tags the B[flat] on the pre-bent B string, but I've notated it on the E string to let those two notes rub together in a nasty, dirty way. Your choice. (Hint: make it dirty.)

He then launches into a blazing G blues scale series of triplets, and when you get to the B[flat] on the G string, bend it up--somewhere between a quarter- and a half-step--toward the B. Anytime there's a pause, like at the end of this phrase, fill it with greasy slides up and down the neck. Hell yeah!

The next section is particularly cool. With a crazy fingerstyle picking pattern, Zee outlines three of the four notes of a C7 chord, but he's playing them over the G chord. "It basically creates a Gm6 tonality," Zee explains, "because you've got the B[flat] and the E on top. …

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