Rockabilly: The Guitar of Brian Setzer Page Four

Next Brian explains his bare bones pedal board which he doesn't rely on and uses just for fun and calls them bells and whistles. He shows us an octave box which he says is good for single string work only and that you cant play chords with it.

Next he has a chorus for 'swirly' moments. Then he has a two tube screamers - they look like those overpriced Ibanez TS-08's - one has more gain so that's why he needs the two and lastly a wah-wah pedal which he uses to get a pedal steel sound. Brian shows us what each of those sound like and how he usually applies them..

Example 28 is just what it says Tricks, Riffs and licks. Here we get an A9 run which is advanced material and a way to break out of the pentatonic boxes. You need to know quite a few jazz chords and your scales and to be able to fingerpick. Brian is doing scales all over the neck and you can tell that even though he makes it look easy, that he worked his hiney off for a long, long time to become so accomplished. Anyway like I said you have to be pretty good to play like he does and sing at the same time.

I love some of the great bass lines in Brians oeuvre and the way he uses horns and saxophone too. In example 35 he shows us the almost same lick Wayne Kramer plays in the MC5's Looking at You only he plays it all trebly using his Gretch instead of Kramer using his signature American flag Fender Strat guitar.

Brian has a signature Gretch too. In fact the one he uses here looks vintage. Fender owns Gretch these days. Or maybe its Gibson. Anyway he moves on to play a jazzed up swamp pedal thing going on with his thumb and bending strings in the Key of E (ex 35-37).

Now he talks "delay" and the famous Sun Records rockabilly use of delay then he plays "Sleepwalk" an incredibly hip song written by Santo & Johnny Farina, a classic instrumental hit from 1959. Check out the original sometime. He doesn't explain how to play it unfortunately.

Brian teaches Brian Page One | Page Two | Page Three | Page Four | Page Five

Role Models

“There’s nothing like the eureka moment of knocking off a song that didn’t exist before – I won’t compare it to sex, but it lasts longer.”
― Paul McCartney