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Billy Gibbons

Learn to Play Guitar Like ZZ Top’s Reverend Willie G.

Billy F. Gibbons is the kind of guy that is irresistible to watch and hypnotic to hear when he’s on stage with his 1959 Gibson Les Paul electric guitar known to the blues and rock world as “Miss Pearly Gates.” Gibbons, recognized also as “Reverend Willie G.” is the lead vocalist and guitarist for the band ZZ Top. While he has achieved his infamy through his music, he is also an ordained minister with license to perform weddings in 49 states. Anyone that would like to learn to play guitar like the Reverend ought to know that his distinctive sound is the result of using a quarter or a peso as a guitar pick and his masterful use of harmonics.

Billy Gibbons - Gives us a 'Blues' Guitar Lesson

Gibbons was born and raised in Houston, Texas and is touted to be one of the finest blues-rock guitarists to emerge from the state, alongside the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan. He had musical influences in his early years; his father, Fred Gibbons played the piano and gave him appreciation for classical and country sounds. The family’s Afro-American housekeeper introduced him to the blues.

In 1963 at the age of 13, Gibbons received a Gibson Melody Maker electric guitar with a Fender Champ amp and commenced to emulate the new sounds of rock n’ roll bursting from the TV and radio through Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Jimmy Reid. Gibbons was favored while in his band, Moving Sidewalks by one of history’s all-time favorite guitarists, Jimi Hendrix. When the band folded in 1969 he pushed his way permanently onto the music scene when he hooked up with fellow Texans, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard of American Blues to form ZZ Top.

The band was named after the blues master B.B. King and was initially Z.Z. King. The band members shortly changed it to ZZ Top so it didn’t sound too much like their blues hero. Despite the fact that ZZ Top has sold in the range of 60 million records, one of the most memorable moments Gibbons recalls was an early performance when he was relatively unknown.

“Perhaps one of the first performances where the curtain opened and we were greeted by the one paying customer of the evening. We looked at each other, then launched into the show. Played the first set, took a break, went out and bought the guy a Coke and went back and completed the night. We're still friends with the guy!"

Many aspiring blues guitarists have attempted to mimic Gibbon’s eccentric style over the years but it can be frustrating to make it sound as good as the master. Fortunately for us, there is a guitar tuition program available that features Billy Gibbons breaking down his techniques into easy to follow steps. Online guitar lessons give you the chance to begin practicing his famous blues riffs at a slow pace until you can really get going. Gibbons followed some of the greatest musicians in the country while developing his unique style and now technology has made it a simple approach to learning from the genius that changed the course of music history.

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