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Green DayPlayer94

BJA Weird Guitar Technique

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Green DayPlayer94

So awhile ago, I saw this one interview with Billie in a magazine, and what he said about one of his guitar techniques really intrigued me.

 

Quote

What do you call it when you choke up on the pick to make your guitar squeal a little bit? A pinch harmonic? I learned that as a kid, and it just stuck with me. People might not realize it, but I often have my thumb way up on the pick when I play rhythm. I think it kind of adds a bit more punch when you’re playing the faster stuff, and you want some absolutely pulverizing guitar. I don’t think many players do that. I have a giant callous on my thumb from doing it.

 

So immediately, I tried it. Unfortunately though, I don't quite understand how he does it. I assume he just means that he grazes his thumb against the strings along with his pick. Maybe I just have to fiddle around with it more. So to all the guitar players out there, I guess this is a new technique to try? How do you guys interpret what he says here? Does it work/make a difference for you? This post may be kind of pointless, but a lot of people seem to want to know how to get a guitar tone similar to Billie's. Maybe this is the missing element for all the guys out there with Marshall stacks, an LPJ with a P-90, and a strat with a tilted SH-4.

Here's the link to the article: https://www.guitarplayer.com/players/green-days-billie-joe-armstrong-once-again-proves-the-power-chord-is-king (I was at the Palladium show that they talk about in the article too! I don't live in LA though 😄)

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Beerjeezus

It's easy peasy as soon as you find the right place to hold the pick. The way I understand it and what I do is that I hold the pick like...in its middle so that my thumb is close to the tip just to that if I want, I can give the strings an extra hit with my thumb and when I strum chords. It gives me that thick sound I want.

Billie explains it very well actually - it's just like pinch harmonics (is that really what they're called in English? :P) but instead of one string and playing a harmonic you just strum as you normally would. Basically the harmonics done wrong haha

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Joe.

Sounds like it might add something but I don't think its the be all and end all of his sound

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Second favourite son

I don’t get how this works.  I understand how pinch harmonics would produce harmonics on single strings, but if you’re strumming all 6 then how is it a harmonic unless you’re fretting all the strings on the same fret?  Is it not just a different kind of muting?

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Beerjeezus
8 hours ago, Second favourite son said:

I don’t get how this works.  I understand how pinch harmonics would produce harmonics on single strings, but if you’re strumming all 6 then how is it a harmonic unless you’re fretting all the strings on the same fret?  Is it not just a different kind of muting?

No, it's not a harmonic anymore when you strum that way. It's just a very similar thing to do with your thumb but the sound is different. It's not muted, it's like each string gets strummed twice first with the pick and then with the thumb very shortly after.

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disappearingfs

I think I know what you mean and how it works. Unintenionally (sort of) I learned guitar trying to do what Billie Joe was actually doing on the instruments. I've never had lessons (not on my early ''sessions'', at least, I studied music later for personal wishes) or books, so I've spent most of my adolescence watching the International Supervideos! DVD, molesting the remote control, stopping and going with the buttoms, just to figure out what he was doing. Live shows from the Nimrod period helped me a lot to understand wich chords were the right ones for that particular song. Apart from this, our poet mentioned Van Halen different times, talking about the way the guitarist plays some sections of his own songs. It's not really a 100% armonic thing but something similiar. A mix of thumb and pick. Funnily, I never found a good tone to sound like ''Basket Case'' and ''When I Come Around'' then, one day, age 12 or 13, I realized I did, with my fingers only. I play guitar with picks, most of the time, but, due to a very low quality-life, I never had free times to play guitar in peace, so when I had the chance, I had to play it in every way, with lights out, eyes closed and... fingers. That weird tecnique is something he uses instinctly, when palm muting. As well as his ''old'' arm strumming, accentuating drummer ''bits'' with a fast down/up/down/up kind of strum. I'm not a great guitarist or even musician, but I guess that's what he does, a mix of right hand's palm, pick and finger. It's easier to do than to say. But, like I said, it's something he does instinctly. It's only a case, the fact I used to play the same way. Not to emulate, I only wanted to learn Green Day songs and I've only had a DVD with him doing it great. So I tried to learn, eheh... :-)

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