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5 guitar tricks you can learn from Warren Haynes

5 guitar tricks you can learn from Warren Haynes
(Image credit: Steve Schaefer/Getty Images)

Warren Haynes is perhaps best known as the longtime guitarist with Southern rock greats the Allman Brothers Band. 

He has also enjoyed a long solo career as a singer-songwriter, with a string of great live and studio recordings released with his own Warren Haynes Band and also with Gov’t Mule – essentially a Haynes-fronted Allman Brothers side project.

Over the years, Warren has been closely associated with Gibson guitars, often being seen sporting a Les Paul 58 reissue or playing his signature Les Paul models. ES-335s and Firebirds also feature in his arsenal, alongside a couple of Fenders and PRSs. 

You don’t necessarily need a Gibson, but a humbucker-equipped guitar is near essential to recreate the majority of Warren’s thick, overdriven tones.

This month’s tab examples demonstrate a few of the key techniques and stylings Warren employs when soloing. Our backing track features a Warren Haynes band style chord progression that is great fun to solo over. 

All the licks in the lesson use the B minor pentatonic scale as their foundation – with other flavour tones added in to taste. Check out the 1993 album Warren Haynes Band Live at the Sting to hear more of his explosive style.

Example 1. String Bends & Pentatonics

(Image credit: Future)

Our first example exploits trusty fingering for the best known shape of the minor pentatonic scale (usually known as ‘shape 1’), with a few extra notes from outside the scale. 

The two fret-bending points exist on the 9th fret of the third string and the 10th fret of the second string.

Example 2. Clashing String Bends

(Image credit: Future)

This lick opens with a string-bend technique known as an ‘oblique bend’. Hold the first string steady on the 17th fret then bend the second string. 

For a Hendrix-inspired clashing bend in Bar 3, grab the third string and pre-bend it as you bend the second string. When you strike the pre-bent string, release the bend for a clash.

Example 3. Repeatable Phrases

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Example 4. Screaming Bends

(Image credit: Future)

It’s possible to bend and play two strings at the same time – and it’s a great blues hack, too. If there’s a ‘trick’ to this, it’s not to play too tidily. 

These bends really scream when the notes aren’t too accurate. So, just let rip with your fieriest bends – and remember, it’s not an exact science!

Example 5. Pedal Tone Lick

(Image credit: Future)

Notice the repeating 16th fret note on the third string in the opening two bars. Known as a ‘pedal tone’, a repeating note like this provides a solid base to play around and focuses your lick around a continuous, unchanging root. 

If you tend to widdle across the length of the fretboard, this is a cool way to add a bit of focus.