Joe Bonamassa shows you how to incorporate volume swells into your solos

Joe Bonamassa
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

One of the most expressive tools for electric guitar players is the use of the volume swell. An essential element in the arsenals of such legendary players as Danny Gatton, Roy Buchanan, Walter Trout, and, of course, Jeff Beck, a volume swell is produced by raising the volume of the guitar from zero to “on” after picking a string

The note’s initial attack is inaudible through the amplifier, after which its sustain fades in, or “blossoms,” getting louder as you turn up your guitar's volume knob. When done correctly, the sound produced is like that of a bowed instrument, such as a violin or cello. Once you have the technique down, it’s possible to play long phrases wherein each note is sounded with a quick volume swell. 

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Joe Bonamassa

Joe Bonamassa is one of the world’s most popular and successful blues-rock guitarists – not to mention a top producer and de facto ambassador of the blues (and of the guitar in general).