Derek Trucks has been tackling Beck’s Bolero in his own spectacular fashion – watch him nail Jeff Beck’s influential guitar tour de force

Derek Trucks performing live
(Image credit: Astrida Valigorsky/WireImage/Getty Images)

In tribute to the late Jeff Beck, Derek Trucks has been playing the electric guitar legend’s 1966 instrumental epic Beck’s Bolero while on tour with the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Beck passed away at the age of 78 earlier this year, prompting an immediate outpouring of emotional tributes from the wider guitar community, both on stage and on social media. 

Prominent examples include Eric Clapton’s mammoth Jeff Beck tribute shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall from May, which saw Slowhand, Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Kirk Hammett, Ronnie Wood and countless others honor Beck’s memory with a triumphant eight-minute jam of Going Down – a track that featured at Jeff Beck’s funeral.

But for Trucks, honoring the legacy of his fellow fingerstyle master has become a full-time consideration, with the Gibson SG-wielding slide titan adding Beck’s Bolero to the band’s setlist for their summer tour.

To take on Beck’s Bolero just once is hard enough – Beck’s first solo recording is widely considered one of the most influential guitar instrumentals ever committed to tape – but to include it as a setlist stalwart over various points during an entire tour (and seemingly nail it each time) is another achievement altogether.

Of course, owing to Trucks’ own elite feel, phrasing, fingerstyle control and dynamic sensibilities, he’s probably one of the best-equipped individuals currently around to take on such a daunting task – a task, judging by various video clips, he passes with flying colors each time.

In a technical tour de force of both left-hand and right-hand ability, Trucks takes his SG to town, introducing some of his own mid-lick embellishments while ensuring to stay faithful to Beck’s mountainous melodies.

As the closing stages roll in, the high-octane cover reaches its peak: Trucks takes artistic liberty to blitz through a barrage of upper register licks that combine both his slide and picking abilities to devastating effect.

Trucks isn’t the only guitar player to tackle Beck’s Bolero in memory of the Fender Stratocaster master: In May, Joe Perry doffed his cap to one of his heroes with a faithful, impassioned cover of the iconic instrumental from the fretboard of a custom Telecaster.

Tommy Emmanuel also celebrated Beck’s memory with a heartfelt acoustic fingerstyle performance of Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers – a track that was also covered by Clapton and Gary Clark Jr. at the Royal Albert Hall tribute shows.

Visit the Tedeschi Trucks Band website for a list of upcoming tour dates.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.