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"Ron Thal Rips"

Jeff Beasley holds B.A. degrees in Music and Classical Guitar. Jeff offers 27 years of experience in teaching, studio, and performance. He is endorsed by T. Sheppard guitars and is a member of the National Guitar Teachers Association. Jeff has taught guitar full-time for 17 years at A.B. Stephens Music in Huntsville, Alabama. He is currently priming the release of his first all-instrumental CD, "Tiebreaker", soon to be available at

Greetings Musicians Hotline readers, and welcome to this month's lesson, the second in a series of three with the incredible Ron Thal of Bumblefoot. If you read last month's lesson you've got a taste of Ron's uncanny melodic abilities. This month we have a plethora of guitar examples that reveal some of Ron's rhythmic vocabulary and awesome musical individuality. The tracks covered in this lesson use everything from compound time signatures to two-handed tapping techniques. I hear international influences scattered throughout the tracks mixed with sheer groove. Good luck and may the force be with you. Let's get started.

Example 1: In our first example Ron uses a compound time signature and unusual two-hand technique. "Lost" from the Bumblefoot CD 9.11 ((c)2001, Hermit Inc.), illustrates a five against four rhythm: the right hand tapping in sequences of five and the left hand in sequences of four. The left hand hammers on with the second and third fingers. Lightly touch the first finger across strings to keep open strings from ringing.

"Lost" guitar riff 1 (0:00-0:05)

"Lost" (rhythm 1) MP3 clip

Example 2:
In the next example of "Lost," Ron changes to a five against three rhythm, with the right hand tapping in sequences of five and the left hand hammering in triplets.

"Lost" guitar riff 1 (0:48-0:53)

"Lost" (rhythm 2) MP3 clip

Example 3: "Ronald's Comin' Back Now" from the CD Uncool ((c)2002, Hermit Inc.) is one of the more challenging examples in this lesson. Ron suggests a "galloping" rhythm on the up beat.

"Ronald's Comin' Back Now" rhythm (0:44-1:10)

"Ronald's Comin' Back Now" MP3 clip

Example 4: In the song "Vomit" from the CD Hands ((c)1998, Hermit Inc.), Ron incorporates the flat-picking technique (chicken pickin'). The symbol "f" indicates a simultaneous plucking of strings one, two and three: the first string with the fourth finger, second string with the third finger, and the third string with the second finger.

"Vomit" rhythm (1:33-1:43)

"Vomit" MP3 clip

Well Musicians Hotline guitarists, yet again Ron has given us an insight into his unique and powerful abilities as a guitarist and a musician. I hope you've gained as much as I have from this lesson and have been inspired to push yourself deeper in your understanding of rhythm guitar. Ron shows that being a versatile rhythm guitarist can be just as challenging as any other aspect of being a musician. Next month we will do our third and final lesson with Ron. I hope you've enjoyed this series on Ron and Bumblefoot. Don't miss the next month's issue when Ron once again shares his unique talent. You can learn more about Ron and Bumblefoot by visiting God bless you and see you next issue.

April 2004