Zakk Wylde Credits ZZ Top as Inspiration to Use Pinch Harmonics
Anyone who has spent more than a minute listening to Zakk Wylde's guitar work is familiar with those squealing sounds — pinch harmonics — he frequently employs. His usage of the pinch harmonics has become a meme of its own within the rock and metal community and now we finally have the answer to how it all began.
"My pinch harmonics came from when I was with my guitar teacher and we were learning how to play 'La Grange' [by ZZ Top] and stuff like that," Wylde revealed in a roundtable discussion with Lzzy Hale (Halestorm), Zoltan Bathory (Five Finger Death Punch) and Ben Bruce (Asking Alexandria) for Guitar World. "[ZZ Top guitarist] Billy Gibbons, to me, is the forefather of the whole pinch harmonic thing, for sure," he added.
Furthering the talk about the roots of his guitar playing, Wylde credited Black Sabbath, which was no surprise considering how vocal he has been throughout his career about what a massive Sabbath fan he is. "Sabbath is always the dominant ingredient," the guitarist affirmed, explaining, "The riffs are inspired by the guys I love, and it’s an exploration of that love. It’s where we were from, you know? Whatever music it is you love, that’s what you should build. Not what everybody tells you, like, 'This is popular and if you don’t do this, you’re not going to succeed,' it just doesn’t work that way. You have to be true to who you are and what you love playing, and it will naturally come back."
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