Billy Joel...Crosspicking (DBX)?

Yes, the title is slightly click bait and mostly directed at Troy since he’s a huge Billy Joel fan (as everyone should be), but hear me out. Though the piano man doesn’t play guitar that I know of, he’s always backed by awesome players. I had this great tune stuck in my head and figured the arpeggiated guitars were probably finger picked. But since I went down the DBX rabbit hole nearly 2 years ago I take every opportunity I can to find excuses to use the technique. I stumbled upon this video and to my surprise, the guitarists don’t finger pick it at all, but take a DBX alternate picking approach:

The guitarists each have a different setup, one being more pronated, the other pretty supinated. (EDIT: I guess the guy I said was pronated is actually more “lightly supinated”). Very interestingly, unless my eyes deceive me, these guys are starting on an upstroke. I can play it starting on either up or down, but for whatever reason, it does feel a little easier to start on an upstroke. Well, maybe not for whatever reason. Starting on an upstroke will make this all outside changes. I’ve definitely noticed in my DBX endeavors that when there are any “skips”, outside changes feel easier. If it’s all adjacent switches I don’t think I perceive any differences.

Here’s the first 2 bars the way I hear (one of) the parts.

It’s super cool how they harmonize just in places. Like in that second measure, one of them is playing an open G string while the other keeps that second fret “A” down, giving us that nice dissonance of a major 2nd interval.

The speed on this is pretty low, but I still think you’d know right away if your technique is the dreaded “string hopping”. Just to sanity check myself, I’ll occasionally attempt something with intentional string hopping just to cement what inefficient feels like, and compare that to what I’m really going for. If I do that on this piece it gets fatiguing pretty quickly. That makes me think this is a decent DBX etude. I hope someone will find this a nice little addition to their DBX dabbling :wink:

Oh yeah and happy new year, everyone! :partying_face: :partying_face: :partying_face:


This is a great little piece of music that’s a lot of fun to play - thanks for sharing, Joe!

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Now do the banjo part from “Travelin’ Prayer”

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If you were a fan of Billy check out his early band “The Hassles”. He was 17 years old in that band. The 2nd record is a strange horror concept record “hour of the wolf”. Richie McKenner was the guitar
player in The Hassles. Worth a listen if you like Billy and it’s high energy music for the most part.

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