Uli Jon Roth Style

by Ben Higgins

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  • Hi GMC and welcome to my latest lesson. Uli Jon Roth is a German born guitarist who first came to prominence as the lead guitarist for The Scorpions, playing on 4 studio albums in the 70's, before forming his own band, Firewind and later recording classically influenced solo albums.

    His style could be described as being an early incarnation of neo classical guitar playing that was to become more popular in the 80's. He used modes like Phrygian Domiant and Harmonic Minor and precise runs. His guitar style in the 70's was a combination of using a Fender Strat, a semi distorted guitar tone, precise picking, Hendrix style whammy bar licks and a wide vibrato.

    Uli (and players he influenced like Yngiwe Malmsteen and Marty Friedman) use a choppy, staccato picking style that I describe as a rest stroke because it bears a similarity to the technique used in classical guitar playing:

    Apoyando is a method of plucking used in both Classical guitar and Flamenco guitar known in English as 'Rest Stroke'. (A direct translation of 'Apoyando' from Spanish would be "resting". Rest stroke gets its name because after plucking the string, the finger rests on the adjacent string after it follows through, giving a slightly rounder, often punchier sound (contrast with tirando). The apoyando stroke is not intuitive so is rarely used by beginners. Most players will use the tirando or 'free-stroke' and will have difficulty in managing the apoyando. - Wikipedia

    However, instead of using fingers we are using a pick but the principle is the same. After picking a note, the pick either rests against the adjacent string (a string higher than the plucked note, eg. if the note was played on the G string, the pick would stop against the B string). Another variation that is used a lot by Uli is resting the pick against the very string he just picked. This produces a staccato sound which stops the note quickly after it has been played and is an aggressive sound that works well in classical phrases.

    To emulate Uli's tone I use the neck pickup mostly, with occasional flashes of bridge pickup.

    So, pick up your guitar and go back in time to the 70's!


    Gear used:
    Marshall JVM, OD1 Channel, Yellow setting. BASS - 2, MID - 6.5, TREB - 6, GAIN - 3

    Tuning: Standard

    Tempo: 110bpm

    Scales used:

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