Video: Jeff Massey Teaches Ron Wood's Rhythm Guitar Riffs in Faces and The Rolling Stones

Ron Wood is arguably one of the biggest contributors to rock 'n' roll history, with a legendary resume that includes playing bass in the Jeff Beck Group, guitar in the highly influential band Faces, and, of course, sharing axe duties alongside Keith Richards in a little band known as The Rolling Stones.

Wood is proficient with just about any stringed instrument that crosses his path, which, at times, also includes the lapsteel guitar and pedal steel guitar. But in this lesson, we focus our attention on Ron Woods approach to rhythm guitar. Learning Stones and Faces material and studying how Wood plays both as a single guitarist or with another guitar player has enhanced my own playing immensely. I’ve learned a lot about the guitar and music in general through Ron Wood.

Wood's rhythm sound is primarily based on feel, as well as an almost percussive left hand technique. By releasing the pressure off the chord at just the right moments, Wood creates a hypnotic drum-like driving rhythm that always keeps the groove in the pocket. Wood is also a master of adding single-note fills to a rhythm, utilizing quirky bends and hammer-ons without sacrificing the groove.

At times, his playing is a reflection of something Chuck Berry might do but with a twist that gives Wood's playing a totally original style. You can hear aspects of blues, rock 'n' roll, country, and even folk music all rolled into a sound that's perfectly Wood's own.

I hope you enjoy incorporating these concepts into your rhythm playing. I would recommend not only digging deeper into the Stones and Faces catalog, but also checking out Wood's fantastic solo records and his work with the Richards/Wood project The New Barbarians.


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