Classic Albums - Tres Hombres

Guitars Lessons by Danny Gill

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Tres Hombres Album Analysis: A Guitarist's Perspective

Released in July, 1973, Tres Hombres is the third studio album by American rock royalty ZZ Top. Considered the band’s true breakthrough release, Tres Hombres is a masterful melding of complementary styles, cramming Southern rock and blues boogie through ZZ Top’s own idiosyncratic filter. A definitive Classic Album for all guitar fans.

In this course, LickLibrary veteran Danny Gill walks you through the many highlights of each song from this classic rock staple one phrase at a time, including Billy Gibbons legendary guitar riffs and lead lines from tracks such as: “Waitin’ For The Bus,” “Precious And Grace” and the iconic “La Grange.”

Guitar Lessons in this Bundle

Guitar Lesson 1: "Waitin' for the Bus"

The opening song reveals the bluesy heart of ZZ Top's music. The guitar scales mainly used here are E minor pentatonic and blues scale. The key feature is Billy Gibbons' rhythmic riffs played over a shuffling beat. The lead line features vibrato and string-bending, with quick slides to accent certain notes.

Guitar Lesson 2: "Jesus Just Left Chicago"

This track showcases Gibbons' knack for slow blues. Using the Bb minor pentatonic scale, Gibbons delivers a series of emotional solos, characterized by his frequent use of vibrato and slides. Notably, the song exhibits a rich interplay between rhythm and lead guitar parts.

Guitar Lesson 3: "Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers"

Here, ZZ Top explores E mixolydian mode. The rhythm guitar delivers a steady stream of power chords, while the lead showcases alternate picking and pull-offs, adding complexity to the track. In the solo, Gibbons takes full advantage of the pentatonic box shape, adding double stops and bluesy bends.

Guitar Lesson 4: "Master of Sparks"

In this track, Gibbons' mastery of slide guitar and open-string riffs is evident. The band experiments with the A minor scale, resulting in a haunting sonic landscape. The syncopated rhythms complement Gibbons' guitar work, making this track a unique listening experience.

Guitar Lesson 5: "Hot, Blue and Righteous"

This song is a lesson in utilizing major pentatonic scales for soulful leads. Gibbons uses the G major pentatonic scale to give the track its signature southern sound. The lead guitar part features extensive string-bending and vibrato.

Guitar Lesson 6: "Move Me on Down the Line"

This track demonstrates the band's aptitude for creating memorable riffs using power chords. Gibbons uses A minor pentatonic scale for the lead part, featuring unison bends and trills to accentuate the song's upbeat tempo.

Guitar Lesson 7: "Precious and Grace"

The rhythm guitar lays a solid foundation with a series of barre chords, while the lead guitar navigates the E minor pentatonic scale. The solo section showcases a blend of pull-offs and double-stop bends.

Guitar Lesson 8: "La Grange"

Arguably the band's most recognized song, "La Grange" features an A minor pentatonic scale for the memorable opening riff and for the frenetic, syncopated lead sections. This track is an essential study in palm-muting technique.

Guitar Lesson 9: "Sheik"

Here, the band experiments with the D minor pentatonic scale. Gibbons' skill in hammer-ons and pull-offs shines through the lead lines, and his use of alternate picking helps keep the rhythm tight and punchy.

Guitar Lesson 10: "Have You Heard?"

Closing the album with a slow blues number, ZZ Top utilizes the G minor pentatonic scale. This track provides another example of Gibbons' string-bending and vibrato skills, concluding the album on a high note.

Billy Gibbons: The Magic Behind the Strings

Billy Gibbons' contributions to "Tres Hombres" cannot be overstated. His ability to effortlessly switch between rhythm and lead parts is the backbone of the album's sound. Gibbons' blues-inspired guitar playing, his creative use of scales, and his masterful guitar techniques make this album a true gem.

Techniques Used in the Album

  1. Vibrato
  2. Alternate Picking
  3. Slide
  4. Power Chords
  5. String-Bending
  6. Pull-Offs
  7. Hammer-Ons
  8. Palm-Muting
  9. Double-Stop Bends
  10. Unison Bends
  11. Barre Chords
  12. Syncopated Rhythms
  13. Open-String Riffs
  14. Trills
  15. Bluesy Bends


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Technical Details

  • Code


  • Artist

    ZZ Top

  • Media

    Online Stream, Download, 2x DVD set

  • Media format


  • Genre

    Classic Rock, Blues Rock, 70's Rock, Rock

  • Skill level

    Suitable For All

  • EIN No


  • TAB NOT Included

  • NB: If purchasing as 'DVD', please ensure that your DVD player fully supports the 'Media format' (PAL ONLY) that this product is available in, as indicated above.

About The Tutor

Tutor Profile

Danny Gill

Danny Gill is, without a doubt, the most loved tutor by our community. With an incredible array of DVDs and web lessons for LickLibrary covering a wide variety of topics all of which he covers with incredible detail, it's no wonder he carries as much respect as he does. As...

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