We kick things off by looking at some "Green Manalishi" inspired thunder. These two note chords (root and third) are very common in Green's playing, and sound suitably ominous when layered over the ringing open E string. Use a little palm muting to help the E string "pop", but keep it light - this isn't modern metal chugging.
An example of some of Green's more aggressive blues phrasing, inspired by his work on "Black Magic Woman". While Green's known for his restraint and simplicity, he wasn't afraid to "busy it up" if the song called for it.
Now, remember when we said that this session would be less about learning the notes and more about *how* they're played? Well, this section is all about that. What separates the way Green would play these tried-and-true blues lines from the way other players would approach them is his touch and timing. There are parts that are going to be bang-on-in-time (like bar 17), and other parts that will be way behind the beat (like bar 14). Listen carefully for which is which and you'll start to develop an instinct for when to lock up and when to be loose.
Likewise, your right hand dynamics are crucial to making these licks sound authentically "Green". Your touch should be light for the most part, but there will be notes (marked as accents in the tab) where you should lay in a little more to open up the tone. If you've dialled your pickup balance just right, you'll notice a distinctly different sound between the louder and softer notes, along with a "singing" quality to the decay on the vibrato.
Also, pay attention to the Gm arpeggio in bar 19: While the bulk of Green's blues soloing was almost exclusively pentatonic, he knew exactly how to "hit the changes" when he wanted to: further proof that his sparse style was born of choice and not ignorance - be sure you don't get it twisted and use Green's impeccable taste as an excuse not to study!
Here we have "that sound" from Black Magic Woman. Roll your neck volume control down just a touch, and play very gently while shaking the guitar's neck to produce a subtle chorusing sound as the reverb tail decays.
This second pass showcases Green's approach to "filling in" around a vocal (inspired by the verses of "I Loved Another Woman"). The lines are deliberately sparse and clean so as not to detract from either the moody quality of the track or the hypothetical vocal line.
We'll keep the neck volume rolled back a little, but we can't go too far with this or the sound will get too "phasey" and thin. To keep these lines clean, you're going to have to play so gently that you might find yourself missing the string entirely - a great test of your control!
Here we're going to explore the soaring sustain of "The Supernatural". Because we can't crank up a high gain amp, we're going to have to get some sustain the old school way - with vibrato and feedback. Unfortunately, you're going to need to shift a bit of air to make this work, since the vibration from your amp will cause the guitar's strings to keep vibrating like a bowed violin. Vibrato will help here too since the friction of the string against the fret will have a similar "bowing" effect.
Here's a bit of trivia for you: If you've ever been to a gig and noticed a few spots on the stage with an "X" marked in tape, that's the spot where the physical interaction between the amp and guitar produce the best sustain. The "X" is there so the guitarist knows where to stand when it's time to sustain a long note (that's how Gary Moore did it!).
If you can't crank things up crazy loud, try touching your guitar's headstock to your speaker cabinet while you hold these sustained notes - the vibration of the cab will transfer into your guitar's neck and produce a similar effect to cranking things up really loud.
More "Manalishi" inspired riffing here, using the same two note chord shapes and light palm muting as the intro. We're outlining the moody sound of the aeolian mode, but pay attention to the slid in bar 50 though - the D# implies harmonic minor for even more drama.
Here we've got some "Oh Well" inspired single note blues riffs, but notice how well it jives with the more spacious parts of "Green Manalishi" (1:48 on the original recording). Be sensitive with your dynamics - play the first two times with a medium attack, and lay in harder on second two times to match what's going on in the accompaniment.
Of course, we couldn't have a Peter Green tech session without looking at his soulful major blues phrasing on "Need Your Love So Bad". Roll back your neck volume a little and be super sensitive with both your timing and right-hand touch. There are notes where you'll need to dig in (like the high bend in bar 67), but for the most part you should use a very gentle touch and a laid back, behind-the-beat time feel. Just because the phrases are simple, doesn't mean they're easy!
So there you have it! Peter Green in a nutshell. Of course, describing Green's style in words and tablature is like trying to taste a gourmet meal by reading the recipe - it's way more than the sum of its parts! When you're learning anything by Peter Green, keep his philosophy in mind - the lines are simple so you can focus on the expression and dynamics. It's not enough to just "play the notes". A valuable lesson we could all do well to remember!