In his early heyday Peter Green was quite possibly the greatest of all British blues guitarists. B.B. King named him as his favourite British player stating ‘He has the sweetest tone I ever heard – he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.’ If imitation is the truest form of flattery, it’s easy to see why King liked Green so much. Many of the characteristics of B.B.’s playing are reflected in Green’s approach: The economical phrasing, the stinging – soulful vibrato, dramatic use of space, careful pacing and sweet – yet biting tone are all there. Green obviously spent time studying and absorbing B.B.’s style so that it could be drawn upon in a natural and personal way.
His famous introduction to Need Your Love So Bad – a song originally recorded by Little Willie John – is subtly nuanced and elegantly restrained. Most of the phrases are based on the A major pentatonic scale, with the occasional C natural providing a bluesy minor third. Each group of notes stands on it’s own as a phrase, but they lead on from one to the next in a seamless manner, culminating in a careful sequence of rising thirds which neatly connect the changing chords.
There is no standard, universal way to notate bends on the guitar. My approach is to try to be as non-fussy as possible. To this end I’ve merely indicated the note which initiates the bend with a stemless grace note, followed by a curved ascending line. When no grace note precedes the line, as in bar three, it is safe to say the slur should be produced by a slide rather than a bend. In bar four, the slur involves hammering on to the note B, bending it up to C and back again, before pulling off to A. The combination should sound as smooth as possible.