How To Succeed Without Really Whammying
By Steven Rosen-Guitar World-November 1986
Virginia-born Jake E. Lee stands virtually alone in the arena of electric guitar players. The lanky guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne is one of the very few guitar gladiators confronting the beast of heavy metal without a vibrato bar Armed solely with his modified Fender Stratocaster and 10 digits, Jake reproduces sounds and effects others could only attempt with a whammy bar and, like David against Goliath, he has proven that one need not go into battle wielding a steel straw. A listen to Bark At The Moon or the more recent The Ultimate Sin displays his unique use of finger vibrato, neck-bending and beyond-bridge tweaking to make up for the absence of bar. And even Ozzy-originally an unbeliver-was instantly converted once he heard Jake?s whammy-less approach. Now holding the chair once hallowed by the late Randy Rhoads, one of the more apt students of the shimmy bar, Jake has had a difficult case to prove.
But the verdict is in and the thumbs are up and Jake E. Lee is making heads turn. Lee began playing at age 13, when he picked up his sister?s ?beat-up acoustic?. The first song he learned was the Guess Who?s ?No Time? and in no time he was fronting his own original bands in his stomping ground of San Diego. There was a notion that this city lying 120 miles south of Los Angeles was too far from the musical mainstream and, packing his guitar, he moved north. Ratt, a one time local band in San Diego, were just breaking into the L.A. club circuit and within a month of his arrival, Lee had a gig. But this was relatively short-lived.
?Stephen (Pearcy) was mainly why I quit Ratt. He was getting ridiculously drunk onstage and announcing songs we?d just played and forgetting words. He was embarrassing.?
Consequently, Jake referred Pearcy to Warren DeMartini, also from San Diego, and Lee went through a series of local bands. Ultimately, he joined Rough Cutt-for all the wrong reasons. ?I felt bad about that because I didn?t like the band that much and I only joined because of the Dio connection and because I wasn?t doing anything. I hated to see another guitarist lose a gig.?
Rough Cutt ,too, failed to keep his attention and when the audition for Ozzy?s band landed in his lap, he-reluctantly-traded licks with the rest of the hopefuls. He has gone on to become a major light, his playing consistently exciting, inventive and sleek. His only lacking quality is knowing what time of day it is-he was 45 minutes late to the Ozzy audition, late for the first flight of the first date on Ozzy?s American tour and an hour late for this interview (but well worth waiting for). But his responses are to the point, timely and honest, and once he takes off on a subject, the hands of the clock may move visibly forward before he finishes his comment.
We give you Jake E. Lee: the man who hates time and tremolos??
GW: You had far more input on The Ultimate Sin than you did on Bark At The Moon. Did you want to become more involved or was that just a natural process?
Jake: ?It was thrust upon me, more or less. I wanted more input. Every band I?ve ever been in I had almost complete control over. Except for Ratt, which was almost a partnership between me and Stephen (Pearcy, vocalist), but I had control over the music. It was like a Van Halen/Roth thing. Stephen had control over the clothing and the show and I had control over the music. So I was used to being in control of the music in a band. And I wanted it that way.
GW: How much input did you have on Bark At The Moon?
Jake: ?Most of the music was mine. ?Rock N? Roll Rebel?, ?Bark At The Moon?, ?Now You See It, (Now You Don?t)?, ?Waiting For Darkness? and ?Slow Down? were mine.
GW: How easy or difficult is it working with Ozzy in regards to presenting him with material?
Jake: On Bark At The Moon I approached it really cautiously because I was the new guy and I could be out at any second. So I just played him riffs and if he liked the riff then the whole band would work on it. When I write a riff, I don?t just write a riff-I write a verse and a chorus and everything around it. And Bob Daisley (bassist on Bark At The Moon) might change a part here or there and Ozzy might change a part and that was it really. I didn?t argue too much if I didn?t like the way something was coming out. I?d go, ?I don?t really like this? and they?d go, ?Well, what do you know?? And I?d go (in sheepish voice)?I don?t know anything. Let?s change it.?
?The strings on ?Bark At The Moon? I hated; ?So Tired? I hated. Actually, I didn?tmind when it was done as a four-piece band, but then they schmaltzed it up with all the strings and I hated it.?
?So I?d present something and they?d fight, debate, say it sucked or whatever. Everybody contributed a little bit and it didn?t necessarily come out the way I imagined it would. On the Ultimate Sin, while Ozzy was in the Betty Ford clinic, I got a drum machine, one of those mini-studios, a bass from Charvel-a really shitty one-and I more or less wrote entire songs. I didn?t write melodies or lyrics because Ozzy is bound to do a lot of changing if I was to do that, I just write the music. I write the riff and I?ll come up with a chorus, verse, bridge and solo section, and I?ll write the drum and bass parts I had in mind. I put about 12 songs like that down on tape and when he got out of the Betty Ford clinic it was, ?Here ya go, here?s what I?ve got so far.? And I?d say half of it ended up on the album.?
GW: Does Ozzy interpret your songs in a similar way to what you originally heard in them?
Jake: ?He almost always does something different than what I expect him to. He sang a lot bluesier on this record (The Ultimate Sin) than I thought he was going to. Sometimes I?ll write something weird that I think he?ll like and he?ll say, ?That?s too weird, are you on acid or something? This isn?t Frank Zappa.? And I?ll write something simple that I think he might like and he?ll go, ?That?s pop, what is it?? So it?s a weird little area-it can?t be too commercial sounding and it can?t be too weird. I think it can be pretty weird-sounding, but in Ozzy Osbourne you can get away with a lot. But he doesn?t want it getting too weird. Especially on this record; we almost played it safe on this album. We didn?t go out on a limb. We didn?t try to make it commercial, but we kept what we thought Ozzy could get away with without raising too many eyebrows.?
GW: ?That?s why a song like ?Shot In The Dark? was a surprise because it borders on FM pop.
Jake: ?Yeah, we had our doubts about that. I write a lot of songs like that-most of the songs I?ve kept have been really commercial or really weird-and I wasn?t so sure of that when Phil (Soussan-bassist and writer of ?Shot In The Dark?) first presented it. It was getting kind of commercial and Ozzy wasn?t too sure of it either. But Ron Nevison (producer) gunned for that one and it worked out alright.
GW: What was it like working for the first time with Ron Nevison?
Jake: (takes a moment and grins) :I?ll be diplomatic-he was hard to work with. He doesn?t have a very open mind; he hears things his way and he thinks that?s the way it should be done. And I heard things my way and I think that?s the way it should be done. And there wasn?t a whole lot of compromise. It was mostly who felt the strongest about something and argued the longest won out. There were parts on the album where I said, ?Definitely not. I don?t want it that way, this is the way it has to be.? And he?d argue, but I?d win if I felt strongly enough about it. And then there were parts where he?d argue and if I didn?t feel that strongly about it I?d say, ?Okay, have it your way.? It wasn?t like trying something in the middle; we were buttin? heads through the whole record.?
GW: Did the problems lie in the songs themselves or the sounds of the record?
Jake: ?Everything really. Not so much song structure really; it was more the production and the sounds. Because he liked the way we had written most of the songs. There were some songs where he halved a verse and had a chorus come in quicker, but it was mainly the production.?
GW: What type of guitar sound do you like to hear?
Jake: ?It depends on the song. I got the same guitar sounds more or less through the whole record, which I didn?t want to do. I brought in 16 heads and 12 cabinets; all the cabinets were loaded with different things, EV?s, Celestions, JBL?s, everything, so I could get a good sound. And so I could get a different sound if I wanted. And I finally got a good, basic sound after a long time. We cut the stuff I wanted to use that sound with and when it came to the other songs , I said, ?Okay, I?d like a different sound here.? And Ron said, ?Why?? And I said,?Because I don?t think it should all sound the same.? I had just talked to Phil Collen of Def Leppard and he said they try different guitars and different sounds and mix and match. And he (Ron) said, ?Well, what? You want to sound like Def Leppard?? And I said, ?No, but I don?t want it to sound like one single sound for the whole album.? And he said, ?Well, it?s a good sound and I don?t think we should mess with it.? And we argued about that for quite a bit and I finally said, ?f**k it. I want to play guitar.? I wanted a lot more variety in the guitar tone.?
GW: I can?t imagine that would be a healthy situation to work in.
Jake: ?I didn?t go into the studio with the attitude of, ?Oh boy, I get to play today, let?s see what I can put down!? I went in there thinking, ?Oh sh*t, what are we going to argue about today??
GW: How was Ron Nevison different than Max Norman (producer of Bark At The Moon)?
Jake: Max doesn?t have as much control over Ozzy?s stuff as he does with other people?s stuff. Because Max Norman, more or less, got his start with Ozzy and worked on the first couple of records. Max was basically an engineer and because of the sounds he got he became a producer and other bands started using him as a producer. I hear that he?s strict and has a lot of control in the studio, but when he works with Ozzy he?s back to being an engineer. So there was a lot of difference between Ron Nevison and that. Although Max made me try harder to get the doubled rhythm tracks (Jake doubles and triples all backing tracks) more in sync with each other than Ron did. Max wanted them almost perfect, whereas Ron liked just a little bit of difference. He thought it sounded cool that way. With Max there were times when I thought it was good enough and he?d make me do it again; with Ron there were times when I didn?t think it was good enough and he?d say it was fine. I listen to the rhythm tracks now and they sound fine, so I guess I didn?t have to be as tight as I thought.
GW: It?s funny that you would double and triple-track your rhythm parts because in other areas you seem to be such a purist; you don?t use a vibrato bar, before joining Ozzy?s band you really didn?t use any pedals??
Jake: ?A purist? Probably more of a masochist is a better way to put it. I thought bars were cheating because you could tune the guitar down and do all that other sort of stuff that I do, so you don?t need a bar. And you could do fake echoes like I do, so echoes were cheating. Flanging was covering up something that was boring that you should have made more interesting in the beginning. And that?s the way I felt before joining Ozzy, but I still feel like I?m cheating.?
?I know Warren (DeMartini-guitarist for Ratt) has gone back to the same thing that I used to do; he?s only got an equalizer now. I saw that when they were opening for us in England and I said , ?That?s a nice set-up you?ve got, Warren,? and he goes, ?Yeah, I got it from this one guy I used to see all the time. He got a real cool sound, but he?s pedal-mad now.? He made me feel guilty about it.?
"You have to play a lot cleaner and pay more attention to what you?re doing. If you screw up there?s no echo to cover you and flange to cover your sloppiness. That?s the way a real guitar player should play.?
GW: When you?re playing big halls, don?t you need some echo to flesh out the sound?
Jake: ?I do, I?ve gotten spoiled. I don?t use as much echo as a lot of people do, I just put a little in there so it?s not real dry-sounding. I move now more than I did when I was in Ratt or Rough Cutt because Ozzy wants that. When it was the club days you had to play good because record people might be there, but now I?m more or less compromising a little because I?m moving a lot more. I?m moving more because Ozzy wants it and the audience wants it. If they just want to hear me play clean they can listen to the record-that?s me standing there and playing clean. But I know I always wanted some showmanship when I went to a concert or otherwise I?d just buy a photograph of the band and listen to the record. So I do need a bit of help.
GW: Are you saying you play better on record than you do live?
Jake: ?I play cleaner. I wouldn?t say better because some nights I think I play better than what?s on the record. There?s more passion and more fire.?
GW: The fact that you don?t use a vibrato bar is a big part of the Jake E. Lee style. How did that develop?
Jake: ?Oooh, everybody who uses a bar is going to hate me (laughs) and everybody uses a bar. What Brad Gillis does with a bar is pretty innovative, some of what Eddie has done with a bar is fairly innovative. I don?t think a lot of what he has done with a bar is innovative, but he has brought it back. It had been done before and it?s a cool sound, but he doesn?t rely on it like some people do. It?s real easy to hit a harmonic at the 5th fret of the G string to start a solo and when you?re done with the solo to hit the E string and hit the bar. That?s easy. I?m not saying that Eddie relies on that because obviously he?s a great player. But a lot of people do use the bar when their brain or their hart quits thinking about the music. They need to have a filler and that?s why I think a bar is cheating.?
?I think young guys should learn how to play without the bar and then once they?re pretty happening they can start incorporating the bar. That?s what I always planned on doing, but then I?ve never gotten around to it yet. I haven?t gotten good enough yet. You put a guitar with bar in my hand and I go crazy, whacko. You might as well super glue my hand to the bar because that?s all I want to do. I?m useless when there?s a bar on there, so for my own good I don?t use a bar.?
GW: Did you have more freedom on The Ultimate Sin since there were no real keyboard parts?
Jake: ?That was something I insisted on, because Ozzy kept saying, ?we?ve always had a keyboard player, where is a keyboard player now that we?re writing songs?? On Bark At The Moon it was real easy when we didn?t know what to do to say, ?Don (Airey-keyboards), make some kind of noise?. So while we were writing the new album I more or less insisted that we didn?t have a keyboard player. I said. ?Look, if we can write a song without keyboards, it will add that much more when we get to it.? I wanted to write the songs and not having anything filling up space besides the bass, drums and guitar. If something didn?t work we would change it musically. Write a new guitar part or change the old part. So we brought the keyboard player (Mike Moran) in after all the parts were done. We did demos all the time we were writing and we had keyboards there that belonged to Ozzy and I played a lot on the demos.?
GW: I didn?t know that you played keyboards.
Jake: ?Yeah, that?s what I started on. I started playing keyboards when I was six and I?m classically-trained. I took classical piano two to four hours every day till I was 16. I went to the Music Conservatory when I was 12 and I was the second-youngest person ever admitted there. I was supposed to be a real promising piano player.?
GW: What happened?
Jake: ?I hated piano! Piano was what kept me from playing football and baseball with the other kids. But I was always musically-inclined and my sister happened to have a guitar sitting around the house, and when I picked it up I said, ?This is the one.? I started playing guitar and quit playing piano. My parents wanted me to be the next Van Cliburn, but I wanted to be the next Van Halen.?
GW: You later joined Ratt and then Rough Cutt; how did you hear about the spot in Ozzy?s band?
Jake: ?Someone contacted me about it and at first I said no because I didn?t want to step into Randy Rhoads?s shoes. It?s hard enough to replace a good guitar player-and I don?t want this to sound callous-but when they die they turn into a legend. And that?s really tough. I didn?t want that. I?d make it on my own and I didn?t want to be compared to somebody else for the rest of my life. But I went down there anyway and I think there was a list of 25 guitar players and we all spent 15 minutes in the studio, each doing whatever we wanted to do. We had our pictures taken and they were given to Ozzy and he picked three of us: George (Lynch-Dokken) was one of them and he was flown to England and given first crack at it. And there was me and Mitch Perry left in L.A. Ozzy came down and we auditioned at S.I.R. and I got it. And I was 45 minutes late! The guy who found the guitar players (Dana Strum) said that Ozzy almost walked out the door; he said, ??f**k it, if this guy doesn?t care enough to show up on time and he?s going to be this kind of problem, forget it. I don?t care how good he is.? But the guy kept him there.?
GW: Did Ozzy remark about the fact that you don?t use a tremelo bar?
Jake: ?Yeah, the first thing he said was, ?Do you know how to play a guitar with a wang bar on it?? And I said, ?Of course, anybody can play a guitar with a wang bar, but I don?t like it.? And he said, ?Well, why don?t you think about using one? Because I don?t think you can play some of these songs without one.? And I said, ?I can. I?ll show ya? and after rehearsal he said, ?Yeah, fine, it sounds like you?ve got one, I don?t care. As long as it sounds good you don?t need to use one.?
?He was almost under the impression that a modern guitarist cannot play with out a bar because you?re limiting your vocabulary that way. I proved him wrong, I hope. I can?t think of anyone new who doesn?t play without a bar.?
GW: The guy from Y&T, Dave Meniketti.
Jake: ?Yeah, that?s true. And Jeff Watson (Night Ranger). I know Jeff and he and I were sitting around celebrating how we don?t use bars and we were making fun of players who did one night at the Rainbow. And Brad (Gillis) was sitting at the next table, but we were just joking around.?
GW: When you sit down to record a solo, what goes through your mind in terms of notes and effects?
Jake: ?There are basically three different ways I work a solo out. ?Thank God For The Bomb? is a good example of one of them. I tape everything we ever play during rehersals and I edit it down to little bits that make sense or are good and I put it on a master copy. Then I group them into songs on another tape. On :Thank God For The Bomb? I tried playing a different lead everytime we played it and so I ended up with 50 different leads for it. And what I did was I pieced that together out of all those solos. I just took the best bits from every solo and put it in one solo?
?Another way I do it is I sit there and listen to the rhythm on tape and I?ll put the guitar on the other side of the room. I?ll listen to the rhythm over and over and I?ll hum it in my head and I?ll wait until ideas start coming and a melody appears and I?ll write it in my head and then I?ll pick the guitar up. That?s probably my favorite way of doing it. That?s the way a real musician would do it; he?d play what?s in his head and not automatic riffs. I?m not that good yet, and I still got into the riff. I did it this way on most of the songs and then I pieced them together for ?Thank God For The Bomb? and ?Lightning Strikes?.
?Then there?s a third way where I don?t have anything worked out, nothing in my head, and I just walk in the studio and say, ?Roll the tape, let?s see what comes out.? Those are like jams and I did that on ?Shot In The Dark? and :Never Know Why?. When I don?t know what I?m doing, that?s what comes out. And the solo in ?The Ultimate Sin? is really just an exercise in arpeggios.?
GW: The solo on ?Slow Down? (from Bark At The Moon) seemed to be really effective.
Jake: ?I liked that solo. I think it was my favorite solo on there. It might be my favorite solo that I?ve ever done because it?s really melodic and it has a lot of fire, which is what I?d like to play like.?
GW: Is that what you strive to be as a player?
Jake: Yeah, but I don?t get comments on that solo too often. I don?t get comments on my solos much anyway.?
GW: Is that true?
Jake: Well, I do now but I didn?t so much on the first album. Kids would come up and say, ?Hey, you?re hot, you?re great?, but I actually got a lot of compliments on the way I moved. They would say, ?Hey man, you move better than anybody. I thought Eddie Van Halen moved cool.? I got a lot of general comments like that but on this new tour a lot of people are telling me my leads are happening.?
GW: Maybe on the first album you were still living in the shadow of Randy Rhoads?
Jake: ?Yeah?.I still am.?
GW: Were you a fan of Randy?s?
Jake: ?Mmm..yeah. I thought he was the best new guitar player post-Eddie. I thought he was the most promising one I?d heard. I was sad when he died. In fact me and Warren DeMartini got drunk that night toasting Randy Rhoads.?
?There was one show (with Ozzy) were there were these kids off to the side, so I went over to see what they were doing. They all had Randy Rhoads tee-shirts on and they kept pointing at the shirts and going ?Number One? and then they?d point at me and flip me off. I thought, ?What the f**k? Give me a break.? I went over there after the show and I said, ?Wearing a Randy Rhoads tee-shirt only reminds Ozzy that he?s lost a friend and nobody else in the band knew the guy. Randy is not around to appreciate it, I don?t appreciate it. I?m glad you liked randy, but you don?t have to shove him in my face.?
GW: About your soloing, do you think playing classical piano had any influence on the notes you choose?
Jake: ?Maybe, because I?ve always been aware of modes. That?s one of the first things you learn in theory and when I started playing rock I began applying modes to it right away. Nobody was really doing that when I was first starting. They were either playing blues scales or pentatonic or Dorian or Aeolian (minor) or your basic rock scales. But I would hear Phrygian scales which is sort of Egyptian and think that would work. I always wondered if these guys knew about modes. I don?t think they did. When I was 16 and playing in bar bands I would stick in modes and back then, not many people heard them. So I would say classical had a lot to do with my lead playing.?
GW: Being in a band like Ozzy?s, do you ever have the feeling of other players looking at you to see what you?re going to do next?
Jake: ?Yeah, waiting for me to f**k up. I feel a little pressure but it doesn?t bother me. On the first record I felt it because there were a lot of guitar players who wanted the gig and they said,?Okay, this is the guy he picked, let?s see what he?s got.? I did feel that every time I went in to play something because I knew there were going to be a lot of people listening to see if I did any good or not. I?m not the kind of person who really cares what other people think. I play what I like and if somebody else likes it it?s great, they?re a friend of mine. If they don?t like it we can still be friends but I really don?t care. I didn?t feel it so much this time, but I do feel it every once in awhile. There are guitar players who still come up to Ozzy and go, ?I?m the guitar player you should have got.?
GW: Do you ever feel obscured playing in Ozzy?s band? In terms of people recognizing what you do?
Jake: ?No, if anything, I think I get more attention than I deserve as a guitar player. If somebody comes up to me and goes. ?Man, you?re Number One, you?re the best guitar player in the world,? I start feeling stupid. I go, ?Nah, there are guys better than me.? But if somebody comes up and say, ?You really suck, you?re nothing compared to Randy,? then I go, :Hey, f**k you, I?m good. I?m probably 10 times better than you?ll ever be.? No I never feel obscured at all.?
Jake E. Lee: Thank God For Axology
by Steven Rosen-Guitar World Nov.1986
Since his days in Ratt, Jake E. Lee has used guitars without a vibrato arm, structuring his style around virtually one singular instrument. This guitar is a circa 1974 (it may be a 1975) Fender Stratocaster which has been Charvel-ized, featuring Gotoh tuners, brass bridge and Gibson frets. The headstock was carved down courtesy of Charvel and the neck has been shaved (it is now thinner and narrower) by the same company. The neck is made of maple with a rosewood fretboard and the body is one allowing the strings to run entirely through it. Lee feels they produce a warmer sound than those bodies sporting vibrato assemblies. Two single-coil DiMarzio SDS-1 pickups have been slanted opposite the normal position so that the pole pieces for the bass strings are closer to the bridge, producing more bite and less mushiness. Jake found that pickups started losing clarity on the low E and A strings when the neck pickups were switched on and this new positioning seemed to solve the problem. The bridge pickup is a Seymour Duncan Allan Holdsworth prototype (he has used other Duncan units but never found one quite so warm-sounding).
Lee plugs the ?Charvel? into a 1977 Marshall 100-watt head (stock) powering a Marshall 4x12 cabinet with EV speakers. He couples this with a Marshall 50-watt top (circa 1964) powering the same cabinet for his recorded rhythm sound. The 100-watt gives him the edge and distinction of sound he is seeking while the 50-watt smooths out the tone with a warmer quality. Jake normally doubles and triple-tracks all his rhythm parts (?Rock N? Roll Rebel? had four). All the Marshall bottoms are of a straight design (the slant cabs, in his estimation, tend to lose bottom) and he has realized that the EV speakers are more efficient for bass response than the Celestions. These latter speakers constitute a narrow frequency response and break up quicker; Lee likes amplifier distortion as opposed to distortion from the speaker.
All the solos on The Ultimate Sin? were played through the Marshall 50-watt with the exception of ?Killer Of Giants?, which was performed with an old Rockman and a Rat Distortion unit. Jake stands in the studio when running down solos because he does not achieve the same feedback or response from a studio monitor as he does from his own amplifier speaker. ?I guess it?s weird, most people don?t do that. That?s what everybody kept telling me. I like to stand in front of the cabs an have it blow my hair back. I get into it more that way. I like it loud and I like it coming right out of my cab into my face.?
Though he calls using pedals ?cheating?, Jake used an array of Boss units, including: CE-3 Chorus, BF-2 Flanger, DM-2 Delay (rhythm), (2) DD-2 Digital Delays (lead), GE-7 Equalizer (7 band), SCC-700 computerized pedalboard, and a Variac (set between 90 and 100). The two digital units are as follows: one for slow leads and a lot of delay, and one for normal leads with just a touch of delay.
His ideal guitar sound combines an abundance of midrange with a cutting edge, but a problem he encountered with the Marshalls was when he increased the bass, there was a tendency for that whoofing quality to develop. Prior to Ozzy, Jake was running Hi-Watt amplifiers (they did not have this problem), but ultimately switched to Marshalls because they featured a warmer tone. He eliminated the unwanted frequency by plugging into a Boss OD-1 OverDrive, turning up the distortion to approximately nine o?clock and the level to maximum. This narrowed the frequency-removing low lows and high highs-so he could crank the bass on the Marshall for more warmth and less mush and turn up the presence without that ?scratchy? sound developing.
Lee utilizes a very heavy pick attack (?I like to dig into the guitar with the picking hand and wrench it out with the left hand?) and for the last album he fingered Fender .121 picks. His strings are ultra-heavy on the bass end and run: .009, .012, .017, .026, .036, and .048. His ears like the sound of the pick striking the string, and because he uses heavy gauges it is more difficult to achieve that sound. The pick rests at a 45 degree angle in relation to the string, so in essence the edge of the plectrum meets the string before the flat side of the pick. After a couple of ?zingers? (running the pick down the length of the wire), the plectrum develops small grooves and the effect when it snaps the string is one Lee incorporates into his style.
But it is Jake?s development of finger-vibrato and various techniques simulating the effect created by a vibrato bar which are mainstays of his style.
One of Jake?s oft-used techniques is the dive-bomb effect-he places his left-hand fingers on the strings between the nut and tuning pegs, presses down and raises the pitch of the strings. With his right hand he taps on the fretboard (usually at the 12th fret) and pulls off. The tension behind the nut is released and as the string is being lowered the dive bomb effect is simulated. The end of ?Lightning Strikes? is an example of this.
Another variation is the simple lowering of the E string via the tuning head and then applying pressure behind the nut or even pulling on the string. At times, Lee will take the low E string, lodge it between the two single-coil pickups and create elephant-like sounds.
And then there are the simple neck-bending routines. ?I bend it a lot; my roadie is always afraid I?m going to break it.?
There are other stylistic tricks Jake has created, such as hammer-on octaves where he will play a low octave with the left hand and hammer-on a higher octave with the ring and index finger of his right hand. ?Killer Of Giants? shows this. The intro to ?You?re No Different? is an example of his volume swell approach using chorus and echo. In ?Secret Loser? Lee indulges in harmonics, but he is quick to note: ?I like using harmonics, but ever since Van Halen it?s hard tp play a harmonic without sounding like Eddie. Because he did it so much. It?s not that I don?t want to be associated with Eddie, but I?m trying to find my own style. He?s closed up a lot of avenues for a lot of guitar players. He showed us what was in the room and then shut the door.?
Jake played a few acoustic guitar parts on ?the Ultimate Sin?; the instrument was an old rented Martin steel-string and a cheap nylon-string which ?happened to stay in tune?. Though the verses on ?Shot In The Dark? sound as if they?re textured with acoustic, this is a rented 1957 Fender Stratocaster through a Roland Jazz Chorus amplifier. In this same song Lee plays slide guitar, a style he first featured on ?One Up The B-Side?, which was the B-side of the ?Bark At The Moon? single.
Though there are a few textures on ?The Ultimate Sin?-from the Zeppelin-like middle section of ?Never? (produced by a saw-like effect of pick against string) to the hammer-on slides in ?Never Know Why? (it sounds like an echo, but it is Lee?s left hand)-Jake was left somewhat dissatisfied with the album.
?It?s a lot straighter-sounding than I wanted it,? he admits. He has plans for the next album to
more fully explore the vistas of electric guitar. And Ozzy has even suggested that Jake
might be a likely candidate for producer. ?I don?t know if I?m quite ready for that.?