Articles on this Page
- 04/17/14--08:34: _Hear It Now: Mastod...
- 04/17/14--09:01: _The Ataris Tour Blo...
- 04/17/14--11:57: _Exclusive Interview...
- 04/17/14--13:21: _Wild Stringdom with...
- 04/18/14--06:09: _New Book: Learn to ...
- 04/18/14--06:10: _The Top Ten Slow Gu...
- 04/18/14--06:34: _The 50 Heaviest Roc...
- 04/18/14--07:44: _Video Finds: Page &...
- 04/18/14--08:00: _Exclusive Song Prem...
- 04/18/14--09:12: _The Ataris Tour Blo...
- 04/18/14--11:33: _Photo Gallery: Top ...
- 04/18/14--14:00: _Video: Discover the...
- 04/19/14--05:00: _Greensky Bluegrass ...
- 04/20/14--05:00: _Sunday Strum: Episo...
- 04/20/14--08:30: _Knowing When and Ho...
- 04/20/14--08:35: _Session Guitar: How...
- 04/20/14--09:02: _Bent Out of Shape: ...
- 04/21/14--05:00: _Choice Cuts: The Be...
- 04/21/14--05:34: _'Dale Turner's Guid...
- 04/21/14--05:36: _Thirty Guitar Legen...
- 04/17/14--08:34: Hear It Now: Mastodon Premiere New Song "High Road"
- 04/18/14--06:09: New Book: Learn to Play 26 Kiss Classics
- 04/18/14--06:10: The Top Ten Slow Guitar Solos
- 04/18/14--06:34: The 50 Heaviest Rock Songs Before Black Sabbath — Songs 50 to 41
- 04/18/14--07:44: Video Finds: Page & Plant Perform “Stairway to Heaven” Acoustic
- 04/18/14--08:00: Exclusive Song Premiere: Edward David Anderson “Lost & Found”
- 04/18/14--11:33: Photo Gallery: Top 10 Weirdest Custom Guitars
- 04/18/14--14:00: Video: Discover the Taylor Expression System 2
- 04/19/14--05:00: Greensky Bluegrass Announce New Album ‘If Sorrows Swim’
- 04/20/14--05:00: Sunday Strum: Episode 5 Power Chords with Accents
- 04/20/14--08:30: Knowing When and How to Transform Your Tone
- 04/20/14--08:35: Session Guitar: How to Create Professional-Sounding Tracks at Home
- 04/21/14--05:00: Choice Cuts: The Best of Radiohead's Acoustic Magic
Atlanta's Mastodon have just premiered a new song, “High Road.” The song comes off Once More Round the Sun, their sixth studio album to be released this summer.
Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments.
The Ataris just wrapped a tour that reunited the classic lineup that created their 2003 major label debut So Long, Astoria. Guitarist John Collura documented this reunion. Check out the second installment of his report below.
Let me just put this out there, I love my Martin. I'm the type of person that would want to keep my Martin in a glass case at all times. With that said when I go on the road I like to take an acoustic guitar with me to write. When traveling on a bus it's really easy to be able to carry an acoustic guitar on board and stow it away in a junk bunk or back lounge.
But when traveling with a van and trailer it becomes more difficult. I know there are some really great road cases built specifically for acoustic guitars. SKB makes a really nice one, but with quality comes price. So on this latest tour I went out on I opted not to bring my Martin because I was paranoid with leaving it in the trailer. My friend Jason at Fender/Ovation helped me out with an alternative solution. He sent me out an Elite T 2078TX Ovation guitar.
Collura's new Elite T 2078TX Ovation (left), and his beloved Martin
Yeah I know what your thinking, I have a Martin and took out an Ovation instead. Well to my surprise this 2078TX has some serious tone, it's not your Uncle Rick's Ovation from his 1980's terrible cover band. And even more surprisingly, the guitar is built like a brick shit house. It's covered in a textured enamel, like the same as the back of a pickup truck. I'm not concerned with babying this guitar, it's built to be road worthy and the action and feel of the guitar is really comfortable.
Does this mean I'm done with my Martin, hell no, but I couldn't be more happy to have a durable, great sounding acoustic that I can take on the road.
I’ve been a fan of Jonatha Brooke’s for quite some time.
This singer songwriter seems to have a unique perspective and musical sensibility that I find so appealing.
So when she announced she would be doing her one-woman show, “My Mother Has Four Noses,” at NYC’s Duke Theatre, I was stoked.
Alas, living on the West Coast, I’ve had timing challenges. But I did get to chat with her recently about the show and so much more.
So check out our on camera interview below. And you’ve still got a few more days to catch “My Mother Has Four Noses” in NYC. Go here for tickets.
Plus, the soundtrack is just wonderful as well. You’ll want it!!
An interview with Jonatha Brooke, Part 1: “My Mother Has Four Noses”
Gear and writing.
We look back at her brilliant album The Works
Find out more: jonathabrooke.com
Over the years, people have noticed that when I play certain runs, my fingers move in the opposite direction of the notes that they hear.
For example, as my fret hand moves up the fretboard, the sequence of notes that is heard descends (and vice versa). For this month’s column, I’ve put together a few runs that demonstrate this unusual approach as applied to both ascending and descending patterns.
This kind of “positional wizardry” can be used to generate interesting melodic patterns that can be used in a variety of ways.
In FIGURE 1, I begin on the low E string in a high fretboard position and end on a high string in a lower position. The run is based on the A Aeolian mode (A B C D E F G), which is also known as the A natural minor scale and is intervallically spelled 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7.
The overall concept behind this line is a consistent progression of six-note groups, or “cells,” that move to different areas of the fretboard while remaining diatonic to (within the scale structure of) A Aeolian. The run is played in a rhythm of even 16th notes, which, due to its inherent four-note grouping, results in a more unusual melodic “shape” than if I had played the pattern in a triplet or sextuplet rhythm.
I begin by ascending through the first six notes—E F G A B C—then “backpedal” slightly and descend to the previous two notes, B and A, in alternating fashion. The next six-note phrase begins on G, two scale degrees higher than the previous starting note, and consists of the notes G A B C D E, played in ascending form.
Once again, I alternate between the last two notes in the same way, which sets up the beginning of the next six-note phrase, starting on B on the fourth string’s ninth fret, which is two scale degrees higher than the previous starting point. This “up-six, back-two” pattern then repeats three more times, culminating on a high A root note. Be sure to use consistent alternate (down-up-down-up) picking throughout this figure, and, as always, strive for crystal-clear articulation.
In FIGURE 2, I begin on the high E string and work my way up the fretboard while descending gradually on each lower string, pitch-wise. Like FIGURE 1, this run is also based on A Aeolian/natural minor and six-note “cells” played in a 16th-note rhythm.
After descending through the first six notes—F E D C B A—I quickly shift up the fretboard to a note that is three scale degrees higher in the scale, D, and then repeat the descending six-note pattern. This second sequence ends on F (third string, 10th fret), so I begin the next six-note sequence three scale degrees higher, on B (third string, 16th fret).
This process repeats three more times, culminating in a low A root note (sixth string, 17th fret). Again, alternate picking is utilized throughout, so strive for even and precise execution.
FIGURE 3 provides a clearer picture of the shapes used in FIGURE 2 by illustrating them as eighth-note triplets. Here, one can more easily see how the six-note pattern descends through the notes of A natural minor across two beats at a time. When playing the run in a straight 16th-note rhythm (rather than in an eighth- or 16th-note-triplet rhythm), be cognizant of the difference in feel and where the downbeats fall.
We have a new book at the Guitar World Online Store.
The Best of Kiss features transcriptions and tabs for 26 Kiss classics, including "Detroit Rock City,""Deuce,""Hard Luck Woman,""I Was Made for Lovin' You,""Lick It Up,""Love Gun,""Rock and Roll All Nite,""Shock Me,""Strutter" and many more.
The 168-page book is available now for $24.95.
Remember those old Bugs Bunny cartoons where a pompous Bugs would race a tortoise—and lose? The moral of the story: slow and steady wins the race.
The same principle can hold true with guitar solos.Spitting out sixteenth notes at 200 beats per minutes isn’t always the most winning approach; sometimes, a lead calls for a little less hands and a little more heart. So let’s step back, take a breather and examine some of rock guitar’s greatest slow burns.
1) “’Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” – Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck’s electric guitar work contains enough moments of sonic brilliance to fill up most any top ten list. For our purposes we’ll go with his take on this Stevie Wonder–penned instrumental, from 1975 Blow By Blow, on which Beck opens with a gently moaning major 2nd to root C interval that rises and falls like a caterwauling alley cat, setting up the fluid, vocal-like phrases that follow.
2) “Something” – The Beatles
The “Quiet Beatle” steps out of Paul and John’s writing shadow and pens his first song to be released as an A-side on the Beatles’ 1969 Come Together single. George Harrison’s “Something” is lauded for its lush melody and tender lyricism, but guitarists will note Harrison’s deft guitar solo that follows the operatic bridge as a characteristic example of his reserved, yet highly tuneful style.
3) “The Messiah Will Come Again” – Roy Buchanan
An often duplicated, but distinctly underrated guitarist, Buchanan inspired no less than a few of rock’s most recognizable players, including Jeff Beck and Gary Moore. This haunting A-minor piece opens like Faustian theater, with gloomy organ and prophetic, spoken-word lyrics. When Buchanan finally unleashes on his Telecaster, the droning notes cut through the mix and wail with eerie vocalization. Check out the expert volume swells at 4:30, a Buchanan trademark.
4) “Brothers In Arms” – Dire Straits
The title track from Dire Strait’s chart-topping 1985 album is often overshadowed by the flashier “Money for Nothing” and “Walk of Life,” but this somber, G# minor track has found a place as background music in films such as Spy Game, and television shows Miami Vice and The West Wing. While Knopfler opens and closes the song with a tasteful indulgence of front-pickup soloing, it’s the longer, tone-soaked lead at the end that showcases his soulful, fingerpicked sound.
5) “Parisienne Walkways” – Gary Moore
Moore is no slouch when it comes to burning a fretboard, and the Irish rocker does taper off unto some excessively speedy bits towards the end of this instrumental version of his 1979 U.K. hit (the long, descending trill at 6:15 is particularly note-worthy). The majority of this live version of “Walkways,” however, is laden with Moore’s subtle vibrato and stratospheric string bending. The song was intended to show off the former Thin Lizzy guitarist’s blues prowess, and has left few Moore detractors in its wake.
6) “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” – Pink Floyd
It took David Gilmour little more than a heavily compressed Stratocaster, some reverb and a mound of mourning for his detached former bandmate, Syd Barrett, to create the melancholic opening to the nine-part centerpiece from 1975’s Wish You Were Here. Supposedly, Barrett visited Abbey Road Studios in London during the album’s recording, but as the story goes Gilmour, along with the rest of his band, didn’t recognize the former Floyd leader due to his drastically altered appearance.
7) “Since I’ve Been Loving You” – Led Zeppelin
“Since I’ve Been Loving You” was outfitted in Zeppelin’s live set before the recording of Led Zeppelin III began and remained a staple of their show until the band’s dissolution in 1980. Though for the song’s main solo Jimmy Page delivers screaming C minor and C minor pentatonic runs, he opens the tune with a 45-second passage of beautifully restrained phrases.
8) “The Thrill Is Gone” – B.B. King
Emotive solo work is the cornerstone of blues guitar, and it’s only appropriate King’s highest charting hit contains some of his most dark and chilling leads. The song, written by Rick Darnell and Roy Hawkins, showcases the most prominent techniques that made B.B. King a household name, including deep string bends and an impossibly wide vibrato.
9) “Riviera Paradise” – Stevie Ray Vaughan
The final track on Vaughan’s final studio album with Double Trouble features some of his most delicate playing. Legend claims the album’s engineer noticed as the band was recording “Riviera Paradise” that the tape reel was about to run out. To no avail, he tried to warn the distracted band they might lose the recording. The song clocked in at nine minutes, finishing at the exact moment the reel of tape stopped.
10) “Bell Bottom Blues” – Derek and the Dominos
A list of slow guitar solos wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of Eric “Slowhand” Clapton himself. And while “Layla” garners most of the accolades on Derek &the Dominos’ only studio album, “Bell Bottom Blues,” which features only Clapton on guitar (Duane Allman didn’t sign on until after the song’s recording), is a tour de force in its own right. Heavy-handed string bends and a pushed, as opposed to pulled, vibrato lend “Bell Bottom Blues” a gracefulness that counters the furious passion of “Layla,” and reaffirms Clapton as one of rock’s premier soloists.
The origin of heavy metal is a very fuzzy thing, but most historians and fans can agree that Black Sabbath’s eponymous 1970 debut was the first true heavy metal album.
Its thunderous drums, sinister riffs and downright evil lyrics left little to be debated. But what we wanted to know was this: What was the heaviest song before Black Sabbath?
We ranked the the following songs based on a variety of factors: distortion/fuzz, playing speed, "darkness," volume, shock value and, most importantly, the song had to have been released before mid-February 1970, when Black Sabbath was unleashed unto the universe.
And sure, it would've been easy to list all the songs on the first two Led Zeppelin albums and call it a day, but we wanted to go deeper than that. We dug deep to find some hidden gems from the era of peace and love.
NOTE: We will be presenting these songs in installments. Check out the first list of 10 below; we'll post the next 10 songs later this week! Until then, enjoy!
50. The Troggs, "Wild Thing" (1966)
This bit of caveman rock, written by Chip Taylor (actor Jon Voight’s brother), is the only song on this list to feature an ocarina solo.
49. The Yardbirds, “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” (1966)
Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page teamed up on this elaborate, psychodramatic masterpiece to contribute slashing rhythm parts, zig-zagging lead lines and a witty imitation of a police car’s siren.
48. The Who, "My Generation" (1965)
Studio version not heavy enough for you? There’s always the explosive — literally — Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour version from 1967. Pete Townshend’s ears are still smarting from it.
47. Coven, "Pact With Lucifer" (1969)
Jinx Dawson was Doro before there was a Doro. Coven makes the list for their occult themes and evil-sounding song titles like “Pact With Lucifer,” “Choke, Thirst, Die” and “Dignitaries of Hell,” but ultimately the music just wasn’t that heavy.
46. The Guess Who, “American Woman” (1970)
After luring in listeners with a sweet acoustic blues intro, Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman & Co. hit the stompboxes and showed the world what Led Zeppelin would’ve sounded like if they were Canadian. This one came out in January 1970 — mere weeks before Black Sabbath would redefine heavy.
45. Pink Floyd, "Interstellar Overdrive" (1967)
The song that launched a thousand space-rock bands.
44. The Count Five, "Psychotic Reaction" (1966)
The Count Five’s only hit single was this blatantly Yardbirds-inspired gem from 1966. The band, who were all between the ages of 17 and 19, split up a year later to pursue college degrees. Remember, kids, there’s nothing heavier than an education!
43. The Wailers, “Out of Our Tree” (1966)
A fun, fuzzed-out offering from the Tacoma-based Wailers, one of the first American garage rock bands.
42. Sam Gopal, "Season of the Witch" (1969)
Sam Gopal was the first percussionist to bring tabla drums back from India and incorporate them into rock music. However, his 1969 album, Escalator, was a landmark in rock music for another reason: It featured, on vocals and guitar, a young Ian Kilmister. You may know him better as “Lemmy.”
41. Cream, "Sunshine of Your Love" (1967)
This song was written by Cream bassist Jack Bruce in a burst of inspiration after watching a Jimi Hendrix concert. Hendrix would cover the song a year later, adding some burning guitar licks in place of the lyrics.
Check out this rare video of Page and Plant performing “Stairway to Heaven” during a visit to Japan in 1994.
Following the demise of Led Zeppelin, the duo reunited in the early ‘90s for an MTV Unplugged taping and subsequent live album, No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded.
After releasing Unledded to wide praise, the duo then teamed up with engineer Steve Albini for 1998’s Walking into Clarksdale, an album composed of entirely new material.
Page and Plant went their separate ways again at the end of 1998. While they briefly reunited again in 2001, another collaborative album is yet to be seen.
“Stairway to Heaven” originally appeared on Led Zeppelin IV. Although it was never officially released as a single in the US, it was allegedly the most requested song on FM radio stations during the ‘70s.
Watch below and enjoy!
Today we’re happy to present the premiere of Edward David Anderson’s new track, “Lost & Found.”
The song is featured on his upcoming debut solo LP, Lies & Wishes, slated for release on April 29.
Anderson, who previously fronted Midwest rock band Backyard Tire Fire, collaborated with Steve Berlin of Los Lobos for the recording.
While his previous work was electric driven, his solo venture is centered around the acoustic guitar. Lies & Wishes was written in a time of great upheaval, as Anderson was processing the dissolution of Backyard Tire Fire and his mother passing away.
"A lot of the subject matter on this record came from reflecting on these painful experiences," says Anderson. "After losing my mom, I decided I’ve got to make a record and dedicate it to her and make a statement here on my own."
By implementing a drum loop (per Berlin's suggestion), Anderson takes a different route with “Lost & Found.” “Steve decided early on to mute the old nylon string guitar I was playing, and did so with a folded up paper towel under the bridge. That really seemed to help lock the guitar in with the rhythm track,” he says.
“I love what this tune turned in to. A true collaboration – and probably my favorite song on the record!"
Listen to the premiere of “Lost & Found” below:
Find out more from Edward David Anderson at edwarddavidanderson.com.
The Ataris just wrapped a tour that reunited the classic lineup that created their 2003 major label debut So Long, Astoria. Guitarist John Collura documented this reunion. Check out the final installment of his report below.
When truck stops were first being built around this country did the people who built them ever take into consideration how much these would mean to traveling musicians?
Where else can one buy a 64-ounce Mountain Dew, a sandwich under a hot lamp, a bagged pickle and an alligator head under one roof? More over, why the fuck would you buy any of these items in the first place? I do not hold the answer to these questions but rest assured I have purchased one or more of these items.
What's really a phenomenon is that when the band enters these establishments we act as if we don't even know each other. We just aimlessly wonder through the aisles, rifling through useless shit. It's like our own version of The Walking Dead.
In my 15 years of touring I have seen my fair share of truck stops. I have slept in their parking lots, taken bird baths in their sinks, and gambled and ate their biscuits and gravy. These are truly American staples, the oasis for bands and the nightmare for tour managers and bus drivers...because it's near impossible to make it a 15 minute stop. I am now home from another U.S. tour but I feel myself wanting to just drive to the nearest truck stop so I can feel like I'm back on the road. "Number 17, your shower is now ready..."
Most guitarists at one point or another in their development have gone through some sort of “I want a custom guitar” phase.
Whether it’s a funky paint job or a radical new shape, a custom ax presents the opportunity to express yourself. Or, in the opinion of some, the opportunity to say, “Hey, look at me, I’m a horse’s arse!”
Here, we celebrate 10 such opportunities. We’ll let you categorize them as you see fit.
Taylor pickup designer David Hosler had been studying under-saddle piezo transducers and how they capture a guitar’s energy as it is transferred from the strings through the saddle and soundboard.
The industry’s prevailing understanding had been that the top and string vibration cause the saddle to “bounce” up and down.
This has long been the basis for the placement of a piezo-electric transducer under the saddle. But Hosler found that the vertical movement is heavily restricted because the string tension’s downward pressure essentially locks the saddle down.
That’s why a traditional under-saddle pickup with piezo-electric crystals often responds with a sound often characterized as thin, brittle or synthetic. In reality, the saddle’s natural range of movement is back and forth like a pendulum.
That revelation led Hosler to relocate the piezo crystals from under the saddle to behind it, just barely making contact with it.
The new positioning enables the crystals to respond more naturally to the guitar’s energy as it was transferred through the saddle.
Find out more at www.taylorguitars.com
Since their founding at the turn of the millenium, the five members of Greensky Bluegrass have fashioned a dynamic sound rooted in classic stringband Americana while branching outward to encompass an array of styles and techniques.
Their fifth studio album, If Sorrows Swim, is to be released on September 9, 2014 and distributed nationally by Thirty Tigers.
Featuring twelve new original compositions, If Sorrows Swim is a compelling snapshot of the evocative songwriting and fluid instrumental interplay that has made Greensky Bluegrass a word-of-mouth underground sensation.
“There’s this great duality to what we do,” explains Greensky mandolinist, vocalist, and songwriter Paul Hoffman. “We’re existing in a few different places at once: we’re a bluegrass band and a rock band, we’re song-driven and interested in extended improvisation.”
Watch the band play their song “Demons” live:
Based in Kalamazoo, Michigan (home of the original Gibson Guitar-Mandolin factory), Greensky – which also includes dobro player Anders Beck, banjoist Michael Arlen Bont, guitarist and songwriter David Bruzza, and bassist Michael Devol – came to acoustic music after a thorough immersion in improv-fueled rock, giving them a uniquely open-ended perspective on the genre.
“While some may see potential limitations because of our instrumentation,” Beck reflects, “a really big part of what is Greensky Bluegrass is about is to essentially ignore those limitations.” If Sorrows Swim finds the band exploring the full range of their potential, from classically hard-driving bluegrass to more expansive, exploratory passages.
At the heart of it all are a set of poetic, yearning pop songs – several of which have already been introduced to the groups growing legion of diehard followers in concert.
An extensive, coast-to-coast tour to support the release of If Sorrows Swim will be announced in the weeks ahead.
Find out more at greenskybluegrass.com.
This week on Sunday Strum, I demonstrate two different ways to accent a basic eighth note pattern with power chords.
This is a continuation of sorts from episode 4.
This time, I’m using the same rhythm, but adding emphasis on certain beats.
This allows for a distinct feel. It’s interesting that by leaving the chords and rhythm intact, we can transform anything by just accenting parts of the measure.
Try this with other rhythms and chord types and you might surprise yourself at how different you can make simple patterns sound.
Variations 1 & 2:
Justin Horenstein is a guitar instructor and musician in the Washington, DC metro area who graduated (cum laude) from the Berklee College of Music in 2006. He plays in Black Clouds, a 3-piece atmospheric/experimental band. Their debut album was recorded by J Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines). Justin’s 18 years of musical experience also includes touring the U.S., a record deal under Sony, starting his own teaching business, recording several albums, and playing club shows with national acts including Circa Survive, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Biffy Clyro, United Nations, Caspian, and more.
This column is for “chameleon” guitarists, those who play in a variety of bands in different genres.
In New York City, it's not uncommon to meet a guitarist after a metal show who's been shedding his jazz chops (Jazz and metal have a lot more in common than you might think; just ask Animals As Leaders) and playing down the street at a "singer-songwriter night" later that week.
There are people who can fit into a wide variety of genres, and it's not just the licks or music-theory knowledge or clothing that gets them the gig, but the tones as well. I'm not saying you can't bring your Kramer to a country gig; just know how to make it sound twangy.
THE GUITAR: It's good to start with an easily manipulated guitar like a Strat or Les Paul, but it's not necessary. The fewer pedals you require to change your tone, the easier your life will be on a crowded stage. Strats with single coils are harder to manipulate because of the 60-cycle hum, so I'd suggest equipping your Strat with some Fender Hot-Noiseless pickups. They look the same and sound fantastic. Also the hum from single coils greatly limits your ability to go from genre to genre; any time distortion is needed, the humming will be unbearable.
THE AMP: You're going to want an honest amp with a clear, clean tone and a nice distorted tone. This is why Marshalls are a staple amp. Jeff Beck, Slash and Zakk Wylde have little in common as players (besides being great) but they all use Marshall. While this isn't an endorsement, a good amp lets the player be his- or herself. I find that the more presets and modeling there is on the amp, the less likely I'll be happy with the tone.
THE PEDALS: Here's where things get tricky. With high-output pickups, it's harder to get a subtle, crunchy overdriven tone; with low-output pickups, a high gain tone is a chore to achieve without losing dynamics. Take a second to find out how your pickups react to basic aggressive pedals (overdrive, distortion and fuzz) and plan accordingly. For example, I have a VFE “The Scream” overdrive pedal. With my Strat, it's a thick, ballsy overdrive that is seriously dynamic. With my Schecter seven-string, it's basically a full-on distortion pedal. Take the time to experiment with your gear. There are a lot of pedals out there, and it's worth it to get to know them. I got weird looks walking into a metal rehearsal with a Strat, but with my fuzz pedal (Fiery Red Horse — look it up), I fit right in.
BUT THAT'S TOO MUCH GEAR: Fine. If it's too much to carry around, consider using your computer. Digital modeling is getting better and better. A lot of people swear by tube amps vs. solid state, or amps vs. modeling, and it's best not to give the argument too much importance. Try out Guitar Rig 5 through a PA at your rehearsal space or through good speakers. It sounds amazing. While still not quite like an amp, it gets the job done in so many settings. Nothing feels like cranking an amp and using your pedals, but if the PA is nice and you don't plan on fussing with your volume knob, it can be a decent and much lighter alternative.
Feel free to leave questions below or reach out to me on YouTube here.
Every producer has his or her secrets. Some use gear, like a certain mic or pre or vintage amp to get a signature sound. Sometimes it's studio trickery. I just like to think of it as being in control of the studio space and the tools at hand.
Sometimes the most obvious tracking methods are overlooked by the casual observer. Here are some of those tips. I guarantee a better sound by applying these simple methods. You might even discover your own signature sound!
01. GAIN STAGING: The guitar goes into the amp or modeler. Then, if it is a modeler, does it go directly into your converter or into a preamp? If it is a preamp, it will leave the pre and then hit the converter before the computer. If the guitar went to an amp, then the amp is mic'd up. The mic signal goes into a pr-amp. The preamp may then go into a compressor. After that, it is off to the converter before the computer. Simple, right? But how is the signal from one piece of the chain to the next? This is called gain staging. Each should be strong and balanced without any weakness or overloads. Be sure to check the gain in each stage (And use quality cables).
02. EVENNESS OF SOUND: This is the most important of my considerations when I am tracking for a client or myself. I like to hear a balance of top, mid and bottom in the character of the one. This way it becomes incredibly flexible when it's time to mix. Use your ears and really hear the sound. Is it muddy on the bottom? Too shrill? Scooped in the mids? Don't be lazy. Make any and all adjustments. You'll be happy you did.
03. CREATING NATURAL THICKNESS: We all double track. Big-sounding guitars panned hard left and right. But how many create an extra layer of natural thickness by doubling each of those parts with another layer de-tuned slightly? And please don't think using your computer to de-tune it a little is the same because it is NOT! Play it again. Re-tune a few cents off for each new part. The added extra performance will also help if it is slightly off here and there. You are supposed to be musicians and not computer geeks! Work! Play it again! By the way, this works incredibly well on acoustic guitars, too.
04. CONSIDER THE ENVIRONMENT: Are you tracking all your guitars using the same amp? How about the same mic? How about the same speaker? And you leave them all in the same position in the same room for every track on the song. Dude...no good! If you have only one mic, one guitar and one amp, you can still vary the mic position. Sometimes radically. Or the position on the cone of the mic. Or take the amp into a different room and track from there! And if you are only using a modeling amp, then you can still make the same considerations! Add a room sound, early reflection or mic position in the modeler. I love the combination of tracks using amps and modelers.
05. DEFINITION: Do your tracks sound sloppy? Muddy? Distortion is a temptress. Too much juice can be incredible! But not necessarily in the studio. Cut back on the gain by at least 20 percent on the rhythm parts. Then try adding uber-clean guitar tracks playing the same parts and tuck them in so they are just barely audible! This will add definition to your dense, fast metal tracks and the added benefit of actually hearing some tone come into your sonic landscape!
06. MULTI-MIC: I do not believe any one microphone can capture all of the guitar sound. That being said, the most common combination is the dynamic mic and a ribbon. The dynamic captures the bite while the ribbon captures the body. Invest in your own mics. The combo does not cost any more than another good guitar. And as sexy as those preamps look in the studio, the mics are more obvious to your ears. But a couple of good pre's are certainly not going to hurt you in any way.
And here's the big one; I've saved the best for last. This will make your solo stand out in any song more than any tip you will ever find.
07. MODULATE AND COMPOSE: How many of you solo over the verse? Gee, that's exciting! Play something boring over the same part that has already been repeated. How about writing a new part, modulated up to a new key (I like a minor 3rd), vary the rhythm and chords to a new groove and watch the solo jump out! It will be like a breath of fresh air in an overcrowded room with a boring speaker! And no piece of gear or studio can fix a bad composition or add energy to a boring composition.
Seriously, I could do a whole column on this alone...hmmm?
Till next time…
Ron Zabrocki is a session guitarist from New York, now living in Connecticut. Says Ron: "I started playing at age 6, sight reading right off the bat. That’s how I was taught, so I just thought everyone started that way. I could sight read anything within a few years, and that helped me become a session guy later in life. I took lessons from anyone I could find and had some wonderful instructors, including John Scofield, Joe Pass and Alan DeMausse. I’ve played several jingle sessions (and have written a few along the way). I’ve “ghosted” for a few people who shall remain nameless, but they get the credit and I get the money! I’ve played sessions in every style, from pop to jazz.
Today we are going learn Part 7 of Mozart's 25th Symphony in G Minor.
It's been a while since we started learning the piece, but we're getting very close to the end. To catch up on all the other parts of this lesson, look under RELATED CONTENT directly below my photo to the left.
You might remember me saying I was learning this piece with you, section by section. For that reason, it was difficult for me to predict how many lessons would be needed to cover the entire piece. I can now tell you that after this lesson, we'll need two more lessons to finish up.
Part 7 is very interesting because it relates very closely to Part 3. This new section follows the same themes within Part 3, but in a different relative key. Part 3 was based around Bb major, which is the relative major scale of G minor. Part 7, however, features the same themes but played in G minor and, in some sections, G harmonic minor.
We begin in bars 1 to 8 with an octave theme followed by a harmonic minor line that mirrors Part 3 exactly. This isn't technically challenging, but you might like to experiment with different styles of vibrato for the sustained octave notes.
As in Part 3, we now play a series of arpeggios outlining the following chord progression: G minor / C minor / F major / Bb major / Eb major / A diminished. These can be played in several different ways. I demonstrated for you in Part 3 the volume swell technique and also 16th-note tremolo picking. You might also like to play around with triplets or even double-picked 8th notes to see which you prefer. In the example, I play 16th-note tremolo picking, which isn't too difficult as long as you have a good alternate-picking technique.
To finish we play a sequence of descending arpeggios, which, for me, are the most challenging part of this section as you need to begin every arpeggio from the high E string. This can be difficult as you finish each arpeggios on the A or low E and then need to skip back to high E without interruption.
As with anything technically challenging on the guitar, start off slow to a metronome and gradually increase the tempo. Good luck and see you next week with Part 8!
Will Wallner is a guitarist from England who now lives in Los Angeles. He recently signed a solo deal with Polish record label Metal Mind Productions for the release of his debut album, which features influential musicians from hard rock and heavy metal. He also is the lead guitarist for White Wizzard (Earache Records) and toured Japan, the US and Canada in 2012. Follow Will on Facebook and Twitter.
Rock has never been static.
When it stays in the same place for too long, sticking stubbornly to what it may think is what’s best, it becomes stale, rather than solidly in place.
No band has done more in moving rock forwards over the last quarter century than Radiohead.
Starting with The Bends in 1995, Radiohead moved past the realm of simply being a great rock band and into another musical realm of their own.
With every album, Radiohead was able to completely reinvent themselves and their sound, and do so without the slightest hitch.
Their body of work is simply unparalleled in terms of innovation and ideas. They wrote their own book on what rock music should be, and proceeded to dump it and write a new one every few years.
Although they are well known for their seamless incorporation of electronics into rock, what is lost on many traditionalist detractors of the band is just what an incredible guitar band they are.
All three of the band’s guitarists, Thom Yorke, Ed O’Brien and Jonny Greenwood, are simply extraordinary players, always thinking out of the box and taking the instrument in directions unexplored by any other musician.
In that same vein, when the band turns the volume down and goes acoustic, magic ensues. Radiohead are a band that have always been able to go in any direction with extraordinary success, something that by no means changes when the quintet is unplugged
“Fake Plastic Trees”- The Bends
Hampered by a poor production job, and a lack of musical direction, Radiohead really struggled on their debut album Pablo Honey.
They seemed to be a wanna-be grunge band without the anger, a band trying desperately, and in vein, to fit into a trend that didn’t have any room for them.
But on The Bends, their sophomore effort, their career began in earnest.
The Bends is the band’s first masterpiece, a true-blooded rock album packed to the brim with unbelievable playing, and an impeccable batch of songs from lead singer Thom Yorke.
Although The Bends’ finest moments are its stunning one-two punch of “Planet Telex” and the title track, the acoustic “Fake Plastic Trees” is just as incredible.
A weary, almost dystopian ballad focused on the mundanity of modern life, it is legendary for making a huge percentage of the band’s live audiences burst into tears when the band performs the song live. And not without good reason, Yorke’s delivery and solemn, resigned strumming are absolutely devastating. And this was only the beginning.
“Exit Music (For A Film)”- OK Computer
While The Bends was undoubtedly a modern masterpiece, it was OK Computer that put Radiohead at the absolute pinnacle of rock music.
In a musical landscape dominated by misogynistic and aggressive rap-rock, music that pointed its finger at some vague, undefined “them,” OK Computer was a beacon of mastery.
Fueled by the uncertainty and anxiety of the modern world’s growing reliance on technology ahead of the end of the millennium, OK Computer was an artistic statement of a magnitude not made by a rock band in decades.
Every single track on it was masterfully written, and every musical detail within it was immaculately placed and executed. Its acoustic highlight is the spare, haunted “Exit Music (For A Film).” Populated at first only by Thom Yorke’s delicate strumming and vocals, it is a resigned anthem of foreboding, a song that is heading restlessly in an unknown direction.
It is a plunge into darkness, an incredible expression of melancholy and weariness.
“How to Disappear Completely”- Kid A
OK Computer was the masterpiece rock needed in the late '90s.
To some, it was an album that represented that rock was still a creatively viable medium, and Radiohead were its saviors.
The band, Yorke in particular, hated this label, and grew entirely sick of the confines that playing music in the context of rock had placed on them.
So on Kid A, the band’s fourth album, they not only redefined the concept of rock music for themselves, but for the entire world.
Powered by electronics both direct and distant, Yorke penned his most vague work yet. It’s simply a staggering work, one that took the experimentation, ruminations and futurism of OK Computer and blew it up to unimaginable proportions.
But even an album as far-reaching as Kid A was buoyed by a brilliant acoustic number. “How To Disappear Completely” is one of Kid A’s most subtle moments, an atmospheric song that shows the previously confined and claustrophobic vocals of Thom Yorke stretching themselves out. Yorke creates his own world through his lyrics, as his strumming is accompanied by Colin Greenwood’s supple but steady bass line.
True Love Waits”- I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings
“True Love Waits” is a song that’s been in and out of Radiohead’s live sets for years now.
Only released officially on the band’s only official live album, this acoustic version is just a beauty.
Yorke grabs the audience by the scruff of their necks; they don’t utter a peep for the entire song.
Though its one of the band’s more obscure tracks, this is one of Yorke’s greatest ballads, a moving masterpiece.
Here's a live version:
“Go To Sleep”- Hail To the Thief
This is more of a straight-out rocker than anything else on this list.
Its famous for one of Jonny Greenwood’s most spine-tingling guitar solos, but that comes at the end.
What begins and drives the song is one of Yorke’s most sinister riffs, played with venom on an acoustic.
Guitar-wise, this is one of Radiohead’s finest moments, and an unforgettable acoustic song.
Gagging Order”- Com Lag
So uh, this is where my geeky side begins to show.
This is quite a bit more obscure than even “True Love Waits,” and can be found either in certain copies of the “Go To Sleep” single, or in the Com Lag compilation.
But why this song doesn’t feature more prominently in the band’s discography is a mystery I’ll never be able to figure out.
Featuring Yorke alone on an acoustic and vocals, this song is simply stunning, and should’ve been treated better than a B-side.
Featuring some of Yorke’s most morose lyrical work, but beautiful singing, this song takes a bit of digging to find. But my goodness is it worth the effort.
"Faust Arp”- In Rainbows
Featuring only Yorke and Jonny Greenwood’s delicate fingerpicking, and Yorke’s vocals, this song almost starts like a lullaby.
When Yorke begins with “wakey, wakey, rise and shine/its on again/off again,” it certainly sounds sweet enough.
But inevitably it ends up in far stranger territory, with Yorke singing “watch me fall like dominoes in pretty patterns” over the picking and low-key strings. Its In Rainbows’ most unassuming song by far, but one that sticks with you.
A comical intro and then...
“Give Up the Ghost”- The King of Limbs
This song, coming off the otherwise somewhat underwhelming The King of Limbs, is one of the band’s most recent highlights.
It’s a track that doesn’t sound like much at first. But once you give it a few listens, its full beauty really comes into view.
Using looping almost as another instrument, Yorke adds to this slow, fluid song gradually, turning it into a slow burner.
His voice encircles the song, aided by beautifully understated playing from Greenwood and O’Brien.
Even though they sometimes like to avoid normal guitar rock, something tells me these guys aren’t done creating acoustic beauties, if they can still make stuff like this.
Jackson Maxwell is a freshman at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is double majoring in history and journalism. He is an editorial assistant at the Massachusetts Daily Collegian and has his own music blog entitled "Broken Drums." You can follow him here at http://broken--drums.tumblr.com/ or themotorcade.tumblr.com.
Save almost 17 percent by buying Dale Turner's Guide to Acoustic Rock Guitar Parts 1 and 2 together in this awesome combo pack.
With more than four hours of total instruction, this combo pack makes up the ultimate DVD guide for acoustic rock guitar players!
With these two DVDs, you'll learn the acoustic rock secrets of:
• Randy Rhoads
• Zakk Wylde
• John Mayer
• Eric Clapton
• Dave Matthews
• Neil Young
• Steve Morse
... and many more!
You'll also be taught:
• Basic and Intermediate Soloing
• Tapped & Slapped Harmonics
• Basic Strumming Patterns
• Acoustic Blues
• Economy & Hybrid Picking
• Arpeggiated Chords
• Travis Picking
... and much more!
Your instructor, Dale Turner, is a teacher at Hollywood's legendary Musicians Institute and a Guitar World magazine columnist. Turner also is the author of more than 50 instructional books, including Power Plucking- A Rocker's Guide to Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar. You can hear his masterful playing on his album Mannerisms Magnified, available through Amazon.com.
NOTE: This DVD includes a .pdf file with tabs. To access the .pdf file insert the DVD into your computer. Windows users should access the DVD drive through the 'Computer' folder on their task bar. The DVD name will appear in the DVD drive of this folder. Right click the DVD name and select Open to access the .pdf file with tabs.
From the GW Archive: This feature originally appeared in the May 2002 issue of Guitar World. The story has a "time capsule" theme: We asked several veteran guitarists to choose the one song they'd most want to be remembered by after many years. Here we are, 11 and a half years later (Does that qualify as "many"?), opening the time capsule to examine its contents! Enjoy!
A few decades ago, NASA sent a probe called Voyager straight out of the solar system. Its mission: to make contact with alien intelligence.
The capsule was crammed with artifacts — including greetings in more than 50 languages — intended to convey information about Earth's cultures. But just in case those items failed to communicate across language barriers, NASA also included a recording of Chuck Berry performing his rock and roll masterpiece "Johnny B. Goode."
For a while after Voyager's launch, the joke around the agency was that a reply had been received from an alien civilization: "Forget the scientific shit," went the message. "Send more rock and roll!" But what songs should be sent? We at Guitar World decided the logical place to start would be the musicians themselves.
In a project that started almost five years ago (hence the inclusion of George Harrison), we began asking many of the most influential guitarists in rock, blues and metal one deceptively simple question: "If you had to put one of your songs in a time capsule to be opened sometime in the future, which would you choose, and why?"
Check out Part 1 of the story below.
Look for Part 2 Monday, November 18.
Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen), "Jump"
"I'll probably be playing "Eruption" at every show for the rest of my life, but I guess my time capsule choice would have to be 'Jump.' At the time I really wanted to do something challenging.
Diver Down, the album just before 1984, was half cover tunes, and I hated it. Our producer had told me his theory that if you redo a hit, you're halfway there. But I'd rather bomb with my own shit than make it with someone else's.
So that's when I built my own studio, 5150, which was a major step for me — not to prove any point but just so I could be myself and experiment musically. People were telling me, 'You can't use keyboards, you're a guitar player!" So that's when I wrote 'Jump.' Musically, it was a real departure. We had the challenge of integrating the keyboards and synths with the guitar for the first time.
"The word 'pop' comes from 'popular,' meaning a lot of people like it. Ninety-nine percent of the reason I make music is to, hopefully, touch people with it. And this one touched the most people — so far."
Dimebag Darrell (Pantera), "Fucking Hostile"
Vulgar Display of Power (1992)
"I think the kind of music we play will stand the test of time for however long. But if I had to pick just one, I'd go with the powerful, off-the-cuff statement that is 'Fucking Hostile.'
"When it came out it definitely set the tone and pace for what we were about. I also think our boy Philip [Anselmo, vocals] got it perfectly right lyrically and we got it perfectly right musically.
"So I believe that if somebody heard this song 500 million years from now, they'd go, 'Goddamn, these motherfuckers knew what they were talking about and sure had their jamming skills down'. Plus, I think people will always be hostile, which is another reason I went with this one."
John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)
"D'yer Mak'er,"Houses of the Holy (1973)
"Stairway To Heaven,"Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
"I'd put 'D'yer Mak'er' in a time capsule so I would never have to hear it again or have to explain how to pronounce the title. There were only two types of rhythms that Bonzo [John Bonham, drums] hated playing — shuffles and reggae.
"We were jamming in the latter style at Stargroves, the house we rented from Mick Jagger, and John was going along with it out of politeness, I think. Unfortunately, the jam turning in to a proper song. He did play some marvelous fills, but for me, the whole thing was buttock-clenchingly embarrassing.
"I would also include 'Stairway To Heaven,' but for more positive reasons. It contains all the classic Zep elements, from folk/Celtic through jazz and r&b to hard rock. It also encapsulates the soft-to-heavy dynamics that the band was famous for.
"As for my own performance, it made me smile when a journalist once told me that he considered the bass line at the end of the song one of the finest ever recorded. Unfortunately, it happens to be underneath one of the finest guitar solos ever recorded!"
Kirk Hammett (Metallica), "Motorbreath"
Kill 'Em All (1983)
"I chose it because it has the breakneck tempo we were so fond of in our early days — plus the lyrics set the tone for our lives over the next 10 years.
"And unlike the songs we wrote later, 'Motorbreath' is under four minutes long!"
Robby Krieger (The Doors), "Light My Fire"
The Doors (1967)
“I feel that ‘Light My Fire’ encapsulates the feel of the 1967 Summer of Love. Being in San Francisco or anywhere in California that summer seemed to be the beginning of a whole new way of life. One day at rehearsal, Jim [Morrison, vocals] suggested we all try and write some songs. I went home that night and wrote ‘Light My Fire’—it was the first song I’d ever written.
"The long solo section was based on the modal playing of jazz great John Coltrane. Up until Miles Davis did Kind of Blue and Coltrane recorded ‘My Favorite Things,’ jazz had been mainly bebop, which involved a lot of fast, tricky chord changes.
"So these guys thought, It’s easy to play over a bunch of chords and sound cool—but what can you do over just one or two chords? Can you play something that’s not just pentatonic—that’s based on a mode, a scale—over one chord, and take it farther out than anybody else has gone?
"That was the start of modal playing, which influenced many rock musicians. My long, modal solo in this song was done over the same two chords John Coltrane soloed over on his version of ‘My Favorite Things’—A minor and B minor. So ‘Light My Fire’ helped light a fire for a new generation and opened people’s minds to a new vision. Almost four decades later, the song seems to remain timeless.”
Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule), "Mule"
Gov't Mule (1995)
"'Mule' is a uniquely Gov't Mule song. I've never hear another song that sounds similar to it.
"There are riffs that could be traced back to some of our early influences — which stretch from Cream to Hendrix to Miles Davis and James Brown — but the way the thing is structured doesn't really remind me of another song. And that was always important to us — that most of our songs can't be traced directly back to other songs.
"'Mule' was written at the last minute in rehearsal, right before recording, and it's a first take, so that solos were on the fly — totally spontaneous. It has an awesome bass like from Allen Woody and [Blues Traveler vocalist] John Popper guests on harmonica.
"And it has a political message; the title refers to the fact that when the America slaves were free they were promised '40 acres and mule' by the U.S. government, which most never received. Here we used ti as a broader metaphor about social oppression in so many aspects of modern society."
Joe Satriani, "Time"
Live In San Fransisco (2001)
“If we can assume that they have DVD players in the future, then I would pick ‘Time’ from the Live in San Francisco DVD, because, for better or worse, it captures what we actually do night after night around the world.
"Although it’s near impossible for me to look at myself on a television screen, I’ve learned to accept that that’s what everyone’s been seeing and hearing for all these years, and I have not yet been thrown in prison for doing it.
“The song is interesting to me, compositionally, because the verse is almost like a child’s melody played over the simplest riff. Then the second part of the song jumps into all of this complex harmony and a whole bunch of key changes. The solo section recreates the same scheme, and eventually the song changes meter. The song provides a wild journey of how to construct an interesting instrumental.”
Ace Frehley (Kiss), "Shock Me"
Love Gun (1977)
“I picked this song not only because it’s a well-known Kiss anthem but because it has deep personal significance for me. The song is based on an actual life-threatening experience I had onstage with Kiss in the Seventies in Lakeland, Florida.
"At the beginning of the concert I was coming down the staircase and when my hand touched the railing I was electrocuted, thrown back and knocked out for about 10 seconds.
"The roadies carried me down the rear staircase, behind the wall of Marshalls. I woke up with electrical burns on my hands and totally shaken. Paul [Stanley] announced what had happened, and the concert was delayed for approximately 10 minutes. The whole audience starting chanting ‘We want Ace, we want Ace!’
“I was so disoriented from the incident that I really didn’t think I was going to be able to do the show. But when I heard 15,000 people chanting my name, my adrenaline started pumping and all I could think was, The show must go on! I continued, even though I had almost no feeling in my hand for the remainder of the concert. All I can say is thank God my guardian angel was hovering above me that evening.”
Jeff Beck, "Where Were You"
Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop (1989)
“This is probably the best thing I ever wrote, and it’s a milestone in my playing. It’s where I began to forge a unique new style. The key thing was discovering how I could use bent harmonics.
"That’s basically taking false harmonics and, by bending the whammy bar, constructing melodies and tunes with it—which is something I took even farther on my last album, You Had It Coming. The inspiration for ‘Where Were You’ was the Bulgarian female choir record Mystere des Voix Bulgares. It’s so astonishing when you hear it—it’s like a religious experience.
"When these women all hit a note together, it’s the most amazing sound you’ve ever heard. They sing these kind of broken scales with quarter-tone intervals. It’s extremely emotional music. I realized this was another tonal palette I could experiment with, because the guitar is capable of doing that, particularly with bent harmonics and the whammy bar.”
Michael Schenker (M56) "Lipstick Traces"
“This is one of the first songs I did with UFO, when I was just 18 years old. I’m sure I could pick it apart and find places where a bend is out of tune or something, but the song itself has always been magical for me.
"I have always had very good technique and that has been important to me, but it is not an end in itself—it is a means of expressing just what you want to say, and I feel I did that with this beautiful melody.
"I express every emotion I have through my music—from the darkest and angriest to the most passionate and joyful—but ultimately I have to pick the song that gives me the biggest sense of calm and pace. Because when it comes down to it, I am a romantic guy.”
Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine), "Killing in the Name"
Rage Against The Machine (1992)
“ ‘Killing in the Name’ contains some of my favorite elements of guitar playing: it’s got the huge riff, the propulsive chorus and the ‘angry insect’ guitar solo.
"The song also features a dissonant breakdown, followed by the ‘cavalry charge’ outro, which makes for a fine rocking time all around. These are all things that I enjoy, and that was the very first time they all came together in one song. ‘Killing in the Name’ was RATM’s first single, and it launched our sound as a band as well as my sound as a guitarist in a defining way.
"I have two parallel voices in my guitar playing—the quirky-noises-as-musical-passages concept and the anthemic riffage—and they are well-represented in this song.”
Joe Strummer (The Clash), "If Music Could Talk"
“On my recent album, Global a Go-Go, I had this breakthrough where I was able to do the album from my intuition rather than from my intellect. Me and the band just turned up every day, and it was like the music was telling us what to play. Music, lyrics, solos—it was all of one piece, done in the moment.
"When I think back, the only similar experience happened when the Clash hit New York after touring, and we went right into the Sandinista! sessions. It was very similar in that we had nothing prepared, and a lot of the album just took off by itself. On ‘If Music Could Talk’ I recorded two vocals: one on the left side of the stereo mix, and the other on the right side. And the two vocals were done one right after the other.
"I just love hearing those vocals, even though it doesn’t fuckin’ work that well, because I can hear myself extemporizing, straight off the bat, on my feet, in the moment. And as I was reminded on my last album, music really can talk—to us and through us.”
George Harrison (The Beatles), "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
The Beatles (1968)
“When we actually started recording this song it was just me playing the acoustic guitar and singing it [this version appears on the Beatles’ Anthology 3—GW Ed.], and nobody in the group was interested. Well, Ringo [Starr, drums] probably was, but John [Lennon, guitar/vocals] and Paul [McCartney, bass/vocals] weren’t.
"When I went home that night I was really disappointed. I thought, Well, this is really quite a good song—it’s not as if it’s shitty! The next day I happened to drive back into London with Eric Clapton, and while we were in the car I suddenly said, ‘Why don’t you come and play on this track?’
And he answered, ‘Oh, I couldn’t do that—the others wouldn’t like it.’ Eric was reluctant because there hadn’t ever been any prominent musicians on our records. Finally, I said, ‘Well, sod them! It’s my song and I’d like you to come down to the studio.’
"So Eric showed up, and suddenly everybody started behaving and not fooling around so much. And the song came together nicely. Eric didn’t think his playing sounded ‘Beatles-ish’ enough. So we put the ‘wobbler’ on it, which is what we called ADT [Artificial Double Tracking, the basis of flanging—GW Ed.]
"When I played it in concert with Eric over the years he would play it differently every night. Gary Moore did some shows with me and he also played exceptionally well on this one. I think guitar players like this song because it was structured in a way that gives them the greatest excuse to just wail away.”
Stay tuned for PART TWO of "One for the Ages" Monday, November 18.