The cascading waterfall of sound that is Eric Johnson's lead playing has captivated players and listeners for 30 years. In Johnson's ethereal soundscape, all the edges are smoothed away. Even the distinction between scales and arpeggios seems to blur. His patterns tumble imperceptibly through positions. And his limitless supply of sparsely voiced diatonic chord substitutions only enhances the vertigo.
Sure, there are scores of stellar live versions of Stevie Ray Vaughan's version of "Texas Flood" online, but there's simply something magical about this raw performance from July 17, 1982, at the Montreux Jazz and International Music Festival. The extended, dynamics-filled rollercoaster ride finds SRV reaching into his bag of King-meets-Hendrix Licks — not mention behind his back, where his Strat rested for the final third of the song.
Electric guitars are often compared to cars, but one important distinction is that car design continues to progress across the board, while guitar design, with a few notable exceptions, seems predominantly stuck in bygone eras.
Here's another entry from the "Look what's making the rounds on Facebook!" file. It's a (vertically shot, ugh) video of a one-armed guitarist named "Mark" playing a high-quality version of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," outdoors, on a street, somewhere.
OK, this 2009 video is anything but new—and it's aging as I type this!—but it just wound up in my inbox for the first time ... and I like it. It's a brief clip of Jeff Beck and his then-bassist, Tal Wilkenfeld, playing a duet of sorts on Wilkenfeld's bass at New York City's Irving Plaza April 10, 2009.
When it comes to shred, few guitarists can rip like Paul Gilbert. As the driving force behind shred-progenitors Racer X and the chart-topping late-Eighties outfit Mr. Big, Gilbert dazzled with his unhuman fretboard range that included wide stretches and intervallic leaps.