The capo is to guitars what sugar — or Stevia, if you prefer — is to food. It makes everything sweeter. Musicians started noticing the capo's inherent song-sweetening properties sometime in the early 17th century, when primitive versions of the handy accessory were employed to raise the pitch of a host of fretted instruments.
An Independence Day parade of solo-guitar versions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Slash, Steve Vai, Dave Mustaine, Zakk Wylde, Eric Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ted Nugent and -- of course -- Jimi Hendrix.
When a big-name guitarist is invited to play on a recording session, he or she is expected to make a noticeable impact on the song or album being recorded. Bearing that in mind, Jeff Beck — as a session guitarist — has rarely disappointed. Here are his top 10 guest-session appearances.
Paul McCartney turns 72 on June 18, so you probably can expect to come across some online tributes that laud his achievements, longevity and best-loved songs. But while everyone else will most likely praise "Band on the Run," "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "Silly Love Songs," I'd like to draw attention to 10 tracks from McCartney's solo career — a career that started 44 years ago — that just don't get the love they deserve in 2014.
Clarence White was a genuine double threat. His brilliant, Doc Watson-inspired acoustic flatpicking, which incorporated lightning-fast fiddle lines played on an already-vintage Martin D-28 guitar, helped the bluegrass world recognize the guitar as a lead instrument. Several masters of the genre, including Tony Rice and Norman Blake, list him as a key influence.
Some of you might remember an ad that appeared in guitar magazines in the late '80s or early '90s. It showed a photo of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Hearts Club Band LP propped up against a shiny new four-track recorder (possibly a Tascam, but who knows at this point?). The slogan above the photo was something along the lines of "A Couple of Four-Track Masterpieces."
Musicians can still be a little fuzzy when it comes to describing the sound of a fuzz box. Some guitarists will tell you it sounds like a 2,000-pound bee trapped in a sturdy metal box — perhaps with a potentiometer installed somewhere behind the wings. And while many early fuzz guitar tunes and tones did indeed make the most of the original fuzz buzz, fuzz actually has many facets, many sides, many fuzz faces, if you will.
On this date in 1984, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters released his first solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking. The album abounded with something that Eric Clapton’s early Eighties albums sorely lacked: screaming guitar solos — played by Eric Clapton!
Robert Johnson, the man who Eric Clapton called "the most important blues musician who ever lived," was born 103 years ago on May 8, 1911, in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. Although he lived only 27 years, his haunting singing, guitar skills and compositions have influenced generations of musicians — and continue to fascinate the most gifted of guitarists.