Dear Guitar Hero: Jeff Beck
You’ve mentioned in past interviews that your guitar playing has been inspired by vocalists. Has your playing also been influenced by other instruments, such as the pedal-steel guitar, because of the use of the slide and the volume control? —Vincent McDowall
Absolutely, yeah. I do a very poor man’s pedal steel on the Stratocaster. The people I listened to were [steel player] Speedy West with [guitarist] Jimmy Bryant. Unfortunately, the actual physical layout of the steel guitar makes it very difficult to recreate on a regular guitar. But it doesn’t stop one from listening to it and embracing some of the style. There’s a guy now, Bruce Kaphan, who is amazing.
Your tribute to Les Paul at this year’s Grammy Awards was a show stopper, with your spot-on recreation of Les’ sound and style on “How High the Moon” with [singer] Imelda May. Can you talk about Les’ influence on you as a guitar player? —Dan Holland
Les is sadly missed, but he had a great life and he gave us so much more than just the guitar. I’ve always been a huge fan, and his guitar playing inspired me a great deal. I was glad to have had the chance to get to know him. This spring, I’m going to be doing a tribute to Les with Imelda at the Iridium in New York City, and I’m really looking forward to it.
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