Nearly half a century has passed since the Allman Brothers Band released their ground-breaking eponymous debut album on Capricorn Records, in 1969. Combining elements of blues, rock, jazz and country, the Brothers forged a unique sound that emphasized virtuoso guitar playing, powerfully emotive vocals, and deft, inspired group interplay and improvisation.
Artist Jeff Ritzmann always dreamed of owning an extravagant custom guitar like George Lynch’s Skull and Bones or Eddie Van Halen’s Dragon. That desire stayed with Ritzmann until 2006, when the cover of Iron Maiden’s A Matter of Life and Death album inspired him to build a guitar that looks like a tank. He did it, he says, by modifying an off-the-shelf guitar “beyond all reasonable comprehension.”
In last month’s column, I discussed some techniques one can apply when soloing, specifically using both a single-note and a chordal approach in combination to create a kind of “harmonic” improvisation that helps us discover new chords and sounds.
On the first leg of Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth tour, toward the end of the band’s set, there was a moment during the middle of Eddie Van Halen’s solo spot in the show where the world seemed to stop spinning. Even the techs, security staff and backstage production personnel would stop what they were doing to focus on the celestial sounds emanating from the stage, with huge smiles on their faces that mirrored Ed’s beatific grin as he unleashed a staggering cascade of notes. At that particular point in Ed’s solo, it was clear that there was no place in the world that they’d rather be.
The current version of Van Halen is to music what a street rod is to the automobile. With David Lee Roth back as the band’s frontman, Van Halen has restored its classic appeal, but at the same time the addition of 21-year-old Wolfgang Van Halen on bass has modified the band with a significant boost in power and style.
Most power chord forms in rock and metal and comprised of either two or three notes, usually with the root note placed as the lowest note in the chord, joined with a note a fifth higher to create the two-note form, or with an additional root note on top to create a three-note-form. Equally effective are power chord forms built from fourths.
“Hmmm, let’s see now...the ’57 Gretsch or the ’58 Goldtop?” Joe Walsh contemplates a bevy of highly collectible vintage guitars strewn in open cases across the floor of a Hollywood photo studio. Broad shouldered and looking fit, he towers over the instruments, meditatively stroking his chin. A Guitar World cover shoot is serious business, and Walsh brings to it consummate professionalism that has guided him through over four and a half decades as a classic-rock guitar legend.
A host of musicians, celebrities and comedians — including Duff McKagan, Sharon Osbourne and Scott Ian — turned the heat up on guest of honor Zakk Wylde at Guitar World’s Rock & Roll Roast. The result? A brewtally funny good time.