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.
Of the four Beatles, George Harrison brought to the group an assortment of electric and acoustic guitar approaches, flavors influenced by everyone from Chet Atkins and Carl Perkins to the Byrds and Bob Dylan.
I’ve always used the Les Paul and Gretsch White Falcon, and they’re both heavily featured on the new album. Regarding the second part, that’s a very pragmatic question. One thing I’ve done with the White Falcon is put things in the body — little bits of T-shirts or whatever — to help stop some of the feedback.
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.”
The Cowcaster is guaranteed to turn heads. That’s because it is one. The one-of-a-kind guitar, designed and built by artist Brent Gandy of Amarillo, Texas, brims with custom features — from Von Dutch–style pin striping on the back of the neck to a hand-carved bull’s head headstock — all of which are connected to an authentic bull skull.
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.