Features http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/5/all en Dear Guitar Hero: Robin Trower Discusses 'Bridge of Sighs,' His Vibrato, Guitars, Effects and More http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-robin-trower-discusses-bridge-sighs-his-vibrato-guitars-effects-and-more <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Robin Trower's mind-blowing landmark album </em>Bridge of Sighs<em> came out 40 years ago. But what </em>Guitar World<em> readers really want to know is…</em></p> <p><strong>The legendary Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick worked on your great 1974 <em>Bridge of Sighs</em> album. What did he bring to the party? — Michael Maenza</strong></p> <p>Geoff was certainly a key element in creating that wonderfully huge guitar sound you hear on things like “Day of the Eagle” and the title track. We were really lucky to get him, considering he was one of the top engineers in the world at that time. </p> <p>It had something to do with my label, Chrysalis Records, being in bed with AIR Studios in London, which was owned by Beatles producer George Martin. The guitar sound on <em>Bridge of Sighs</em> was my invention, but Geoff came up with the way of capturing it to its fullest, and he had a hell of a lot to do with the success of the record. </p> <p><strong>How quickly was <em>Bridge of Sighs</em> recorded? — Jean Halliday</strong></p> <p>Quick! Around 16 or 17 days. We were touring a lot around that time and we had been sneaking a lot of material into our set, so we were well rehearsed and knew the songs. The studio was quite big, and we basically all played sectioned off in the same room. </p> <p>Here was the weird thing, getting back to Geoff Emerick. While we played, Geoff just listened while he walked around the room and placed the mics where he thought things sounded best. He basically put one mic close to the amp, one mid field and one far away. There was no science—it was just him and his magic set of ears. </p> <p>He was great during the mix. He’d let me sort of ride the guitar track, and every once in a while I’d ask whether the guitar was too loud, and he’d always say “no.” The guitar was never too loud for him! But that’s sort of the great thing about playing in a trio. Nothing is ever too loud; nothing really gets in the way of anything else. There is always plenty of space. </p> <p><strong>The tone on <em>Bridge of Sighs</em>, and on all of your albums, is usually pretty amazing. Do you own a magic Marshall or a special Fender Strat? — Dick Marchand</strong></p> <p>There was no magic 100-watt Marshall or special guitar. Almost everything I owned was pretty new. I just went to Manny’s, the legendary guitar shop in New York City, and listened to about six or eight Strats acoustically and settled on a black one and a white one. I used those for quite a while. I’m not overly picky. </p> <p>Several years ago, Fender created a signature model for me, and I’ve got about six or seven of those. I basically switch between two or three favorites. Each one is slightly different, and when I get bored with one I move to the other one. Even though they are made all the same way and should sound exactly alike, each one has its own character, which I think is wonderful.</p> <p><strong>You’re known as a guitar player, but you also are also a lyricist and songwriter. Do you like writing lyrics or is it a pain? How did you come up with the song “Bridge of Sighs”? — Homer Wagner</strong></p> <p>I do like to write lyrics! I get a great deal of satisfaction out of songwriting. I had the first line to “Bridge of Sighs” for a long time, but I couldn’t come up with a title to hang it on. Then one day, I was reading the sports pages and came across a racehorse named Bridge of Sighs and thought, What a great title!</p> <p><strong>You write a lot of slow jams and stoner grooves. Aren’t you ever afraid of boring your audience or putting them to sleep? — Rick Ferrante</strong></p> <p>As long as a song has some sort of dynamic or emotional power, the tempo doesn’t matter. I love slower songs like “Daydream” and “About to Begin,” because as a guitar player they allow me to go much deeper and really be expressive with my playing. </p> <p><strong>Your sound has a huge amount of midrange, and even though you use effects and distortion, it’s almost never mushy. What’s your secret? — Paul Kirkovitz</strong></p> <p>Good question! These days, I use effects designed for me by Mike Fuller over at Fulltone. He created my signature RTO overdrive that allows me a little more drive without losing the clarity of the note, which is really important to my sound. It allows me to keep what I call the “front end” of the note. There’s no mush. In fact, I use the overdrive all the time, and when I want a cleaner sound I just turn down. That’s one of the great benefits of having a name! [laughs] You can get things made to your specifications. </p> <p>But I also think using heavier strings is an important key to maintaining a nice clear midrange. About 20 years ago I started tuning down a tone so I could use a heavier .012 on the E string and a .015 on the B string and still do all my bends. And using higher action helps. It’s all about getting those strings to ring acoustically, which translates into a great electric sound. That’s where the sound comes from, and you can’t create it after the fact. An instrument always has to sound good acoustically. If it doesn’t, you lose a lot of musicality. </p> <p><strong>You have a really unique vibrato. Who was your role model? — Antwon “King” Kong</strong></p> <p>I came to my vibrato naturally very early on. It was just a fortunate thing; I didn’t really have to work on it. Later, I got into B.B. King and started seeing how I could use it more artistically—the emotional power of applying it at the right place and time. </p> <p><strong>My favorite guitar song of all time is “Daydream,” from your first album, <em>Twice Removed from Yesterday</em>. How was it written? — Susan Weintraub</strong></p> <p>I actually wrote “Daydream” on an acoustic guitar, and I really tried to capture that kind of sound and feel using an electric guitar. The interesting thing about that recording is that the Uni-Vibe effect was added afterward in the mix. For that reason, the studio version never sounded quite right to me. I never play it live with the effect on it. But perhaps the reason it doesn’t sound right to me is because I conceived it on an acoustic guitar.</p> <p> <strong>Some of your earlier songs like “The Fool and Me” and “Day of the Eagle” have a serious R&amp;B vibe. Were you into disco in the Seventies? — Dylan Koplanski</strong></p> <p>No! [laughs] I didn’t really like disco, but I understand where the question is coming from. I think that side of those songs might’ve come from our drummer at the time, Reg Isidore, who was really into all kinds of R&amp;B music and brought that element into our sound. And our singer, the late, great James Dewar, was essentially a soul singer. I would classify myself as a rock musician with blues and R&amp;B influences, because all good rock has an element of black music in its foundation. In many ways, the early Robin Trower Band was a sort of fusion of funky influences. I don’t think we realized what we were doing at the time—we were just trying to make good music—but it was a really interesting combination of styles. </p> <p><strong>Do you ever get sick of being compared to Jimi Hendrix? I know I do! — James Hendricks</strong></p> <p>Not really. In many ways it’s a compliment. I drew a lot of inspiration from Jimi, particularly the Band of Gypsys era.</p> <p><em>Photo: Vicky Robin</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-robin-trower-discusses-bridge-sighs-his-vibrato-guitars-effects-and-more#comments Dear Guitar Hero January 2015 Robin Trower Interviews News Features Magazine Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:36:36 +0000 Brad Tolinski http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23411 Blackberry Smoke's 'Holding All the Roses' Serves Up a Dozen Southern-Fried Cuts http://www.guitarworld.com/blackberry-smokes-holding-all-roses-serves-dozen-southern-fried-cuts <!--paging_filter--><p>The rise of Blackberry Smoke, a hard-working, heavy-riffing quintet of southern-fried road monsters, hasn’t exactly been meteoric. </p> <p>For the past 14-plus years, the Atlanta-based rockers have been enjoying what frontman Charlie Starr calls a “slow build,” playing more than 250 shows a year, touring with ZZ Top, releasing a handful of studio and live discs and, most importantly, forging a legion of rabid fans.</p> <p>Although their last album, 2012’s <em>The Whippoorwill,</em> helped launch them into the role of southern rock’s newest hirsute ambassadors, their upcoming effort, <em>Holding All the Roses</em> (due in February via Rounder Records), holds the promise of upping the ante. </p> <p>The 12-song set, which was produced by fellow Atlanta native Brendan O’Brien [AC/DC, Neil Young], is packed with crunchy back-porch grooves, greasy riffs, snarling guitar tones and simply irresistible hooks.</p> <p>“This record gives the listener a lot to more to listen to,” says Starr, the band’s chief songwriter, singer and guitarist. “There’s nothing wrong with a meat-and-potatoes record like <em>The Whippoorwill</em>, but this time we put a lot more into the pie. Some people might think that means it sounds overproduced, but then I guess it is, because we produced more.”</p> <p>Besides Starr’s main ax, a 1956 Gibson Les Paul Jr., the <em>Holding All the Roses</em> gear pile includes Starr’s <a href="http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-USA/Music-City-Jr-B-Bender.aspx">Gibson Music City Jr. with B-Bender,</a> which can be heard on “Fire in the Hole,” a host of vintage Fender and Marshall amps and several by Greg Germino of North Carolina that were built in the style of Sixties Plexi amps.</p> <p>For Starr, who shares six-string duties with Paul Jackson, it’s all about the riffs. </p> <p>“I’m a guitar player first, so the songs are always riff-oriented. That part is usually already done, so it’s a tall job for Paul to find a part that complements the riff. Sometimes he and I sit down and work on the whole Allmans-style ‘weaving’ thing, trying to find that guitar magic.”</p> <p><em>Photo: Troy Stains</em></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-30%20at%204.06.34%20PM.png" width="620" height="497" alt="Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 4.06.34 PM.png" /></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/blackberry-smokes-holding-all-roses-serves-dozen-southern-fried-cuts#comments Blackberry Smoke Damian Fanelli February 2015 GWLinotte Interviews News Features Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:12:57 +0000 Damian Fanelli http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23410 Frontal Assault: The Top 10 Guitar-Playing Frontmen in Rock http://www.guitarworld.com/top-10-guitar-playing-frontmen <!--paging_filter--><p>Even though Metallica's James Hetfield makes it look all too easy, there are countless guitarists who find it challenging to sing while doing anything on the guitar — besides strumming.</p> <p>Some players (myself included) even get bent out of shape when they're asked to provide the simplest of vocal harmonies while playing solos or semi-challenging riffs.</p> <p>Which is why <em>Guitar World</em> has decided to honor the 10 worthy guitarists/singers named below. We feel they are — or were, since we're honoring some artists who have passed away — 10 of the best (if not <em>undoubtedly</em> the best) guitar-playing frontmen in rock history.</p> <p>The criteria is simple: They must have outstanding voices — either technically impressive or pleasingly "warm," unique or offbeat — and a heapin' helpin' of distinctive six-string badassery. Of course, since we're talking about frontmen, they also need a touch of charisma, maybe a spot of quirkiness and/or what is commonly called "stage presence." </p> <p>Note that, while we don't like to exclude such players as Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, this is a list of guitarists who don't/didn't share the frontman spotlight with anyone in the band. This is also why you won't find the Beatles' John Lennon or Paul "guitarist before he was a bassist" McCartney on this list. </p> <p>With that in mind, here are our 10 choices. If you disagree with our picks or would like to suggest other players, let us know in the comments below. Note that these names are presented in no particular order. Once again, the names are presented in no particular order!</p> <p><strong>Frontman: Stevie Ray Vaughan </strong><br /> <strong>Band:</strong> <em>Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble</em></p> <p>With his electrifying prowess, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan refocused attention back to the essentials — guitar, bass and drums in a basic 12-bar format.</p> <p>He had no light show to speak of, no dry ice, no fog, no lasers. He didn't go in for leather-and-studs macho posturing. A longtime local hero in juke joints throughout Austin, Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth, Stevie Ray waved the Texas flag all over the country in one sold-out concert venue after another. </p> <p>His secret? A soft-spoken, laconic man, Vaughan summed it up in three little words: <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/stevie-ray-vaughan-opens-his-first-guitar-world-interview-1984">"I just play."</a></p> <p>Of course, there's more to it than that. Along with his unquestionable prowess on the guitar, Vaughan, who died in August 1990, had one hell of a voice, a voice that still makes every "SRV bandwagon" blues-er sound, well, incomplete. Although you wouldn't have wanted to sit through a concert titled "SRV Sings Verdi" (or "SRV Sings Freddie Mercury"), there's no denying SRV had his own thing, a voice that oozed authenticity and confidence. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/1jG44pIupvw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Frontman: James Hetfield</strong><br /> <strong>Band:</strong> <em>Metallica</em></p> <p>Well, we mentioned Hetfield in the intro to this story, so his inclusion can't be much of a surprise, can it? </p> <p>Besides supplying the instantly recognizable voice of one of the most accomplished heavy metal bands in history, the Metallica frontman has always been lauded for his hard, fast and precise rhythm playing, a style that has had a massive impact on several generations of guitar players.</p> <p>Hetfield, who often is said to have the best right hand in metal, once told <em>Guitar World</em>, “I’d much rather talk about guitar playing. I hate it when people ask me about my lyrics. <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/interview-james-hetfield-discusses-metallicas-death-magnetic">I always feel like telling them to just go and read them.”</a> </p> <p>And who can resist a mid-song Hetfield grunt?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/oxVGfvXdWOY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Frontman: Jimi Hendrix</strong><br /> <strong>Bands:</strong> <em>The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Band of Gypsys</em></p> <p>When Jimi Hendrix first exploded onto the scene, attention was riveted on his radical reinvention of guitar-soloing vocabulary, technique and sound, which was inspired by a now-familiar roster of great blues soloists. </p> <p>But Hendrix had another musical asset that set him apart from similarly influenced British blues-rock contemporaries: undeniable charisma and a voice that clearly stood out from the pack. In that sense, he was the complete package.</p> <p>Although he wasn't the most powerful singer in the world, his voice had a pleasingly warm tone and plenty of soul, as can be heard on "Bold as Love" and "Castles Made of Sand" (and so many other songs). He also added plenty of what could best be described as fun ad-libs ("Dig this, baby...") that would be exploited by future generations of singers in every genre of popular music. Bootsy Collins, anyone?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/a6meMBtTgKQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Frontman: Jack White</strong><br /> <strong>Bands:</strong> <em>The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, Jack White</em></p> <p>It's pure magic when Jack White ascends to the vocal register of vintage Robert Plant — while adding AC/DC-style riffs with his depth-charge guitar playing.</p> <p>“I always look at playing guitar as an attack," White told <em>Guitar Player</em>. "It has to be a fight. Every song, every guitar solo, every note that’s played or written has to be a struggle. It can’t be this wimpy thing where you’re pushed around by the idea, the characters, or the song itself. It’s every player’s job to fight against all of that.”</p> <p>White, who now tours and records under his own name, was (of course) once the more vocal half of the White Stripes. In the July 2002 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>, he explained how stage presentation plays a major part in a band’s success:</p> <p>“Anything involved in presenting yourself onstage is all a big trick. You’re doing your best to trick those people into experiencing something good, something they haven’t thought about before or haven’t thought about in a long time. I’m doing my best to be that vaudeville trickster, to help that happen.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/f5s0R30xCM4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Frontman: Dave Mustaine </strong><br /> <strong>Band:</strong> <em>Megadeth</em></p> <p>Dave Mustaine's story is something a good portion of our readers can relate to: He became his band's singer by default after a series of unsuccessful auditions for vocalists. </p> <p>At that moment, the former Metallica and Fallen Angels lead guitarist became the frontman for Megadeth, one of the world's most important thrash metal bands. </p> <p>The rest, shall we say, is history.</p> <p>"I actually enjoy [singing] a lot of times, but it's not my strong point," Mustaine told Colorado classic rock station 103.5 the Fox in 2013. </p> <p>"I've been working really hard at it the last few years. I wish I would have given it as much attention in the beginning as I do now ... It's definitely a unique voice sound. You know, you hear people like Axl [Rose] or myself or [James] Hetfield or some of the other people that are really easily identifiable, it's scarce. Like Chris Cornell, you hear Chris, you know it's him."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/pYiphqchtDA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Frontman: Steve Marriott </strong><br /> <strong>Bands:</strong> <em>Small Faces, Humble Pie</em></p> <p>We've read your pro-Steve Marriott comments on GuitarWorld.com "list" stories for quite a while now: "How could you <em>possibly</em> leave out the great Steve Marriott? He was one of the most talented singers of all time!"</p> <p>First of all, we agree. We love Marriott, and there was pretty much no chance in hell he'd be left off this list. </p> <p>We'll get to his legendary voice in a minute. First we'll briefly mention his stripped-down but aggressive guitar playing, the steam engine that propelled a slew of Small Faces and Humble Pie tracks, including "All or Nothing," "Tin Soldier," "E Too D," "Get Yourself Together," "What'cha Gonna Do About It" and so many more. </p> <p>Marriott was the Small Faces' Roger Daltrey, but he also was the band's Pete Townshend, using a host of guitars, including an arguably too-big-for-his-body Gretsch White Falcon, to powerfully make his point in so many Sixties masterpieces.</p> <p>And then there's his voice, a voice that is still considered one of the greatest in classic rock. Can words do it justice? Why not just listen to "Afterglow" below? And below that, you'll find Marriott in action on "What'cha Gonna Do About It" with the Small Faces.</p> <p>Marriott, who would later front Humble Pie — where he joined guitar forces with Peter Frampton — died in a fire in 1991.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4thiClBxhPY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mYvi-l2SRnA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Frontman: Kurt Cobain </strong><br /> <strong>Band:</strong> <em>Nirvana</em></p> <p>“We’re just musically and rhythmically retarded,” Nirvana's guitarist, vocalist and chief songwriter, Kurt Cobain, told <em><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/kurt-cobain-talks-gear-and-more-his-final-guitar-world-interview-1992">Guitar World</a></em> in 1991. "We play so hard that we can’t tune our guitars fast enough. People can relate to that.</p> <p>“We sound like the Bay City Rollers after an assault by Black Sabbath,” continued Cobain. “And we vomit onstage better than anyone!”</p> <p>So imagine how comical he'd find it to see the mark he's made on popular music. As Vernon Reid of Living Colour put it, "Cobain changed the course of where the music went … . There are certain people where you can see the axis of musical history twisting on them: Hendrix was pivotal, Prince was pivotal, Cobain was pivotal.”</p> <p>Cobain, with his raw emotion and mélange of untuned metal, drunk punk and Seventies pop, slayed the beast called stadium rock. And no, he wasn't a guitar virtuoso by any stretch, but his creativity, his crunch, his off-beat chugging and droning charm made him <em>unique</em>. It's yet another reminder to create your own thing, your own sound, people!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/OH9SyQY564U" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Frontman: Eric Clapton </strong><br /> <strong>Bands:</strong> <em>Derek and the Dominos, Eric Clapton</em></p> <p>What else can be said about the amazing six-string gifts of Eric Clapton, one of the most lauded guitarists in the universe, 1966's blues-breaking virtuoso who went on to blow minds in Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominos? </p> <p>Still, If you need to read more, be sure to pick up the March 2014 issue of <em><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/guitar-world-march-14-eric-clapton?utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GWMAR14">Guitar World</a></em> magazine, which counts down his 50 greatest guitar moments — but doesn't mention a word about his voice. </p> <p>It's a voice first heard on the Bluesbreakers' 1966 version of Robert Johnson's "Ramblin' on My Mind," a song Clapton was actually reluctant to sing because he didn't think he was good enough. </p> <p>He eventually shared the vocal duties in Cream with bassist Jack Bruce and went on to sing an endless stream of hits and classic-rock staples, starting with 1970's "After Midnight," "Let It Rain" and "Layla," coasting through the Seventies with "Cocaine" and "Lay Down Sally," kicking it up a notch in the Eighties with "Forever Man" and toning things back down again in recent years. </p> <p>As he told <em>Rolling Stone</em>in 2010, these days Clapton is pretty fond of his voice. "It's taken me to be an older guy, an old man, to have an old man's voice. Because I only liked old men's voices. As a kid, I didn't like pip-squeaked singers. It was always someone with authority. And for a singer to have authority, they have to have some kind of social standing. Otherwise, it's fake."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/9TOlZny7B0Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Frontman: Trey Anastasio </strong><br /> <strong>Bands:</strong> <em>Phish, Trey Anastasio Band</em></p> <p>It just stands to reason that a band with an undying cult following has one hell of a frontman. Such is the case for Phish, whose guitar-slinging (and singing) Trey Anastasio — like the rest of the band — has built a magnetic rapport with the band's fans.</p> <p>Anastasio's fluid lines are often wonderfully mind boggling — and can lead a 38-minute version of "Tweezer" to all kinds of new and exciting places.</p> <p>"Musical inspiration can come from just about anywhere," Anastasio told <em>Guitar World</em> in 2000. </p> <p>"For me, so much inspiration comes from the rhythms of the natural sounds in the air. Walking out in the country, you’ll hear certain sounds — a train, a boat, or maybe a horse walking on the road — and each of these sounds has a rhythm. If your mind is open, the simple rhythms of those sounds can inspire you and spark new musical ideas."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_uCSy67k16c" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/T_KyptMAcys" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Frontman: Matthew Bellamy </strong><br /> <strong>Band:</strong> <em>Muse</em></p> <p>As <em>Guitar Player</em> <a href="http://www.guitarplayer.com/miscellaneous/1139/breaking-the-mold-are-matthew-bellamys-custom-instruments-and-pianistic-approach-to-composition-forging-the-future-of-guitarcraft/12752">put it in 2010</a>, Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy is on a quest for futuristic guitar sounds—to the point of designing his own guitars with built-in effects, wireless MIDI and synth capabilities. </p> <p>Not surprisingly, he’s a huge fan of Tom Morello and Jimi Hendrix, and he tries to channel the spirit of their sonic explorations into technology-fueled approaches that work for him and his compositions.</p> <p>Head on over to YouTube (Or just watch the two impressive clips below) to see how everything seems to come together for Bellamy: technology, composition and serious guitar chops:</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4Zc_ms4sRAM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/tlGJdKxvLSU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eric-clapton">Eric Clapton</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/stevie-ray-vaughan">Stevie Ray Vaughan</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/top-10-guitar-playing-frontmen#comments Damian Fanelli Eric Clapton Jack White James Hetfield Stevie Ray Vaughan TC-Helicon Guitar World Lists News Features Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:41:04 +0000 Damian Fanelli http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20723 Song Facts: The Beatles — "I've Got A Feeling" http://www.guitarworld.com/song-facts-beatles-ive-got-feeling <!--paging_filter--><p>The powerful and bluesy "I've Got A Feeling," which John Lennon jokingly called "I've Got A Fever," is a true Lennon/McCartney composition. It blends — via alternation and superimposition — two incomplete songs, one by Paul McCartney, one by Lennon. </p> <p>Both happened to have been written around the same period and based on the same two-chord motif built around a first-position A chord (with the high A note fingered with the pinky). It is the last true collaboration by Lennon and McCartney.</p> <p>McCartney's share of the song, called "I've Got A Feeling" from the get-go, includes a verse, chorus and bridge and was inspired by his relationship with his soon-to-be-wife, Linda Eastman. Lennon provides alternate verses inspired by his personal upheavals of 1968. </p> <p>"I've Got A Feeling" is one of three "live" songs to be included on <em>Let It Be</em>, having been performed as part of the January 30, 1969, rooftop concert. It features McCartney on vocals and his 1963 Hofner 500/1 (adorned with the rectangular "Bassman" sticker from his Fender Bassman amp), Lennon on vocals and his Epiphone Casino, George Harrison on backing vocals and his rosewood Fender Telecaster, Ringo Starr on Ludwig Hollywood Maple drums and Billy Preston on Hohner electric piano.</p> <p>The gritty, hard-edged song, which McCartney still performs live today, benefits from McCartney's screaming vocals, creative, octave-infused bass line (especially during Lennon's portion of the song) and Harrison's tasteful bends and double stops during McCartney's raucous bridge. </p> <p>Although the version featured on <em>Let It Be</em> is the result of a single live take, Phil Spector edited together three mixes to come up with the final product.</p> <p>Because actual rooftop footage of the Beatles has become scarce on YouTube (Maybe they're finally working on releasing the <em>Let It Be</em> film on DVD), we've included an audio-only clip of "I've Got A Feeling." However, we did manage to find a live rooftop version of "Don't Let Me Down," which we've included so you can get a feel for the moment.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/y5Lkjt9kCxA?list=PLQD9vJDjuU-Znw5fDLfw0eRhZc4fVEGtz" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UaAUwRd-xNg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at </em>Guitar World<em> <a href="https://twitter.com/DamianFanelli">Follow him on Twitter</a></em>.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beatles">The Beatles</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/paul-mccartney">Paul McCartney</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/john-lennon">John Lennon</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/george-harrison">George Harrison</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/song-facts-beatles-ive-got-feeling#comments 2011 Beatles Damian Fanelli George Harrison GWLinotte Holiday 2011 John Lennon Paul McCartney Ringo Starr Holiday Blogs News Features Magazine Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:55:40 +0000 Damian Fanelli http://www.guitarworld.com/article/14130 Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi on Fighting with Skinheads, "War Pigs" Inspiration and More http://www.guitarworld.com/black-sabbaths-geezer-butler-and-tony-iommi-fighting-skinheads-and-war-pigs-inspiration <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the all-new March 2015 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>, which features an interview with Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. For the rest of this interview, plus our guide to the 30 greatest classic Black Sabbath songs, plus gear views, tabs, lessons and more, <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-march-15-black-sabbath?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=SabbathExcerpt">check out the March 2015 issue of GW at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> <p>It’s rare that a band emerges and, with one inspired release, simultaneously launches and perfects a genre of music. </p> <p>Such is the singular case of Black Sabbath. Their 1970 self-titled debut, which celebrates its 45th anniversary this year, took the heavy blues and hard-rock idioms that came before and infused them with anthemic tritone riffs, doom-laden drum tempos, maniacal vocals and diabolical lyrics. </p> <p>Black Sabbath’s pioneering sound would later be christened heavy metal, and in many people’s minds that album still reigns supreme as the best representation of the genre. Many influential bands in their own right have come along and made contributions to heavy music, but all of them—from Judas Priest and Van Halen to Metallica and Soundgarden—hail the supremacy of Black Sabbath. </p> <p>Below, enjoy an excerpt from <em>Guitar World</em>'s new interview with Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. Interestingly enough, Butler—who was arrested in California this past Tuesday for assault and vandalism—discussed fighting, including a brawl with skinheads that took place several decades ago.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: Geezer, you’ve mentioned before that “Fairies Wear Boots,” [from 1970’s <em>Paranoid</em>] was inspired by a confrontation you guys had with skinheads. Being a longhair yourself, did you run into a lot of problems in England back then?</strong></p> <p><strong>GEEZER BUTLER</strong> There used to be fighting all the time. I used to be a football [soccer] fan—well, I still am—and I’d go down to watch the [Aston] Villa [Football Club]. I had long hair at the time. </p> <p>Then this one day, the skinheads, or hooligans, turned on the people with long hair, even though we were fans too. So after that I couldn’t go down there. This other time we did this gig in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare [in North Somerset, England], and we had a fight with all these skinheads. I think that’s where the lyrics for “Fairies Wear Boots” came from.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/u3g0NhJ7__k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Do you remember what kicked off the fight?</strong></p> <p><strong>BUTLER</strong> We didn’t get paid! [laughs] I was the one that used to go collect the check. We’d had this problem where we’d go collect our money and the guy would go, “Oh no, we sent the check in the post [mail].” We were promised that we’d get the money on the night, so I went to the promoter to get it. And he said, “Oh, I already sent it to your manager.” </p> <p>I went outside to the telephone to make a call to the manager and I got surrounded by all these bloody skinheads, going, “Kill him! Kill him!” So I had to time it right so I could throw the phone at them and leg it back into the gig. [laughs] I told Tony, and of course he said, “Come on, let’s go.” And he grabs a microphone stand and we went out for a battle with them. Fucking nuts.</p> <p><strong>Parental groups and decency nags always bemoan the satanic and occult allusions in Black Sabbath lyrics. But Geezer, you were also writing about current social issues, too, on the track “War Pigs.” Were you following the Vietnam War, Civil Rights movement and political unrest going on at the time in the United States?</strong></p> <p>It was actually being covered more [in the press] in England than in America. They had this program on in England, and it showed all the stuff that wasn’t being told to the American people. Stuff like how the president [Lyndon Johnson]’s wife, Lady Bird Johnson, had this road-building company. The Americans would go in and bomb all these roads [in Vietnam]. Then her company would go in and rebuild them and get the money. They weren’t saying all that in America. We wrote “War Pigs” because many American bands were frightened to mention anything about the war. So we thought we’d tell it like it is.</p> <p><strong>In 1971, you released <em>Master of Reality</em>, which saw the band experimenting a bit more with tracks like “Solitude” and the acoustic instrumental “Orchid.” Tony, had you always played acoustic or did you pick it up around that time?</strong></p> <p><strong>TONY IOMMI</strong> No, I never played acoustic that much at all really. I don’t even remember where we did that track, to be honest. I think the idea on the album was to have a bit of light and shade and relax it from the heavier stuff.</p> <p><strong>Speaking of heavier stuff, what were you coughing on during that intro to “Sweet Leaf”?</strong></p> <p><strong>IOMMI</strong> [laughs] I choked me bloody self! It wasn’t intended to happen, and it wasn’t supposed to be on the track. We were in the studio tracking that song, and Ozzy gave me a joint and I nearly choked myself. The tape was on, so of course they wanted to use it to begin the track.</p> <p><strong>BUTLER</strong> You couldn’t have gotten anything more appropriate for a song called “Sweet Leaf.” [laughs]</p> <p><strong>That’s the truth. But the title “Sweet Leaf” was actually inspired by a different type of smoke, right?</strong></p> <p><strong>BUTLER</strong> Yeah the name “Sweet Leaf” came from the [Irish brand of] cigarettes called Sweet Afton. I’d just come back from Dublin. Everyone smoked back then, so I’d be offering them all cigarettes. You’d open the top of the package and it said something like, “It’s the sweet leaf.” I thought, Hmmm, That’s a good title.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IIoVoOfBHW0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>The following year, Sabbath headed to Los Angeles’ Record Plant Studios to track <em>Vol. 4</em>, on which you broke new ground with “Changes.” It’s a piano ballad, and the lyrics are quite touching, which makes it a very unusual track for Sabbath.</strong></p> <p><strong>IOMMI</strong> It was a sad track as well. We were staying in this house and there was a ballroom with a piano in it. It was back in the days of doing a bit of blow and staying up late. And I just started playing and coming up with this idea. We had a Mellotron and Geez started to play the orchestrations. It fit well and came about pretty quickly, considering we’d never done anything like that before.</p> <p><em>Photo: Ross Halfin</em></p> <p><strong><em>This is an excerpt from the all-new March 2015 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>, which features an interview with Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. For the rest of this interview, plus our guide to the 30 greatest classic Black Sabbath songs, plus gear views, tabs, lessons and more, <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-march-15-black-sabbath?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=SabbathExcerpt">check out the March 2015 issue of GW at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-29%20at%2010.15.18%20AM_0.png" width="620" height="812" alt="Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 10.15.18 AM_0.png" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tony-iommi">Tony Iommi</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/black-sabbath">Black Sabbath</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/black-sabbaths-geezer-butler-and-tony-iommi-fighting-skinheads-and-war-pigs-inspiration#comments Black Sabbath Geezer Butler March 2015 Tony Iommi Interviews News Features Magazine Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:51:18 +0000 Brad Angle http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23391 Learn Eight Classic Eagles Songs with New Book/CD, 'Eagles: Acoustic' http://www.guitarworld.com/learn-eight-classic-eagles-songs-new-bookcd-eagles-acoustic <!--paging_filter--><p>The new <em>Eagles: Acoustic</em> book/CD is part of the Guitar Play-Along Series, which helps you play your favorite songs quickly and easily. </p> <p>Just follow the tab, listen to the CD to hear how the guitar should sound, and then play along using the separate backing tracks. The melody and lyrics are also included in the book in case you want to sing, or to simply help you follow along. </p> <p>The audio CD is playable on any CD player, and also enhanced so Mac &amp; PC users can adjust the recordings to any tempo without changing pitch!</p> <p><em>The Eagles: Acoustic</em> includes eight Eagles hits:</p> <p> • After the Thrill Is Gone<br /> • Desperado<br /> • Lyin' Eyes<br /> • New Kid in Town<br /> • Peaceful Easy Feeling<br /> • Sad Café<br /> • Take It Easy<br /> • Tequila Sunrise.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/tab-books/products/the-eagles-acoustic/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=EaglesAcoustic">This 72-page book is available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $17.99.</a></strong></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eagles">Eagles</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/learn-eight-classic-eagles-songs-new-bookcd-eagles-acoustic#comments The Eagles News Features Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:49:48 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/18783 Julian Lage Discusses His New Solo Guitar Album, 'World's Fair' http://www.guitarworld.com/acoustic-nation-julian-lage-discusses-new-solo-guitar-album-worlds-fair <!--paging_filter--><p>Julian Lage is much more than just a jazz musician. </p> <p>While his musical foundation is rooted firmly in the world of bebop and swing, his playing encapsulates the full breadth of 20th-century American music. </p> <p>The ghosts of Eddie Lang, Skip James, Doc Watson and Elizabeth Cotton haunt his vintage Martin 000-18, with which he creates a sound that is distinctly modern yet deeply indebted to the American folk music tradition. </p> <p>Growing up in Northern California, Lage was something of a guitar prodigy. Practically before he could read, he was sitting in on jam sessions with David Grisman and Bela Fleck; and by his early teens, he was touring with legendary jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton. </p> <p>In addition to leading his own ensembles, Lage has since performed with too many stellar musicians to recount. Whether playing fiddle tunes with Punch Brother’s guitarist Chris Eldridge or free jazz explorations with experimental guitar wizard Nels Cline, his stunning virtuosity and melodic intrepidness are always on display.</p> <p>Lage’s upcoming release, <em>World’s Fair,</em> is a solo guitar project he says was inspired by classical master Andres Segovia. Though he’s quick to describe himself as a jazz guitarist first and foremost, <em>World’s Fair</em> showcases a more orchestral approach to the instrument. For Lage, the guitar is its own tiny orchestra, and in his hands the musical possibilities seem endless.</p> <p>While driving north to a gig in Portland, Oregon, with Cline, Julian spoke with me about his approach to improvisation, playing with dynamics and performing solo on his upcoming album.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: You have such a strong melodic sense to your playing. Even when you’re playing these fast, complicated lines, they always sound very musical. As a guitarist, it’s so easy to get stuck in certain patterns and shapes while playing a solo, but you seem to embrace what’s cool about the linear nature of the guitar while always retaining a high level of musicality. How do you keep this balance while improvising?</strong></p> <p>Well, thank you, first of all. I think it’s a fascination I have with the guitar as a mechanism. I love the design, the open strings, the way it’s tuned—it can be challenging, and you’re totally right, there are traps you can fall into; but it’s also one of the most lyrical instruments in the sense that you can play really simple things and they will sound kind of righteous. </p> <p>Even just playing a C major triad can be so satisfying! I would say as a directive, what I envision starts with the guitar’s design. I don’t really have to avoid certain things; I just end up doing what sounds obvious to me. A big part of what gives my playing a sense of melody is that it has an intervallic architecture. I think in terms of ratios, where I will play a bunch of notes really close together chromatically and then notes that are wide apart. I’m almost playing with—not deception or illusion—but implying this breathing organism that is at times really tight and at others really open. This intervallic approach is how you get a different sense of orchestration that wouldn’t typically be applied to the guitar.</p> <p><strong>I love the way you utilize dynamics. It creates such an expressive style that is so unique to you. How conscious are you of playing with a sense of dynamics?</strong></p> <p>I think it’s as simple as that I’m a sucker for as wide a dynamic range as you can have on the guitar. I love Django Reinhardt, for example, who is the most unbelievably dynamic, fluid and dramatic player. I’m drawn to players that have a sense of drama, ones that know how to drip you and make you feel like the end of their solo coincides with the end of the world! I think you’re either drawn to that style or you have other ways of achieving drama. </p> <p>I’ve always been fascinated with what the opposite of that style of playing would be, because if I know what the opposite is, I can work in the other direction. So the opposite of dramatic playing might be very monotone and lack variation within the intervallic structure. Instead, I might purposely play with dips in volume and incorporate a balance of staccato and legato lines. It’s conscious in the sense that I’m making an effort to do it, but I always feel like I could do more. I think, “Man I could have made it sound so much more like a voice if I didn’t play those five notes at the same volume.” It’s always a work in progress. </p> <p><strong>The compositions on this album incorporate a wide range of genres of essentially American music. There’s jazz, folk, bluegrass, it reminds me a lot of what David Grisman did back in the Seventies. How did you go about cultivating this style?</strong></p> <p>Grisman is totally one of my life heroes, so is Bela Fleck—these are guys I was around a lot as a young person. </p> <p>People always say, “You know Grisman invented Dawg Music,” but if you listen, it was really just music. He took his favorite aspects of everything. I think rock bands do this all the time and so do pop artists to a large degree, but maybe in jazz it’s still kind of novel. People say, “Wow, you would take that and put it with that!” I still consider what I do jazz, but I totally agree with you that what I’m doing is distinctly American in a way. There are certain aesthetics on this record that you’re more likely to find in contemporary acoustic chamber music, American classical music and old-time fiddle music. </p> <p>The same is true with the rhythmic propulsion on the record. I purposely stayed away from playing anything with a swing feel, because I didn’t think solo guitar was the format for me to play swing. Instead, I incorporated things like Travis-picking styles and doo-wop styles. That feel is also a big part of what gives the music a location. So it wasn’t a conscious thing, but I was around people who did that very naturally and maybe I took it for granted. </p> <p><strong>Speaking of swing feel, I’d imagine a lot of people would except this album to be more of a Joe Pass solo guitar thing, but it’s really not. You’ve said Segovia was a big influence for this album. Can you speak to that?</strong></p> <p>Yeah, good point. Segovia is my hero. He and Julian Bream are just the greatest. It’s funny; when I was younger, I thought I wasn’t smart enough to like him. I thought his playing was the ultimate in virtuosity. But then when I started listening to him, as I got older, I thought, “This is music I could just put on in my house and listen to all day.” There was no elitism; it was just such rich music. There was also a legitimacy that Segovia brought to the guitar as a concert instrument. He made it so it was no longer this weakling trying to fit in with an orchestra, but also not this bombastic thing. </p> <p>What he did was on par with someone sitting down at a Steinway piano. So that was the inspiration: I wanted to make a record that I would want to listen to in the background. I also wanted to keep it consistent with having three to four minute songs I could play for anybody and not have to say, “Oh, I wish you could hear this with a bass player.” </p> <p>Segovia’s probably the all-time greatest example of that. I don’t pretend to think I’m on his level, and I’m also coming at it from a very different angle, but I do think it’s worth striving for. As for the Joe Pass and Martin Taylor School of solo guitar, those guys are insane! They’re so good. I also have enough respect for them to realize I don’t do what they do; and that since it already exists at such a high level, I should do something different. </p> <p><strong>You mentioned to me earlier you’re currently driving to a gig with Nels. You’ve played in a number of intriguing duos already in your career. How would you compare solo playing to playing in a duo?</strong></p> <p>Playing in a duo is kind of the dream for me. Playing with Nels is the ultimate. Pretty much every duo I’ve been a part of is because I like the person and they happen to play music and then we happen to play together. It hasn’t been deliberate like, “The sound of two guitars is what I’m looking for.” Instead it’s just been because I love Nels or whomever else I’m playing with. We just both happen to play guitar. Solo playing is about learning how to be stronger in different ways. </p> <p>A lot of my musical life has been about responding and interacting, and with solo guitar I still have to do that but with myself. I have to be very resourceful when it’s just me and enjoy even the little stuff that I play. It can’t all be explosive, fast stuff; I need more mundane, beautiful things. It’s sort of a lesson in self-compassion, because if you start to hate what you’re playing it can be a very long night. And then when I come back to a duo, it’s like I’ve come back to a big band. I feel like the sound just quintupled! That all makes it pretty fun, they go well together. </p> <p><em>For more about Lage, visit <a href="http://www.julianlage.com/">julianlage.com.</a></em></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-29%20at%2012.53.56%20PM.png" width="620" height="620" alt="Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 12.53.56 PM.png" /></p> <p><em>Ethan Varian is a freelance writer and guitarist based in San Francisco. He has performed with a number of rock, blues, jazz and bluegrass groups in the Bay Area and in Colorado. <a href="http://dig-it-music.blogspot.com/">You can view his music blog here.</a></em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/acoustic-nation-julian-lage-discusses-new-solo-guitar-album-worlds-fair#comments Acoustic Nation Julian Lage News Interviews Blogs Interviews News Features Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:58:32 +0000 Ethan Varian http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23388 Guide to the Songs and Instruments Featured on The Beatles' 'A Hard Day's Night' Album http://www.guitarworld.com/guide-songs-and-instruments-featured-beatles-hard-days-night-album <!--paging_filter--><p>There was no mania quite as manic as Beatlemania, and it was at its undisputed height in 1964. </p> <p>In February, the Beatles had conquered the United States, the birthplace of their rock and roll idols, appearing twice on the Ed Sullivan Show and performing pandemonium-inducing shows at the Washington Coliseum and Carnegie Hall. </p> <p>In early April, they owned the top five spots on the Billboard singles charts. To top it all off, they were about to become film stars, and they needed an album — their third — to coincide with the film’s release.</p> <p>Titled <em>A Hard Day’s Night</em>, a 90-minute black-and-white comedy presented a typical day in the life of the Beatles, and took about 50 days to shoot — from March 2 to April 24. Producer Walter Shenson asked the band for “six or seven” songs for the film (It wound up being seven), a mixed bag of ballads and up-tempo numbers. Of course, they’d need twice that number of songs for a full album.</p> <p>“There were times when we honestly thought we’d never get the time to write all the material,” Lennon said. “But we managed to get a couple of [songs] finished while we were in Paris.” While sessions for <em>A Hard Day’s Night</em> started in earnest at Abbey Road Studio Two on February 25 with Lennon’s “You Can’t Do That,” McCartney’s “Can’t Buy Me Love” was recorded January 29 at Pathé Marconi Studios in Paris. </p> <p>The song, a bouncy, jazzy minor blues in C with an eight-bar major chorus, was finished in four takes after notable evolution from the first take to the last. It features a catchy, double-tracked solo break by Harrison, who employs his Gretsch Country Gentleman and his new toy, a 1963 Rickenbacker 360-12, which was overdubbed when he acquired the guitar in February.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SMwZsFKIXa8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Back at Studio Two, Harrison’s 12-string Rickenbacker was put to work on several songs, including “You Can’t Do That,” “I Should Have Known Better,” “I’m Happy Just to Dance With You” and the album’s stunning title track. The jangly 12-string Rickenbacker heralded the dawn of a new Beatles sound for 1964 — as if the chart-topping Fabs needed to reinvent themselves — and influenced a host of other guitarists, most notably Pete Townshend of the Who and Jim McGuinn of the Byrds.</p> <p>In addition to the Rickenbacker 360-12 and Gretsch Country Gentleman, Harrison used his Gibson J-160E and a nylon-stringed José Ramírez Guitarra de Estudio guitar, which he’d probably purchased at a guitar shop in Rathbone Place, London, where imported guitars were among the specialties.</p> <p>Lennon alternated between his own Gibson J-160E, which he and Harrison had bought together in Liverpool in 1962, and his new black, or Jetglo, 1964 Rickenbacker 325 Capri. Lennon received the new guitar while the Beatles were resting in Miami, Florida, in mid-February. It had been sent directly to the Beatles’ hotel from Rickenbacker in California.</p> <p>Lennon’s first appearance with the new Capri was on February 15 during rehearsals for their next appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. When the band rehearsed the day before, Lennon was using his 1958 Capri — but that would be the last public appearance of that guitar in Lennon’s hands. The 1964 model (serial number DB122) had a thinner body than the 1958, a slightly smaller headstock with a white Rickenbacker nameplate, and a Rickenbacker Ac’cent vibrato unit. McCartney played his 1963 Hofner 500/1 bass. Lennon and Harrison played through two Vox AC50 amps while McCartney favored a hefty Vox AC100.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Nm4YlZ3oYsQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>The quick evolution of songs was common during this period, as evidenced by the progress of McCartney’s gentle ballad “And I Love Her” over the course of three days. As can be heard on <em>Anthology 1</em>, the band originally attempted this tune with their typical <em>A Hard Day’s Night</em> setup — McCartney on his Hofner 500/1 bass, Lennon on his Gibson J-160E acoustic, Harrison on his 12-string Rickenbacker and Starr on drums, including heavy use of the floor tom for accents. Not until the second take from the third day of sessions did they nail this tune — with Harrison switching to his Ramírez Spanish guitar and Ringo forgoing the drums altogether by playing bongos and claves, another first for the band.</p> <p>Recording of the movie songs chugged along at Studio Two throughout the winter, including Lennon’s ballad, “If I Fell.” With its intricate chord structure and complex harmonies sung by Lennon and McCartney — recorded together at one microphone — the song was completed in 15 takes, all on February 27. </p> <p>It is noted for being the most chord-intensive song the band had recorded so far, with changes taking place with almost every note sung, and also for its inclusion of a rare studio error: McCartney’s cracking voice on the second verse, at the end of the line “would be sad if our new love was in vain” (stereo mix only).</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kPKYPI1jjdg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>A Hard Day’s Night</em> was the first Beatles album to contain only original songs, all of which are credited to Lennon/McCartney, and the only Beatles album on which Lennon is the dominant songwriter, having written 10 of the 13 songs. McCartney wrote “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “And I Love Her” and “Things We Said Today.” </p> <p>Whether you’re talking about the film, the album or the song, <em>A Hard Day’s Night</em> was another massive hit that further fueled the fire of Beatlemania.</p> <p><strong>A HARD DAY'S NIGHT: EXTRA FACTS</strong></p> <p><strong>Recorded:</strong> January 29, February 25–27, March 1, April 16 and June 1 &amp; 2, 1964</p> <p><strong>Location:</strong> Abbey Road Studio Two and EMI Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris</p> <p><strong>Released:</strong> July 10, 1964</p> <p><strong>Track Listing:</strong></p> <p>A Hard Day’s Night<br /> I Should Have Known Better<br /> If I Fell<br /> I’m Happy Just to Dance with You<br /> And I Love Her<br /> Tell Me Why<br /> Can’t Buy Me Love<br /> Any Time at All<br /> I’ll Cry Instead<br /> Things We Said Today<br /> When I Get Home<br /> You Can’t Do That<br /> I’ll Be Back</p> <p><strong>Related Singles and EPs:</strong> “Can’t Buy Me Love” / “You Can’t Do That” (released March 20, 1964, Parlophone); “A Hard Day’s Night” / “Things We Said Today” (released July 10, 1964, Parlophone); <em>Long Tall Sally</em> EP, featuring “Long Tall Sally,” “I Call Your Name,” “Slow Down” and “Matchbox” (released June 19, 1964) </p> <p><strong>Yeah, Yeah …</strong></p> <p><em>"I'll Cry Instead"</em>: This catchy Lennon song, recorded in two parts on June 1 and edited together, rarely gets credit for being one of the first country-rock songs. </p> <p><strong>… No</strong></p> <p><em>"I Should Have Known Better":</em> Lyrically and musically, this is one of the band's least-distinguished songs of the period, and its ultra-simple-even-for-1964 12-string Rickenbacker solo represents a wasted opportunity.</p> <p><em>Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at </em>Guitar World<em>.</em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beatles">The Beatles</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/paul-mccartney">Paul McCartney</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/john-lennon">John Lennon</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/george-harrison">George Harrison</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/guide-songs-and-instruments-featured-beatles-hard-days-night-album#comments 2011 Damian Fanelli George Harrison GWLinotte Holiday 2011 John Lennon Paul McCartney Ringo Starr The Beatles Holiday News Features Magazine Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:54:33 +0000 Damian Fanelli http://www.guitarworld.com/article/14135 2015 Guitar World Review Guide: Gear Year in Review, with Playboy's Jaclyn Swedberg, Raquel Pomplun and Pamela Horton http://www.guitarworld.com/2015-guitar-world-review-guide-gear-year-review-playboys-jaclyn-swedberg-raquel-pomplun-and-pamela-horton <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/buyers-guide/products/guitar-world-2015-guitar-review-guide-1/?&amp;utm_source=facebook&amp;utm_medium=daily_ad&amp;utm_campaign=ReviewGuide15"></a></p> <p><em>Guitar World</em>'s 2015 Guitar Review Guide is <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/buyers-guide/products/guitar-world-2015-guitar-review-guide-1/?&amp;utm_source=facebook&amp;utm_medium=daily_ad&amp;utm_campaign=ReviewGuide15">available now for $7.99!</a></p> <p>The 2015 review guide includes the top picks of the year's best gear, modeled by <em>Playboy</em> Playmates Jaclyn Swedberg, Raquel Pomplun and Pamela Horton. The issue also features the hottest new gear for this holiday season: electrics, recording gear, acoustics, basses, effects, amps, holiday gift ideas, stocking stuffers and more! Plus a special 2015 sneak preview to help you stay current.</p> <p><strong>Sections Include:</strong></p> <p><strong> Electric Guitars</strong> - Whether you like them curvy, slim, big or thick, you'll find just the thing to keep you performing all night long.<br /> <strong> Acoustic Guitars</strong> - If you like your tone au naturel, you'll love this collection of flattops, archtops and acoustic electrics.<br /> <strong> Bass Guitars</strong> - Lift up the low end with big-bottom beauties in every shape and style.<br /> <strong> Amplifiers</strong> - Our combos and stacks have all the knobs and inputs you could possibly want. Plug in and make your main ax scream.<br /> <strong> Effects </strong>- Like to get weird? We've got a throng of boosters, boxes, plug-ins and more that will surely tickle your fancy.<br /> <strong> Recording &amp; Accessories </strong>- Time to freshen up your bag of tricks? Mix things up with some leather straps, a wang bar or maybe even a perky pair of knobs.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/buyers-guide/products/guitar-world-2015-guitar-review-guide-1/?&amp;utm_source=facebook&amp;utm_medium=daily_ad&amp;utm_campaign=ReviewGuide15">The 2015 Review Guide is available now at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/eJz4qQUGwgs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/2015-guitar-world-review-guide-gear-year-review-playboys-jaclyn-swedberg-raquel-pomplun-and-pamela-horton#comments 2015 Review Guide News Features Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:08:41 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/22864 February 2015 Guitar World: The Ultimate Dimebag Darrell Tribute Issue http://www.guitarworld.com/february-2015-guitar-world-ultimate-dimebag-darrell-tribute-issue <!--paging_filter--><p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-february-15-the-ultimate-dime-tribute-issue/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GWFEB15">The all-new February 2015 issue of Guitar World is available now!</a></strong></p> <p>The new issue is the ultimate tribute to <strong>Dimebag Darrell,</strong> 10 years after his death. We take a look at his incredible guitar collection, fan art and ink.</p> <p>This comes with an exclusive, previously unreleased Dimebag demo called "Whiskey Road" on a 7-inch Flexi-Disc. This 2001 recording features Dimebag playing all instruments. This is a <em>Guitar World</em> exclusive item!</p> <p>Purchase this single issue with the "Whiskey Road" Flexi-disc now for $9.99. Or <a href="https://subscribe.pcspublink.com/sub/subscribeform_gtwd.aspx?t=JE5AP1&amp;p=GTWD">click here</a> to subscribe to <em>Guitar World</em> and get this Flexi-Disc with your February 2015 Issue.</p> <p>Next, we celebrate the heaviest of the heavy with <strong>Pantera's</strong> 25 greatest songs from "Revolution Is My Name" to "This Love." </p> <p>Pantera producer Terry Date recalls on Dimebag Darrell's laser-like perfectionism, side-splitting hijinx and how he set the bar higher than most.</p> <p>Finally, in his new autobiography, <strong>Anthrax</strong> guitarist <strong>Scott Ian</strong> recalls how he nearly drank himself to death with the help from the master of excess himself.</p> <p><strong>Six Songs with Tabs for Guitar and Bass:</strong></p> <p> • Dimebag Darrell - "Whiskey Road"<br /> • Black Label Society - "In This River"<br /> • Metallica - "Motorbreath"<br /> • Deep Purple - "Smoke on the Water"<br /> • Judas Priest - "Rapid Fire"</p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-february-15-the-ultimate-dime-tribute-issue/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GWFEB15">Head to the Guitar World Online Store now!</a></strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/DimeDisc.jpg" width="620" height="465" alt="DimeDisc.jpg" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pantera">Pantera</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/dimebag-darrell">Dimebag Darrell</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/february-2015-guitar-world-ultimate-dimebag-darrell-tribute-issue#comments Dimebag Darrell February 2015 Pantera News Features Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:31:31 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23218 Learn All Aspects of Country Guitar Using Real Country Songs http://www.guitarworld.com/learn-all-aspects-country-guitar-using-real-country-songs <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Hal Leonard Country Guitar Method</em> is a 64-page, softcover book that uses real country songs to teach you the basics of rhythm and lead country guitar in the style of Chet Atkins, James Burton, Albert Lee, Merle Travis and many others. </p> <p><strong>Lessons include:</strong> </p> <p>• Chords<br /> • Scales and Licks<br /> • Common Progressions and Riffs<br /> • Carter Style and Travis Picking<br /> • Steel Licks, String Bending and Vibrato<br /> • Standard Notation and Tablature<br /> • and much more! </p> <p><strong>Songs include:</strong></p> <p>• "Could I Have This Dance"<br /> • "Green Green Grass of Home"<br /> • "I Fall to Pieces"<br /> • "Satin Sheets"<br /> • "Yakety Sax"<br /> • and more ...</p> <p><em>Softcover with CD — by Greg Koch.</em></p> <p><strong><a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/tab-books/products/hal-leonard-country-guitar-method/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=HLCountryMethod"><em>Hal Leonard Country Guitar Method</em> is available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $22.99.</a></strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/learn-all-aspects-country-guitar-using-real-country-songs#comments Greg Koch News Features Mon, 26 Jan 2015 03:06:13 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/16858 Guitar World at the 2015 Winter NAMM Show: It's That Time of Gear http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-world-2015-winter-namm-show-0 <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Well, it's over, folks! The 2015 Winter NAMM Show took place Thursday, January 22, through Sunday, August 25, in Anaheim, California.</strong></p> <p>As always, <em>Guitar World</em> NAMM-ed it up, shooting photos and videos, gathering endless gear news and trying out (and gawking at) the coolest and newest guitars, amps, effects, devices for 2015.</p> <p>Check out the <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/tags/namm-2015">NAMM 2015 section of GuitarWorld.com</a> to catch all the latest gear news, which is still being posted, including our newest videos. We still recommend that you follow <em>Guitar World</em> via <a href="https://twitter.com/GuitarWorld">Twitter</a>, <a href="http://instagram.com/guitarworldmagazine">Instagram</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/GuitarWorld">Facebook</a> for access to even more photos.</p> <p>Our coverage will continue with a new round of videos for your viewing pleasure.</p> <p><strong>2015 Winter NAMM Show Wrap-Up</strong></p> <p>• <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/tags/namm-2015">GuitarWorld.com: NAMM Show coverage</a><br /> • <a href="https://twitter.com/GuitarWorld">Twitter: NAMM Show photos and news | @GuitarWorld</a><br /> • <a href="https://www.facebook.com/GuitarWorld">Facebook: NAMM Show photos and news</a><br /> • <a href="http://instagram.com/guitarworldmagazine">Instagram: NAMM Show photos and more | @GuitarWorldMagazine</a></p> <p>If you have a potential gear addiction and just can't get enough NAMM news, check out <em>Guitar World</em>'s coverage of <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/tags/namm-2014">NAMM 2014,</a> <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/tags/namm-2013">NAMM 2013</a> and <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/tags/namm-2012">NAMM 2012</a>.</p> <p><strong>For more about the NAMM Show, visit <a href="http://www.namm.org/thenammshow/2014">namm.org/thenammshow</a>.</strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/77L3kBjwDm8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-world-2015-winter-namm-show-0#comments Gear Spotlight NAMM 2015 NAMM Show new gear That Time of Gear Accessories Acoustic Guitars Videos Amps Bass Guitars Effects Electric Guitars Home Recording News Features Gear Wed, 21 Jan 2015 10:43:30 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23314 New Guitar World DVD: Dave Reffett Teaches You 'Metal and Thrash Rhythm Guitar' http://www.guitarworld.com/new-guitar-world-dvd-dave-reffett-teaches-you-metal-and-thrash-rhythm-guitar <!--paging_filter--><p>A new DVD, <em>Metal and Thrash Rhythm Guitar</em>, is <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/dvds/products/metal-and-thrash-rhythm-guitar/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=MetalThrashDVD">available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $14.95.</a></p> <p>With <em>Metal and Thrash Rhythm Guitar</em>, you'll learn the secret techniques of metal’s greatest riffmasters, plus: </p> <p> • Gallop and reverse-gallop rhythms in the styles of bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer<br /> • Palm muting and chugging<br /> • Double and quadruple picking<br /> • Machine-gun-like bursts punctuated by “holes of silence”<br /> • Chromatic alternate-picking exercises<br /> • Chord stabs and jabs<br /> • Power chord riffs with pedal tones<br /> • String skipping, raking and fret-hand muting<br /> • Natural-and pinch-harmonic “squeals”<br /> • Integrating riffing up and down one string with fret-hand muting<br /> • Stacked power chords, and much more!</p> <p>The DVD features 100 minutes of Instruction!</p> <p><strong>Your instructor</strong></p> <p>Hailed for his incendiary picking technique, Dave Reffett is a fast-rising star in the world of metal guitar and has worked with such renowned artists as Guthrie Govan, Jeff Loomis, Michael Romeo, Mike Mangini, George Lynch, Michael Angelo Batio, Chris Poland, Glen Drover, Glen Sobel, Derek St. Holmes, Michael Devin, Rusty Cooley, Craig Goldy and Annie Grunwald. He produced the critically acclaimed album The Call of the Flames and also played a big role on Batio's album Intermezzo.</p> <p>A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Dave teaches countless students across the globe via live guitar clinics, private lessons and videos and was a recipient of the Berklee World Scholarship Tour award and the Berklee Best award. Dave is an Official artist endorsee for the Dean Guitars, Eminence Speakers, Seymour Duncan Pickups, Mogami Cables, D'Addario Strings and Stone Tone Rock Blocks and has appeared on the covers of Gitar Plus and Heavy Riff Magazines in Asia and Mexico, respectively.</p> <p>Please note: This product includes a PDF booklet on the DVD and can be retrieved by opening the DVD on your computer.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/dvds/products/metal-and-thrash-rhythm-guitar/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=MetalThrashDVD">Head to the Guitar World Online Store now!</a></strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/new-guitar-world-dvd-dave-reffett-teaches-you-metal-and-thrash-rhythm-guitar#comments Dave Reffett News Features Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:35:15 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/22953 Tabs: Play Every Song from Red Hot Chili Peppers' 'I'm With You' http://www.guitarworld.com/tabs-play-every-song-red-hot-chili-peppers-im-you-album <!--paging_filter--><p>Learn to play every song from the Red Hot Chili Peppers' latest studio album, the Grammy-nominated <em>I'm with You</em>.</p> <p>Josh Klinghoffer's distinctive guitar sound has taken the Peppers in an exciting new direction. Here is every delightfully textured, nuanced note from their triumphant 2011 CD transcribed with tab! </p> <p><a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/tab-books/products/red-hot-chili-peppers-songbook/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=ChiliPeppersSongbook">It's available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $22.99.</a></p> <p>Songs include:</p> <p>• The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie<br /> • Annie Wants a Baby<br /> • Brendan's Death Song<br /> • Dance, Dance, Dance<br /> • Did I Let You Know<br /> • Ethiopia<br /> • Even You Brutus?<br /> • Factory of Faith<br /> • Goodbye Hooray<br /> • Happiness Loves Company<br /> • Look Around<br /> • Meet Me at the Corner<br /> Monarchy of Roses<br /> • Police Station </p> <p><a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/tab-books/products/red-hot-chili-peppers-songbook/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=ChiliPeppersSongbook">Head to the Guitar World Online Store now!</a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/RtBbinpK5XI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/tabs-play-every-song-red-hot-chili-peppers-im-you-album#comments Red Hot Chili Peppers News Features Mon, 19 Jan 2015 21:36:48 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/17805 Cracking the Code with Troy Grady: Eric Johnson's Pickslanting Pentatonics http://www.guitarworld.com/cracking-code-eric-johnsons-pickslanting-pentatonics <!--paging_filter--><p>The cascading waterfall of sound that is Eric Johnson's lead playing has captivated players and listeners for 30 years. </p> <p>Sonically, it's an almost formless wash of sunshine. In Johnson's ethereal soundscape, all the edges are smoothed away. </p> <p>Even the distinction between scales and arpeggios seems to blur. His patterns tumble imperceptibly through positions, like falling through clouds. And his limitless supply of sparsely voiced diatonic chord substitutions only enhances the vertigo. And it's the seemingly imperturbable precision of Johnson's right hand that makes it all possible. </p> <p>And now, armed with a modern understanding of picking mechanics, we can actually begin to understand and recreate Johnson's wondrous style.</p> <p>The foundational skill of Johnson's lead style is the ability to play two-note-per-string passages at high speed. And of course, the ideal mechanical system for playing this is downward pickslanting.</p> <p>Wait a minute, downward what?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NdKUIx3fw98" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">Getting Straight with the Slant</span></p> <p>If you haven't watched <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/yngwie-malmsteem-lesson-cracking-code-season-2-episode-1-get-down-upstroke-video">Season 2, Episode 1 of Cracking the Code,</a> now might be a good time to do so! Because it turns out the secret to Johnson's picking technique is precisely the same one that powers Yngwie Malmsteen's legendary scalar accuracy. And it is ingenious and easy to replicate.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/slant-vs-edge.jpg" width="620" height="413" alt="slant-vs-edge.jpg" /></p> <p>By simply rotating the picking hand downward, toward the floor, Johnson and Malmsteen create a subtle but powerful change in the pick's travel. </p> <p>In this position, called downward pickslanting, downstrokes tend to bury themselves between the strings. But upstrokes are where the magic happens: The pick breaks free of the surrounding strings and pulls away from the guitar's body. This makes the upstroke the ideal time to switch strings, because nothing can get in the way. The pick simply drops down on the next chosen string and continues playing.</p> <p>The genius of this solution is that the upstroke itself becomes the string-switching movement. There is no longer any need to jump from string to string, and this removes the primary source of sloppiness and mistakes most players face. Once you remove the error-prone process of "stringhopping" from string to string, it becomes dramatically easier to play with great accuracy.</p> <p>Note also that downward pickslanting is not the same as edge picking. That's a completely different and much more commonly discussed pick angle. And it solves a totally separate problem. Players use the edge of the pick to reduce the resistance of the picking motion against the strings. But pickslanting uses rotation of the hand and/or fingers to change the entire trajectory of the pick's travel. The key is that these two happen simultaneously in Johnson's technique.</p> <p><span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">Ah Via Pentatonic</span></p> <p>In retrospect, this all should have been obvious. Johnson is a one-way pickslanter, and he maintains a pronounced downward pickslant at nearly all times. This pickslant is more aggressive than Malmsteen's, and it's plainly visible, even on standard-definition footage like his 1990 <em>Hot Licks</em> instructional video, <em>Total Electric Guitar</em>. Here's a screen cap of just how clear that is:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/ej-dwps.jpg" width="620" height="465" alt="ej-dwps.jpg" /></p> <p>This pickslant dovetails perfectly with the cornerstone of his lead playing: the pentatonic scale. Thanks to its two-note-per-string design, the pentatonic scale is actually perfectly efficient. By simply starting on a downstroke, and using downward pickslanting, the sequence changes strings cleanly after every upstroke:</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4MdRgbE2GTs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-14%20at%204.55.18%20PM.png" width="620" height="253" alt="Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 4.55.18 PM.png" /></p> <p>As you can see clearly in this closeup footage, captured with our prototype iPhone slow-motion analysis rig, the smoothness and accuracy of the string switching is readily apparent. There is no jumping from string to string whatsoever. </p> <p>Thanks to downward pickslanting, each upstroke is the string change. And this is true whether you're ascending or descending. The mechanics don't change based on the direction of the lick; once the upstroke is in the air, it can drop down in any direction it chooses, either higher or lower.</p> <p>Astute observers also will notice that when played descending, with a down-up sequence on each string, the pentatonic scale is an outside picking lick. When played ascending, that same down-up picking sequence becomes inside picking. Of course, it's still the same picking sequence, and because of this, there is no mechanical difference in difficulty between them. </p> <p>In other words, in a downward pickslanting world like Johnson's, inside and outside picking as concepts have little relevance to actual difficulty. The only thing that matters is making sure that every string change happens after an upstroke.</p> <p><span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">The Pentatonic Cascade</span></p> <p>Now, when you combine the power of the downward pickslanting upstroke with a little sweeping, amazing things start to happen:</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-14%20at%204.57.56%20PM.png" width="620" height="392" alt="Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 4.57.56 PM.png" /></p> <p>This is an example of Johnson's rich pentatonic vocabulary, which I like to call the "cascade," and you can watch the original and my version in the video at the top of this lesson. It combines the power of downward pickslanting with ascending sweeping to create the descending ripple of pentatonic sound that has become Johnson's trademark.</p> <p>This particular cascade moves from the pentatonic box position down to the mid-neck third pentatonic position. Along the way, we see a variety of Johnson's signature moves: the initial ascending pickup, a single-string legato turnaround, a battery of slides and pull-off position shifts and more. It's a vocabulary that is uniquely his, but also immensely powerful as a tool chest in creating your own pentatonic, downward pickslanting explorations.</p> <p>You'll note that every alternate-picked string change in the lick is still an upstroke. But now, we've augmented the mechanical formula with sweeping for switching strings after downstrokes. This is the same formula Malmsteen uses, and the results are truly stunning.</p> <p><span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">Cracking the EJ Code</span></p> <p><strong>If you're interested in learning more about Johnson's picking mechanics, we'll be doing exactly that in the very next episode of <a href="http://www.troygrady.com/code">Cracking the Code, Season 2</a>. That episode, "Eric the Right," is set to roll out soon and includes an extremely detailed pack of more than 30 slow-motion clips and 25 pages of written analysis. That pack is available to our Season Pass holders now, and the episode will arrive shortly.</strong></p> <p>In the meantime, I'll leave you with a sample of some of the amazing and timeless sounds in Johnson's larger repertoire. All of these can be created by following the simple rules we've outlined here. Ah Via Pentatonic, indeed!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mB0a4KtigKY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Troy Grady is the creator of <a href="http://troygrady.com/code/">Cracking the Code</a>, a documentary series with a unique analytical approach to understanding guitar technique. Melding archival footage, in-depth interviews, painstakingly crafted animation and custom soundtrack, it’s a pop-science investigation of an age-old mystery: Why are some players seemingly super-powered?</em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eric-johnson">Eric Johnson</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/cracking-code-eric-johnsons-pickslanting-pentatonics#comments Cracking the Code Eric Johnson Troy Grady Videos Blogs News Features Lessons Fri, 16 Jan 2015 13:19:25 +0000 Troy Grady http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23288