Articles en Thirty Great Guitarists — Including Steve Vai, David Gilmour and Eddie Van Halen — Pick the Greatest Guitarists of All Time <!--paging_filter--><p>Who is the greatest guitarist on the planet?</p> <p>On the face of it, that question is a no-brainer: It's Hendrix. Or Clapton. Or Page. Or Beck. Or ... is it? </p> <p>In 2010, as <em>Guitar World</em> was celebrating its 30th anniversary, we picked 30 guitarists and asked them to name their guitar heroes — and the results will surprise you. </p> <p><strong>ANGUS YOUNG by Joe Perry</strong> </p> <p> Apart from the usual suspects—Page, Clapton, Beck, Hendrix and Peter Green—one of my favorite guitarists is Angus Young. I first saw him when AC/DC opened up for Aerosmith in the Seventies. </p> <p>They played about 25 dates with us, and I was just overwhelmed by his energy and ability to do his acrobatics without missing a note. He definitely had an influence on me inasmuch as his solos always had a purpose. Instead of using all the traditional tricks, he found a way to get inside those licks and be inventive. My favorite AC/DC song is probably “Sin City.” </p> <p> For me, the essence of a good guitarist is someone who plays what the song calls for. It’s about listening to the music as a whole and then doing what you need to do. Sometimes it’s not even what you play; it’s what you don’t play. Which brings us back to Angus Young. </p> <p> <strong>CHUCK BERRY by Angus Young</strong> </p> <p> When I was growing up, everyone used to rave about Clapton, saying he was a guitar genius and stuff like that. Well, even on a bad night, Chuck Berry is a lot better than Clapton will ever be. </p> <p> Rock music has been around since the days when Chuck Berry put it all together. He combined the blues, country and rockabilly, and put his own poetry on top, and that became rock and roll. And it’s been hanging in there. </p> <p> AC/DC’s whole career has been playing rock and roll, and I’m sure you still get a lot of people tuning in to bands like us and the Stones. Younger bands will be plugging into it and taking it into the next realm. There’s always going to be another generation that will take it and give it to a new, younger audience, so I think it will just keep going on. </p> <p> <strong>STEVE VAI by Tom Morello</strong> </p> <p> Some instrumental guitar players are lost in a muso fog. Steve Vai is not one of them. He’s an artist, and one of the greats. </p> <p> I’ve certainly learned from him, especially from his work ethic. I started playing guitar very late, when I was 17 years old. I felt really behind, and when I read about Steve’s practice regimen it really encouraged me. It also nearly killed me! While doing my college studies I was also practicing eight hours a day to amass the kind of technique that I admired in players like him and Randy Rhoads. </p> <p> Once, Steve was doing a presentation at GIT, and he asked me to do it with him. He told me he’d also invited Steve Lukather, Stanley Jordan, Joe Satriani. I said, “No, bro, it sounds like it’s gonna be a shred-off.” But he said, “We’re not even gonna play; we’re just gonna discuss our craft.” So I said, “Okay, I’ll do it.” </p> <p> A couple of days before the event, he says to me, “Just bring your amp and guitar along in case we have to demonstrate techniques.” So of course, I get there for soundcheck, and my worst nightmare has come true: it was six of us in a row with our guitars, and it was nonstop shredding the whole time. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>TONY IOMMI by James Hetfield</strong> </p> <p> As far as being a riff-and-rhythm guy, my favorite guitarist is Tony Iommi. He inspired me to want to play heavy. </p> <p>I admired other rhythm players, like AC/DC’s Malcolm Young, who’d just stay in the back and hold it down, and the Scorpions’ Rudy Schenker, who has a lot of percussiveness in his playing. I also liked Rush’s Alex Lifeson—people wouldn’t think of him as a rhythm player, but he comes up with some pretty amazing offbeat things. </p> <p> But Iommi is the main man. To me, he seemed like one of those quiet geniuses. At one time he was the frontman of Black Sabbath, and Ozzy was off to one side; at that time, the riff was more important than the vocals. Tony can go from the heaviest minor-key doom riff to a happy mode, and it will still sound heavy. Metallica can’t do happy, but Tony can pull it off. My favorite Black Sabbath track is “Into the Void.” </p> <p> <strong>ERIC CLAPTON by Eddie Van Halen</strong> </p> <p> Clapton was it. I knew every note he played. Mammoth—me, Alex Van Halen and a bass player we knew—were the junior Cream. </p> <p> Being limited gear-wise forced me to find my own voice on the guitar. That’s why Eric Clapton’s live jams with Cream were such an influence on me. Back in ’68, he was pretty much just using natural distortion on those live tracks on <em>Wheels of Fire and Goodbye</em>. </p> <p>I had no money and couldn’t afford a fuzz box or a wah-wah or a ring modulator, or whatever Hendrix had in his whole rig. I just plugged straight into an amp and turned it up to 11. So in order to get a different or unique sound, I had to learn to squeeze it out of the strings with just my fingers. I never had a guitar lesson in my life, except from listening to Eric Clapton records. </p> <p> <strong>JIM McCARTY by Ted Nugent</strong> </p> <p> I discovered the most powerful musical influence of my entire life when I played the Walled Lake Casino outside of Detroit. It was either 1959 or 1960. My band the Lourdes opened up for Martha &amp; the Vandellas, Gene Pitney, and Billy Lee &amp; the Rivieras, who went on to become Mitch Ryder &amp; the Detroit Wheels. Their guitarist was Jim McCarty, who played a Gibson Byrdland through a Fender Twin. </p> <p> Standing there watching McCarty rip into his leads, I thought, Dear god in heaven, what is <em>that</em>? It was so outrageous, so noisy, yet so musical and so rhythmical. I realized that simply playing a song would never do again. </p> <p> After I heard him play, I went on a gee-hah to get a Byrdland and a Fender Twin amp—because of the crispness, the thickness, the style of his playing. It was about using all the fingers, all the strings, all the time. </p> <p>That’s where the multi-rhythmic patterns on my song “Stranglehold” come from, with all the grace rhythms, all the counter-rhythms, all the pedal tones that never stop. I’m playing multiple parts on the guitar by using various incremental touches to each string. And that’s because of McCarty. </p> <p> <strong>KEITH RICHARDS by Steven Van Zandt</strong> </p> <p> The British invasion of 1964 to 1966 turned Americans on to our own rock and roll pioneers and blues players. I grew up on Keith Richards, and his lead on the Stones’ versions of Chuck Berry songs helped reinvent the guitar for Beck, Clapton and Jimmy Page. </p> <p>I always felt that you go through that muso phase and stay there or get out. I went out the other end. I didn’t want to be a virtuoso for a minute. So I came full circle to the fact that the guitar solo must serve the song—that’s more important. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>JIMMY HERRING by Alex Skolnick</strong> </p> <p> Some may not know Jimmy Herring’s name, but they will know the bands that he’s played with: the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, and Jazz Is Dead. He’s a hero of the jam-band scene, which is kind of funny, as stylistically he’s very influenced by jazz. </p> <p> Jimmy has his own band called Aquarium Rescue Unit, who operate on a level similar to [<em>jazz-fusion group</em>] Weather Report. Having said that, although people like the Dave Matthews Band and Bruce Hornsby took them out on tour and begged their own label to sign them, Aquarium Rescue Unit never got a decent record deal and eventually disbanded [<em>in 1997</em>]. They reunited in 2005 and have played somewhat sporadically since then. </p> <p> Jimmy is an incredible player. He has the bluesiness of Warren Haynes or Johnny Winter and the vocabulary of John Scofield, with an element of Steve Morse thrown in. If that sounds appealing, then track down a copy of Aquarium Rescue Unit’s 1993 album, <em>Mirrors of Embarrassment</em>. Play it, and you’ll wonder why you’ve never heard of him until now. </p> <p> <strong>RITCHIE BLACKMORE by Phil Collen</strong> </p> <p> The first gig I ever went to was Deep Purple, during their <em>Machine Head</em> period. They played “Highway Star,” and it blew me away. And that’s when I decided to start playing guitar. </p> <p> Ritchie Blackmore was a huge influence because he was flashy. I love really flashy lead guitar playing, and Blackmore’s technique is great. It’s aggressive. When he hit a chord, it was like being punched in the face. I don’t really care about finger picking, and acoustic doesn’t satisfy me. It’s electric, screaming loud rock that I love. </p> <p> As far as what he’s doing now [<em>playing Renaissance-style music with Blackmore’s Night</em>], I honestly respect him. The fact that he’s still playing and is passionate about it is great, even if it is a bit wonky and weird. He can take liberties. He’s Ritchie Blackmore. </p> <p> <strong>GLENN TIPTON &amp; K.K. DOWNING by Zakk Wylde</strong> </p> <p> When I think of underrated guitarists, I go for some of the guys in really big bands, the ones who get overshadowed by the achievements of their band act. For instance, when Journey is mentioned, you think of great songs and amazing vocals. But who ever praises Neal Schon? And that guy can play up a storm. </p> <p> That’s why I pick Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing from Judas Priest. It’s two guitarists, yes, but you always think of them as one. They are the ultimate twin guitarists in metal—they go together. Just listen to the amazing riffs they’ve come up with over the years. And these guys can shred with the best. </p> <p> Tipton and Downing have influenced generations of young guitarists, but a lot of the time these kids don’t even realize that what they’re playing all started with Judas Priest. Tipton and Downing have also given metal a subtlety that’s often overlooked. Both appreciate that sometimes you are most effective when you back off the pedal a little. You don’t need to be blazing all the time. </p> <p> They’ve worked together for so long that each immediately understands what to do in a song. Sometimes Tipton is soloing and Downing is riffing, and then they’ll change over—it’s not like one does the lead work and the other does the rhythm. This is also what they introduced into metal: the idea of not only being a great lead player but also being prepared to let the other man have the spotlight when it matters to the music. </p> <p> Without Tipton and Downing, metal would be very different. That’s why I have such a high regard for them. In my book, they rule. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>LESLIE WEST by Martin Barre</strong> </p> <p> Leslie West made a big impression on me when Mountain supported Jethro Tull on a long U.S. tour during the early Seventies. In those days, opening acts weren’t too friendly, and it all became a bit competitive, but Mountain were lovely guys, and we really hit it off. They were such a great band. I loved Leslie’s larger-than-life style, they had great songs, and they were so incredibly tight. In that last respect, they taught Jethro Tull a lot about being a band. </p> <p> I know of at least three people that were affected by Leslie’s playing style—myself, John McLaughlin and Mick Ralphs [<em>of Mott the Hoople and Bad Company</em>]—but I’m sure there are plenty more. Leslie has such recognizable tone, and I love the melodic way he plays; every note counts. He never resorts to the pyrotechnic approach or feels the need to be overly clever. </p> <p>If you want a good starting off point for a beginner, go with <em>Climbing! </em>[<em>1970</em>] or <em>Nantucket Sleighride </em>[<em>1971</em>]. I still love what Mountain did with “Theme from an Imaginary Western.” My goodness, they brought that to life, especially onstage. </p> <p> <strong>JEFF BECK by David Gilmour</strong> </p> <p> I’m sort of horribly, pathetically fannish about Jeff. Ever since “Hi Ho Silver Lining” came out [<em>in 1967</em>] when I was 20-odd years old, I’ve revered him and his playing. In many ways he is just the best guitar player. And 40-something years since he came to prominence in the Yardbirds, he is still the only person pushing forward in that way. He’s never retreading old ground; he’s always looking for a new challenge. </p> <p> Jeff’s scarily brilliant. He’s a tightrope walker. I’m not. I like to cover all my bases and make myself secure with a great band, with the music all rehearsed. I just walk out there, and if I didn’t even play anything it would still sound great. Jeff’s different. He’s out there mining that seam. </p> <p> <strong>JIMI HENDRIX by Joe Satriani</strong> </p> <p> The first thing that really flipped me out was hearing “The Wind Cries Mary” on the radio. Before that, I was a drummer, and I started from watching the Rolling Stones and the Beatles on <em>The Ed Sullivan Show</em>. But as soon as I heard Hendrix, that was it. </p> <p> What made him great was his choice of notes. When you hear “Machine Gun” from <em>Live at the Fillmor</em>e, you have no idea what’s going to happen in the next few minutes. You’re totally unprepared. With “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return),” you can’t believe how perfect a performance it is, and it’s just a blues thing in E. </p> <p> Unfortunately, the Seventies were a hellish period for many great players, if you look at Hendrix’s comrades, it was a rough road. But look at someone like Jeff Beck—he just gets better and better. </p> <p>I saw him a month ago in Oakland, and I was just in tears standing at the side of the stage listening to him playing “Where Were You.” Nowadays, as a guitarist you want to celebrate what you’ve been able to play, which goes back to quoting other great players, but you also feel a responsibility not to copy those people. In my mind, when I’m playing, my heroes are sitting on my shoulders. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>BRIAN MAY by Steve Vai</strong> </p> <p> I don’t think enough is really said about the brilliance of Brian May’s guitar playing, in the sense that it’s overshadowed by the greatness of the music itself. The <em>Queen II</em> album was one of those pivotal moments that just nailed me to the wall. </p> <p> He’s probably one of the top identifiable guitar players, even more so than Beck, Page and Clapton. They’re all so identifiable, but Brian May had such a tone in his head and in his fingers. It speaks volumes. His contribution to orchestrated guitars is unprecedented. There was nothing like it before him. </p> <p>To me, it was like when Edward Van Halen came along and reshaped the sound of electric guitar. That’s what I heard in Brian May’s playing. It’s something that’s inherent in the brain of the guitar player. </p> <p> I remember working with Frank Zappa for the first time. I had just moved out to Los Angeles, and nobody knew me. I was 21. I went to the Rainbow Bar &amp; Grill, and Brian May was there. I couldn’t believe it. I mustered up every little bit of courage and went up to him and said, “Thank you so much for everything you’ve done. I play guitar. I’m here in town with Frank Zappa.” He said, “Oh, really? Why don’t you come down to our rehearsal?” </p> <p> I went down, and he brought me up on the stage, and he let me play the guitar—the guitar that he built with his dad [<em>the “Red Special”</em>]. I couldn’t even believe that I was touching this instrument! He was so kind and so warm, and for who? This kid, you know? And I played his guitar, and it sounded like Steve Vai. Then when he played it, it sounded just like Brian May. It was very apparent to me that his tone is in his fingers and his head. </p> <p> He’s a class act from head to toe, and it shows in his playing. I can listen to any player and pantomime their sound, but I can’t do Brian May. He’s just walking on higher ground. </p> <p> <strong>MARTY FRIEDMAN by Jason Becker</strong> </p> <p> When I was 16 years old, I sent a demo tape to Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records. He called me and said I should go and meet Marty. </p> <p> I went to Marty’s tiny apartment in San Francisco. We started jamming, without amps. That moment changed my life. What he was doing was so new to me. The unique bends, vibrato, exotic scales, phrasing and timing were fascinating to me. And then it hit me: he was a lot better than I was. I started to sweat. I tried to play my best stuff, but my musical mind had already shifted. I knew I wanted to learn from this guy. </p> <p> Marty was very complimentary of my technique and the melodies on my demo tape. He started coming over to record his songs on my four-track. He taught me the second harmonies and counterpoint lines. Once he saw that I was a sponge for learning, he started incorporating some of my ideas. I feel like every day that I jammed or wrote with Marty was like taking lessons for a year. He taught by example, and with his influence I learned how to be my own unique creative artist. Even to this day, when I am composing and I get stuck, I think to myself, What would Marty do? </p> <p> <strong>EDDIE VAN HALEN by Richie Kotzen</strong> </p> <p> This is kind of embarrassing, but the first time I heard Eddie Van Halen was on the solo for Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” I was like, “Man, that’s unbelievable. Who is this guitar player?” I asked around and found out it was Eddie Van Halen. Then I ended up getting some Van Halen records, and after that I just really wanted to play like him. </p> <p> He didn’t sound like any other guitar player, but it was more about the way that he played the notes. Everyone talks about Van Halen’s sound, but it really has to do with his timing, his rhythm style and his phrasing. It’s more about that to me than the amp or whatever guitar he’s using. </p> <p> The first time I saw Eddie play, I had the best possible seat. Because we had the same guitar tech, I was able to watch him from this little room under the stage, where he goes to change guitars or do whatever. It was pretty incredible. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>YNGWIE MALMSTEEN by George Lynch</strong> </p> <p> Every little microevolution of the guitar that came along in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties influenced me. The number of people I didn’t appreciate is probably a much smaller list. </p> <p> Yngwie is one of those players that had a huge impact on me. His neoclassical style was just mind-blowing to me. I was raised as a blues player and learned my chops in the late Sixties, early Seventies, so it was all incredibly new to me. Just the ferocity of it was mesmerizing. The ease with which he does it was fascinating, too. </p> <p> Ultimately, guitar-driven Eighties music had wound itself to the point of absurdity and inaccessibility. I mean, how many people can actually appreciate that kind of music? It’s just an elitist speed contest. But Yngwie created the trend. On a pure playing level, players that create music that touches people are always viable. And that’s why he’s still around and a lot of the other guys aren’t. </p> <p> <strong>MICK TAYLOR by Slash</strong> </p> <p> Mick Taylor had the biggest influence on me without me even knowing it. My favorite Stones records were <em>Beggars Banquet</em>, <em>Let It Bleed</em> and <em>Sticky Fingers</em>. Those three were major to me because I was exposed to those records as a kid when they first came out. Mick Taylor played on a couple of those records and went on to play with the Stones for a couple more. As I got older and started playing guitar, I always gravitated to his style. </p> <p> People always mention Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Angus Young…all the obvious ones. But there are guys like Mick Taylor and Joe Walsh that were as important. Mick Taylor had a really cool, round-toned bluesy sort of thing that I thought was really effective. </p> <p> One of the greatest Mick Taylor solos is on “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?” from <em>Sticky Fingers</em>. It’s the kind of stuff that’s almost like old Eric Clapton—it’s very simple stuff, but it’s about how the notes are placed and how you approach them. The new guard of guitarists always forgets about doing simplistic and very effective guitar playing that speaks to you. It’s not all about two-handed tapping. </p> <p> <strong>RANDY RHOADS by Frank Hannon</strong> </p> <p> I was always a big fan of Randy. In 1980, when Ozzy’s <em>Blizzard of Ozz</em> came out, some friends of mine went to see him perform in Oakland and came back raving, saying, “Man, we saw this guitarist today, and he was better than Eddie Van Halen!” </p> <p> This was a few years before we started Tesla. I was already playing guitar and was a big fan of Eddie Van Halen. So we went down to the local record store and got the album, and I was infatuated from day one. Randy was doing everything that Van Halen did, and more. It was the classical knowledge that he was incorporating into the guitar. The arrangements on “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley” were unbelievable. I think a lot of the soloing on Van Halen tracks were improvised, which is cool. Randy took it a step further. His discipline probably came from his mother who taught him at her music school [<em>Musonia School of Music in North Hollywood</em>]. When I was a kid I would read the guitar magazines, and he would always mention that his mother was a big influence. </p> <p> I went to visit the school, and I met Randy’s brother, Kelle, and his mother Delores, who is nicknamed “Dee.” “Dee” was also the title of an acoustic song on <em>Blizzard of Ozz</em>, which was a big influence on me. If you listen to my acoustic solo on “Love Song” it’s really inspired by that. I played that for Dee when I met her recently. She loves meeting fans, and she told me some stories about Randy. She said that his favorite song was [<em>the Big Band swing tune</em>] “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” how he found his first guitar in his father’s closet, and how when he was in London recording <em>Diary of a Madman</em> he would spend all his downtime studying classical music at a university. She just lit up when she talked about Randy. I have a video of that meeting on my web site. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>ZAKK WYLDE by Ron &quot;Bumblefoot&quot; Thal</strong> </p> <p> I first heard Zakk in 1986, when he was with a New Jersey band called Zyris. The next thing I knew, he was playing with Ozzy. Like Zakk, I had been a huge Randy Rhoads fan, so I was very happy that Ozzy picked Zakk to be his guitarist. </p> <p> When you hear Zakk’s playing, you know right away that it’s him, with that distinctive use of harmonic vibrato on the lower string. Before he came along, every time you saw a blond-haired guitarist kicking a Les Paul’s ass you thought of John Sykes. Now you also think of Zakk. In addition, he’s very diverse stylistically, with the southern rock of Pride and Glory [<em>Wylde’s early Nineties group</em>], the singer-songwriter style of his <em>Book of Shadows</em> album [<em>1996</em>] and, of course, what he does with Black Label Society. </p> <p> I met Zakk for the first time about a year and a half ago; he was a guest on my friend’s TV show. His visit to the studio was supposed to last for three hours, but he ended up staying for 14. Besides being a phenomenal musician, Zakk’s as good-hearted as I expected. I hope that some day we can do it again. </p> <p> <strong>B.B. KING by Billy Gibbons</strong> </p> <p> My favorite guitarist is B.B. King. His album <em>Live at the Regal</em>, recorded in 1964, remains a classic. The electricity, the crackling atmosphere… Plus, it’s a great sound, recorded with a full band, horns and piano, and a rabid audience thrown in. </p> <p> B.B.’s distinctive one-note style, his sustain and attack, that kind of call-and-response thing between the vocals and the solos… He’s taken for granted now, which means he’s underrated. Obviously, he’s a maestro entertainer rather than a blues purist, though he can be that too. He’s a former cotton picker, but he remains so self-effacing, plus he has a great sense of humor, lyrically and in life. He’s got class. </p> <p> <strong>MALCOLM YOUNG by Scott Ian</strong> </p> <p> Malcolm Young has got to be the most unsung, underrated guitar hero of all time. He’s the backbone of AC/DC, the greatest rock band ever, and has written some of the most amazing riffs you’ll hear. This is the man responsible for more great rock moments than any other guitarist you can name. Is Malcolm Young the greatest rhythm guitarist in the world? No contest. </p> <p> I recall being given one of his guitar picks recently after a gig on the band’s current tour, and it was half worn down. But you know what’s astonishing? Apparently that pick was used on just one song during the band’s set that night. Malcolm gets through a pick for every song because he hits the strings so hard. It’s amazing. The man is truly a one-off. </p> <p> When I first started to listen to AC /DC, it was Angus who caught my attention. He was the lead guitarist and got all the glory. But in about 1979, when I began to get into guitar playing in a serious way, I gravitated toward Malcolm. I was listening to what he did, because he was the guy writing the music. I now appreciate just how incredible he is. He’s a songwriter, not a shredder, but without him what would AC /DC sound like? </p> <p> If you’ve never heard him play—and can there be anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard Malcolm Young?—then go and listen to the opening chords of “Back in Black.” If that doesn’t move you, then you have no soul. The other songs I’d strongly recommend are “Riff Raff” and “Beating Around the Bush.” The way he takes straight blues riffs and siphons them though the AC/DC sensibility is a lesson to all guitarists. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>GEORGE HARRISON by Elliot Easton</strong> </p> <p> I was 10 years old when the Beatles played the <em>Ed Sullivan Show</em> [<em>in February 1964</em>], and I was already playing a little guitar. To see George Harrison there, standing off to the side, looking down at his guitar while he played his licks—to my impressionable mind it defined what a lead guitarist was. </p> <p> I knew right then what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to be like the guy in the middle—the guy looking down at his guitar and playing all the little fills and solos. Harrison taught me about short solos and hooks, and what a hook is. All those mid-Sixties Beatles tracks—whether it was “Day Tripper” or “Ticket to Ride” or whatever—they all start with a guitar lick that you wait to come around again in the chorus. That’s where I learned to do that. </p> <p> <strong>ULI JON ROTH by Kirk Hammett</strong> </p> <p> Around the time of Metallica’s <em>Death Magnetic</em> sessions, I began listening again to some of the rock music of my teens, and it inspired me all over again. I’d forgotten how much those guitarists meant to me. </p> <p> Uli Jon Roth is one of those players. When I started listening to him again, I realized that I can still learn a lot from him. I love his choice of notes, the attitude behind his playing and the way his solos “up” the level of his songs. He took Scorpions to a totally different level. After his solos, you’re left there shaking your head. It’s like being sideswiped by a truck. </p> <p> The track I love the most is the one I play every night, “The Sails of Charon,” from <em>Taken by Force</em>. The opening motif is just great. It’s spooky sounding, exotic. It’s very old-school heavy metal. People in the audience who know the song recognize that I’m flying the flag for that old-school metal, and they come to me and say, “Bro, ‘Sails of Charon’ rules!” There are a lot more Uli Roth fans out there than I expected. </p> <p> <strong>NEIL YOUNG by Nancy Wilson</strong> </p> <p> Neil is identifiable whether he’s playing acoustic or electric guitar. For acoustic he has a completely unique type of tuning, detuning, attack and release. He plays a song called “Bandit,” from the <em>Greendale</em> album, and there’s a live version of it that’s incredible. He chooses a specific guitar that can be detuned on the low string down to a C and picks the particular gauge of string that will rattle in the perfect way. It sounds so wrong that it’s right. I think nobody in the world would do that on purpose except for Neil Young. </p> <p> He has a monstrous electric guitar sound, too, and on “Cinnamon Girl” he recorded what is probably the best one-note guitar solo ever. He puts more feeling into one note than anyone else. It shouldn’t work, but it does. Of course, it’s his tone that makes all the difference. Touch sensitivity accounts for about 90 percent of everything. Neil has such expressive playing that he<em> can</em> play a onenote solo and make it memorable for decades, for generations. </p> <p> <strong>FRANK ZAPPA by Dweezil Zappa</strong> </p> <p> I was never intimidated by my father’s technique. I think most guitar players are just excited to see somebody do something they didn’t think was possible. We’d sit and play together, but what Frank was doing was musical. I couldn’t grasp it at a young age—it was too sophisticated for me. He’d show me inversions of chords and composition devices—moving triads around the neck and stuff. It sounded neat, but I didn’t always understand what was happening musically. </p> <p> I do the Zappa Plays Zappa tour because I want to get Frank’s music more into the public eye. I want him to be better understood. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about his music and him as a person. First of all, Frank was really a composer who used a rock band like an orchestra. He could hear stuff in his head and just write it down. I didn’t have a musical background; I was just a guy who learned things by ear—more a guitar player than a musician. The first thing I learned was the incredibly fast passage toward the end of “The Black Page.” It took me a good five or six months, and I had to totally change my picking technique in order to play this thing. I’d have to play it really slow for hours and hours and <em>hours</em>. I definitely think Frank would enjoy that we go to such great lengths to get it right with Zappa Plays Zappa. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>PETE TOWNSHEND by Ace Frehley</strong> </p> <p> I got all my rhythm work from listening to Pete Townshend and Keith Richards. I think Pete is a wizard when it comes to chords. He can play the same chord in, like, 20 different positions, doing inversions, suspensions… Just listen to <em>Tommy</em>. I’m a huge fan. </p> <p> Pete has a great right hand as well as a great left hand. “Tattoo” is a great picking song, but of course he’s known best for his power strumming, like on “Pinball Wizard,” and his power chords, like on “My Generation” and the chord that opens “I Can See for Miles.” His rhythm work was just amazing. </p> <p> The first time I saw the Who was the same day I saw Cream for the first time. They were both performing at a Murray the K show in Manhattan. [<em>The revue-style show, presented by disc jockey Murray Kaufman, was called </em>Music in the Fifth Dimension<em> and presented at the RKO Theater from March 25 to April 2, 1967.</em>] I was cutting school, and a friend and I snuck into the show and got down in front. It was the Who’s first New York show. I think the headliner was Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. </p> <p> I saw the Who perform again, at the Fillmore East, in 1968, the day after Martin Luther King got shot. [<em>The civil rights leader was assassinated on April 4, 1968.</em>] The Who weren’t going to play because they were worried about riots, and I believe they ended up doing a short show. Ironically, Paul Stanley [<em>Frehley’s former Kiss coguitarist</em>] was there too, but we didn’t know each other at the time. </p> <p> <strong>ALVIN LEE by Mick Mars</strong> </p> <p> Sometimes I feel I should’ve been true to myself as a guitar player and stuck with the blues. All bullshit aside, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Alvin Lee, Jimi Hendrix…that stuff was the total shit for me. I was brought up on those players, and they all influenced me in one way or another. </p> <p> When Bloomfield started getting too countrified for my liking, that’s when I discovered Alvin Lee and Ten Years After. Alvin brought a real explosive side to the blues. Some people said they couldn’t handle it, but I thought he was great. </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>PETER GREEN by Rich Robinson</strong> </p> <p> Growing up in America, you couldn’t help but hear Fleetwood Mac’s [<em>mid-Seventies breakthrough albums</em>] <em>Rumours</em> and <em>Fleetwood Mac</em> on the radio all the time. And it was by getting into these records that I started to explore the Peter Green legacy. Obviously, he’d left Fleetwood Mac long before these were done, but I was influenced enough by them to want to know more about what the band had done before. And that’s when I discovered the amazing talent of the man. </p> <p> His playing is just so moving. Listen to what he achieves on “Oh Well” and “Rattlesnake Shake,” and it is stunning. What he does is so interesting because he doesn’t overplay. Green understands that simplicity could hold the key to the blues. </p> <p> It makes him so authentic. To my mind, Peter Green is the finest white man I’ve ever heard playing blues guitar. That’s a bold statement when you consider some of the other greats, but I genuinely believe this to be true. His playing has the soul and passion of the blues. And yet he never seems to get the recognition enjoyed by people like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page. Perhaps that’s because he’s so understated. If you check out something like “I Need Your Love So Bad,” what you hear is a guitarist prepared to submerge his own ego for the sake of the song. He gets the mood exactly right. He was never flamboyant like the others I just mentioned. As a result, he’s often overlooked in the list of guitar greats. </p> <p> He also has such an incredible range. You can’t ever claim that one particular song defined him in the way that you can with Hendrix. </p> <p> When the Black Crowes recorded and toured with Jimmy Page, he told us so many Peter Green stories. It was clear that Jimmy loves the man’s talent. And if he’s good enough for a giant like Jimmy to acclaim, then it reinforces my adoration. </p> <p> <strong>RON ASHETON by Kim Thayil</strong> </p> <p> It was the Seventies when I first heard the Stooges. By then, all the albums by the New York Dolls, the Stooges and the MC5 were out of print. You could only find them in used-record stores, and the nearest was six miles away. I’d check out their racks, and once in a while I got lucky. </p> <p> The Stooges’ <em>Funhouse</em> album was one that I found. There’s some crazy stuff on side two—some really great, aggressive rock solos. Ron has a particular gritty, sleazy sound with the groove that he lays down. And the dueling improvisations with saxophone made for some cool jazz noise rock. </p> <p> The Stooges didn’t do as much of that 12-bar blues stuff. They just hit a groove and then hypnotically beat you over the head with it. They just stayed with that riff for a long time. Of course, there is a lot of blues in what Ron did, but there’s something a lot looser, too, and it was freer and it utilized chaos. It was something that was definitely not present in FM rock or Top 40 at the time. “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “TV Eye,” “Loose,” “Down on the Street”… </p> <p>They’re all amazing. If rock should be about anything, it should be about freedom and rebellion, and not the stupid requirements that would be imposed upon you by the record company—like professionalism. I mean, it’s good for a person to know their damn instrument, or else you can’t come up with inventive ideas, but not to be bound by the patterns on the fretboard.</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="/steve-vai">Steve Vai</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/george-harrison">George Harrison</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/brian-may">Brian May</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/david-gilmour">David Gilmour</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> AC/DC Aerosmith Articles GW Archive Jimi Hendrix Joe Satriani Steve Vai Van Halen Guitar World Lists News Features Magazine Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:33:16 +0000 Guitar World Staff Adam Jones: My Top 10 Favorite Guitarists <!--paging_filter--><p>Below, Tool axman Adam Jones lists the 10 guitarists you need to know.</p> <p><strong>Robert Fripp (King Crimson)</strong></p> <p>Fripp’s playing caused me to “wake up” to music when I was younger. Later, when we were to tour with King Crimson, I remember being horrifically nervous to meet him. But he was so gracious and ended up teaching me the two most important things about playing: attitude and discipline. You can ask Fripp, “What kind of equipment do you use?” and he’ll respond, “That doesn’t matter. It’s all attitude.” His attitude and discipline allow him to explore all the many musical paths you can go down.</p> <p><strong>Adrian Belew (King Crimson)</strong></p> <p>People don’t bring up Adrian Belew enough, and I think he’s just as heavy as Fripp. Adrian plays straight from his heart, so some of his lead structures defy the classical approach to scales and teaching. He’s also really into new technology, but he uses it in a very thought-out and tasteful way.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Trey Gunn (King Crimson)</strong></p> <p>I know Trey Gunn plays the Chapman stick and the Warr guitar [<em>a seven-to-15-stringed guitar designed for two-handed tapping</em>], but it’s still “guitaring” to me. His left- and right-hand approach is like that of a classical pianist. He gave me some lessons to improve hand coordination, and I felt like I was learning how to play guitar all over again! [<em>laughs</em>] I still haven’t gotten to the level where I can go back to him and say, “Okay, I’ve got this down. Show me the next thing.” </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Buzz Osborne (The Melvins)</strong></p> <p>Buzz’s playing has those same qualities of attitude and discipline that I learned from Fripp. The Melvins’ style is also so brutal. They rip their guts out every time they play. Where I do more of a shoe-gazer thing onstage, Buzz will microwave a crowd. Many people don’t recognize the Melvins’ importance, and unfortunately they probably won’t until the band’s dead and gone.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Paul Leary (Butthole Surfers)</strong></p> <p>Paul Leary’s playing is completely innovative and breaks every rule in music theory and scales. His leads will go in any direction, but they fit so perfectly. His playing on albums like <em>Locust Abortion Technician</em> is very eclectic. Every song is different, weird and fucking amazing.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Andy Gill (Gang of Four)</strong></p> <p>That Gang of Four shit kicked my ass! Andy Gill is a completely underrated guitarist. Back in the Seventies I was just a kid playing in bands and trying to shake off the massive classic rock influence that I was under. Gill’s raw, passionate guitar playing had a very big impact on me. You could feel just how angry he was.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Dr. Know (Bad Brains)</strong></p> <p>I’d always liked Bad Brains, but I’d never seen them live until I moved to California. They started playing and all of a sudden [<em>singer</em>] H.R. came flying over the drum kit—there must have been a trampoline back there—hit the stage, wiped out and then started singing. It was absolutely amazing. Dr. Know was way ahead of his time. Who knows what was fueling his fire, but there was definitely fire being fueled!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström (Meshuggah)</strong></p> <p>These guys have taken the Swedish metal genre completely off the path and into an extremely innovative area. I hate to single out Fred, but he’s just great. He has an incredible lead style. But both of those guys are fucking amazing.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Ronald Jones (The Flaming Lips)</strong></p> <p>Ronald Jones was this completely innovative guitarist that used to play in the Flaming Lips. He used to play with a quarter for a pick, so he could slide it down the strings. I’ve also never seen a guitarist with so many effect pedals. But like the King Crimson guys, Ronald was so good at incorporating new technology tastefully. He’s another guy that played from his heart and not his head.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="" 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="/tool">Tool</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Adam Jones Articles GW Archive Tool Videos News Features Magazine Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:13:34 +0000 Brad Angle Inventing the Steel: How to Solo Like Angus Young, Jimmy Page and Tony Iommi <!--paging_filter--><p>Regarded by many as the three most vital purveyors of pure hard rock/heavy metal sonic evil, AC/DC’s <strong>Angus Young</strong>, Led Zeppelin’s <strong>Jimmy Page</strong> and Black Sabbath’s <strong>Tony Iommi</strong> have each forged a distinct, instantly recognizable guitar style and sound. </p> <p>After decades of dedicated service, all three players continue to influence countless up-and-coming metalheads the world over, and an in-depth study of each guitarist’s distinct musical personality is mandatory for any aspiring hard rock player.</p> <p>Young, Page and Iommi share a few similarities in their respective crafts. </p> <p>All three have relied on Gibson solidbody/dual-humbucker-style guitars for the majority of their careers, inspiring signature models of their respective axes: Angus Young has favored Gibson SG-type guitars and has his own Gibson signature model; Jimmy Page is most closely associated with the 1959 sunburst Les Paul, replicated in limited quantity by Gibson (with a retail price of more than $20,000); and Tony Iommi’s long association with the ’61 SG led to the creation of the similarly designed Gibson Tony Iommi model (as well as the custom-made SG-type Patrick Eggle and JayDee models that Iommi also uses). When soloing, all three guitarists most often use the bridge pickup. </p> <p>Armed with their respective axes, the three defined the sound of metal in the late Sixties and early Seventies by relying on specific amplification: Jimmy Page favors Marshall SLP-1959 100-watt amps modified with KT-88 tubes, while also employing Voxes, Hiwatts, Fender Super Reverbs and Orange amps. </p> <p>Angus Young has generally used Marshall 100-watt “Plexi” models along with JTM-45 “Plexis.” Iommi is also known for his use of Marshall and Orange gear and has long been a fan of Laney amplification; he even has his own Laney 100-watt signature amplifier.</p> <p>Another commonality among the three guitar gods is their choice of scale for soloing. In the spirit of their American blues guitar heroes, all three rely most heavily on the minor pentatonic scale. <strong>FIGURE 1a</strong> shows the A minor pentatonic scale (A C D E G) played in fifth position; <strong>FIGURE 1b</strong> shows the same scale as played in an extended pattern that traverses the neck from the third fret to the 12th. The root notes are circled in each figure; once you have become familiar with these fingering patterns, be sure to move them to all other keys.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/1_5.png" width="620" height="113" alt="1_5.png" /></p> <p>Let’s now look at these two patterns one octave and 12 frets higher: <strong>FIGURE 2a</strong> depicts A minor pentatonic played in 17th position while <strong>FIGURE 2b</strong> shows an extended pattern that spans the 15th–22nd frets, ending with a whole step bend from D to E. Young, Page and Iommi all cover the highest reaches of the neck in many of their solos, so be sure to practice the minor pentatonic scales in every key and all over the fretboard.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/2_3.png" width="620" height="120" alt="2_3.png" /><br /> <br /><br /> <span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">Angus Young</span></p> <p>With his comedic school-boy outfit and hyperenergetic stage antics, Angus Young has been both celebrated and reviled for his over-the-top persona. But in truth, he is simply one of the greatest rock soloists ever. His intense, exciting playing style is equal parts adrenaline, blues rock fire, and precision, all of it spiked with a crash-and-burn attitude. In other words, it’s hard rock at its absolute best.</p> <p>One of Young’s greatest solos is the one he recorded in the AC/DC classic, “You Shook Me All Night Long” (<em>Back in Black</em>). <strong>FIGURE 3</strong> presents a solo played in this style: it’s played over a repeating I-IV-V-IV chord progression in the key of G—G-C-D-C—and is based primarily on the G minor pentatonic scale (G Bf C D F); bars 1–4 are played in third position, and then the next phrase shifts one octave higher to 15th position in bars 5–8. </p> <p>The figure begins with a whole-step bend from C to D on the G string that is sustained and played with vibrato for three beats. Use your ring finger to fret the note and both your ring and middle fingers to push the string, with the middle finger one fret behind the ring finger. This two-finger bending technique is known as reinforced fingering and is used extensively by Young as well as Page and Iommi. </p> <p>The first note in <strong>FIGURE 3</strong> is a prime example of Young’s signature bend vibrato: upon bending the string with the ring and middle fingers (the index finger may also be used to help push the string for additional strength and support), the bend is then repeatedly released partially—somewhere between a quarter step and a half step—and restored to a whole step (“full”) in quick, even rhythm. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/3_1.png" width="620" height="259" alt="3_1.png" /></p> <p>When executing this type of bend vibrato, you’ll find that it helps to push your fret-hand thumb against the top side of the neck, as this provides leverage for the fingers that are pushing and releasing the string. Young’s vibrato is relatively fast and not very wide and will require practice and keen listening to emulate authentically.</p> <p>The C-to-D bend is followed with an index-finger barre across the top two strings at the third fret, and in bar 2 the pinkie frets F (second string/sixth fret), followed by the same reinforced ring-finger bend and release on C (third string/fifth fret). At the end of bar 2, after fretting the G note, roll the tip of the ring finger from the fourth string over to the fifth string and then back. This “finger roll” may take some practice to get used to, but it’s a very useful technique that is worth learning. </p> <p>What makes a solo like this great is its simplicity and melodic quality. Each idea is balanced against the next in an effortless way, and the overall result is a memorable solo that one could easily sing—an earmark of every great hard rock guitar solo. </p> <p>Beginning in bar 5 of <strong>FIGURE 3</strong>, the second half of the solo relates to the first half in that it also leads off with a sustained bend, this time from a high F, the flatted seventh, to G, the root note, which is played vibrato in a similar manner. When playing minor pentatonic licks like these in high positions, many blues, blues/rock and hard rock players adopt a three-finger approach—index-middle-ring—for the majority of their licks, presumably because of the closeness of the frets. Young, however, chooses to use his pinkie in many of his licks, regardless of his fretboard position. </p> <p>I wrap the solo up in bar 8 by switching to a riff based on G major pentatonic (G A B D E). A staple of blues soloing is to alternate between the “sweet” sound of major pentatonic and the darker sound of minor pentatonic, and Young does just this in many of his solos. </p> <p>Another great example of Young’s masterful soloing can be heard on the title track to <em>Back in Black</em>. <strong>FIGURE 4</strong> shows a solo played in a similar style. This example is played over a simple repeating chord progression in the key of E: E-D-A (I-fVII-IV). The majority of the solo is based on the E minor pentatonic scale (E G A B D), although I begin with a phrase that incorporates notes from the E Dorian mode (E Fs G A B Cs D) by including the sixth, Cs. The placement of this pitch is critical in relation to the accompanying chord progression, as it lands on the A chord, and Cs is the major third of A. </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/4.png" width="620" height="366" alt="4.png" /></p> <p>Like <strong>FIGURE 3</strong>, the goal with this example is to illustrate Young’s clear sense of melody and melodic development: <strong>FIGURE 4</strong> begins with a “hooky” phrase that is developed by descending the G string in a similar manner across the first two bars. At bar 3, I jump up to the 12th-position E minor pentatonic “box” pattern, beginning with a high D-to-E bend and vibrato that is sustained through the first two beats of the bar, followed by a fast phrase based on descending 16th-note triplets. </p> <p>The solo then stays rooted in 12th position through the remainder of bar 3, all the way to the end of bar 7. As with the high-position pentatonic licks in the previous example, the majority of these licks may be played comfortably with three fingers. </p> <p>Particularly noteworthy is the classic lightning-fast blues/rock/metal run that spans bar 7 of <strong>FIGURE 4</strong>: based entirely on descending 16th-note triplets, the run begins with a pull-off from a high G (first string/15th fret) to E (12th fret) followed by D (second string/15th fret). The next 16th-note triplet starts one note lower, on E, and is followed by a pull-off from D to B (15th fret to12th fret). The pattern of starting one note lower with each subsequent 16th-note triplet and using pull-offs wherever possible is repeated throughout the run. </p> <p>As the solo develops, analyze each beat and notice how the progression of the lines contributes to the overall phrase. Young is a master of “phrase-ology,” a skill/gift that lends an almost effortless quality to his solos and the feeling of constantly pushing the music forward and telling a story. </p> <hr /> <span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">JIMMY PAGE</span> <p>Jimmy Page was inspired by many of the same American blues guitar heroes as his British blues/rock contemporaries Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Peter Green. These heroes include the three Kings—Albert, B.B. and Freddie—as well as T-Bone Walker, Buddy Guy and Otis Rush. </p> <p>Page was also equally influenced by the fiery intensity of rockabilly guitarists Cliff Gallup (Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps) and Scotty Moore (Elvis Presley), as well as the futuristic daring of Les Paul. A student of many different styles of guitar playing, Page always combines in his solos a well-balanced structure and sense of melodic development with true depth of feeling. His progressive approach to soloing has pushed the nature of blues/rock guitar to previously unimagined territory. </p> <p><strong>FIGURE 5</strong> is an eight-bar solo representative of Page’s improvisation style. It’s played in the key of A minor over a repeating Am-G-F (i-fVII-fVI) chord progression. The majority of the solo is based on A minor pentatonic (A C D E G), beginning in fifth position with a D-to-E bend on the G string. This note is bent and shaken using the same reinforced fingering and thumb leveraging techniques described earlier in reference to <strong>FIGURE 3</strong>.</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/5_0.png" width="620" height="351" alt="5_0.png" /></p> <p>This initial bend is followed by a stream of cascading 16th notes played across the next four beats on the top three strings, with notes quickly alternating between either the fifth and seventh frets or the fifth and eighth frets. Through the majority of this solo, a balance of eighth and 16th notes is achieved, giving the solo a forward-leaning quality as each phrase flows seamlessly into the next. </p> <p>Over an F chord in bars 2, 4, 6 and 8, I occasionally incorporate an F note into the A minor pentatonic-derived lines in order to clearly relate the solo line to the backing chord progression; this approach is a Page trademark. Adding this one note also serves to broaden the solo beyond the strict blues territory while also strengthening the melodic quality of the licks. </p> <p>Bar 5 begins with a descending run wherein a stream of 16th notes are phrased in two six-note groups that form an interesting melodic contour. A similar phrasing approach is used in bar 6 with successive four-note descending groups. The solo develops interestingly and builds to a climax in bars 7 and 8 with a repeated melodic “shape” that ascends the A minor pentatonic scale in seven-note phrases, starting from either the root note or the fifth each time. </p> <p>While this may sound overly analyzed, in truth it is the application of these melodic phrasing techniques that gives the solo its clear sense of structure, which is a hallmark of all of Page’s best lead work.</p> <hr /> <span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">TONY IOMMI</span> <p>As the progenitor of the heaviest of heavy metal, Tony Iommi set high standards for the writing of demonic-sounding riffs while he simultaneously created the template for the heavy metal soloing of future generations.</p> <p>As a teenager, Iommi, a left-handed player, was the victim of an unfortunate accident in which he lost the tips of his right hand’s middle and ring fingers while working in a sheet metal factory. Discouraged but not defeated, the resourceful guitarist devised plastic covers made from bottle caps to wear over those fingertips. </p> <p>In later years, he would wear custom–fitted leather finger protectors. Iommi also switched to using super light-gauge strings: .008, .008, .011, .018w, .024 and .032, which are much easier to fret and bend than a standard set of .009s or 010s. </p> <p>In its earliest days, Black Sabbath tuned to concert pitch, but soon after Iommi began tuning his strings down one half step (low to high: Ef Af Df Gf Bf Ef) and subsequently tuned down even further by one and a half steps (low to high: Cs Fs B E Gs Cs), all the while continuing to use very light strings. </p> <p>A signature element in the characteristically dark vibe of Iommi’s solos is the incorporation of minor modes. In his outro solo for “War Pigs” (<em>Paranoid</em>), Iommi utilizes the E Aeolian mode (E Fs G A B C D) along with E minor pentatonic (E G A B D). <strong>FIGURE 6</strong> illustrates a solo played with a similar approach. </p> <p>Within the key of E minor, the chord progression simply alternates between Em and D, and in his solo, Iommi’s ties his licks squarely to the chord progression with the use of chord tones that relate to each specific chord. Bars 1–4 of <strong>FIGURE 6</strong> demonstrate this approach by favoring the notes E and G, the root note and minor third, respectively, over Em, and the notes D and Fs, the root and major third, respectively, over D. The additional notes and overall phrasing serve to fill in the space and effectively set up the incorporation of these shifting chord tones (also known as guide tones). </p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/6_0.png" width="620" height="339" alt="6_0.png" /></p> <p>Another key aspect of Iommi’s soloing style that <strong>FIGURE 6</strong> demonstrates is the intensity of both the pick attack and vibrato. Iommi’s playing is well-loved for its aggressive power, so lean into the lines with both hands, and listen closely to his recorded works to get a clear picture of and feel for his playing style. </p> <p>Beginning on beat two of bar 5, I repeatedly bend E, third string/ninth fret, up one and one half steps (the equivalent of three frets) to G. When performing “overbends” like this, it’s even more important to harness the strength of at least two fingers, the ring and middle, if not three (the ring, middle and index). This is followed in bar 6 by fast whole-step bends that alternate with hammer-on/pull-of combinations between the seventh and ninth frets on the G string. This is a challenging lick that will take a bit of slow practice to master.</p> <p>In the second half of bar 7, I borrow a signature phrasing technique of Iommi’s, with a 16th-note run that descends the E Aeolian mode in three-note groups on a single string, using pull-offs and finger slides. This type of line serves to add both rhythmic and melodic interest to a pentatonic- or mode-based solo.</p> <p><strong>FIGURE 7</strong> offers another example of soloing in Iommi’s style, this time incorporating the detuning of one and one half steps. (All notes and chords sound in the key of C# minor, one and one half steps lower than written.) This example demonstrates Iommi’s penchant for using fast hammer-ons and pull-offs within repeated short phrases, as he does on his solo in “Supernaut” (Vol. 4).</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/7_0.png" width="620" height="365" alt="7_0.png" /></p> <p>The solo is based entirely on the E minor pentatonic scale, played in 12th position, and begins with a repeated phrase that starts with a quick hammer/pull on the first string from the 12th fret to the 15th, followed by D, second string/15th fret. This sequence is played four times through bar 1, and bar 2 consists entirely of trills in 12th position. (A trill is executed by quickly alternating between two notes, usually using hammer-ons and pull-offs in combination.) </p> <p>Bars 3 and 4 are similar in that both feature fast phrases based on 16th-note triplets; in bar 3, note bursts are performed with hammer/pulls on the D string, and in bar 4 the hammers occur on the G string. Bars 5 and 6 offer an example of the “threes on fours” concept—16th notes phrased in groups of three—and bars 7 and 8 wrap up the solo with fast hammer/pulls, played in 16th-nopte triplets, that traverse the strings, moving from high to low. </p> <p>In all of their solos, Young, Page and Iommi combine well-structured melodic ideas, solid execution and spirited performance—essential factors in any great, memorable guitar solo that you should strive to achieve in your own solos.</p> <p><em>Painting: Tim O'Brien</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="/tony-iommi">Tony Iommi</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/jimmy-page">Jimmy Page</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/andy-aledort">Andy Aledort</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/acdc">AC/DC</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/led-zeppelin">Led Zeppelin</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Angus Young Articles GW Archive JamPlay Jimmy Page May 2007 Tim O'Brien Tony Iommi In Deep with Andy Aledort News Features Lessons Magazine Tue, 18 Feb 2014 16:59:25 +0000 Andy Aledort The Fab 50: The Beatles' 50 Greatest Guitar Moments <!--paging_filter--><p>On the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in the United States (and legendary February 1964 appearance on the <em>Ed Sullivan Show</em>), <em>Guitar World</em> celebrates the 50 best guitar moments from the band's hit-making history.</p> <p>The Beatles were such talented songwriters that it’s easy to overlook the fact that their music has some great — and occasionally groundbreaking — guitar work. </p> <p>In assembling this list, we looked beyond our personal favorite songs and reflected on where John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney showed their talents as guitarists, whether in a solo, a riff, a technique or by their astute selection of instrument and arrangement. </p> <p>For some songs, we’ve gone a step further and analyzed the guitar work to give you insights into the magic that makes these moments so special. Enjoy! And be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook!</p> <p><strong>50. Across the Universe</strong><br /> <strong><em>Let It Be… Naked</em> (2003)</strong></p> <p>John Lennon considered the Beatles’ recording of this 1967 composition “a lousy track of a great song,” dismissing even his own work on it. </p> <p>He was too hard on himself: his imperfect acoustic guitar work and vocal delivery effectively work in service of the song’s sincere devotional message, though overdubs of strings, background vocals and electric guitar obscured the delicacy and intimacy of his performance. </p> <p>The release of <em>Let It Be… Naked</em> in 2003 set the record straight, offering a bare-bones acoustic mix of the track that even Lennon might have approved of. </p> <p><strong>49. Flying</strong><br /> <strong><em>Magical Mystery Tour</em> (1967)</strong></p> <p>The strongly pulsing tremolo on the rhythm guitar makes the instrument sound as if it’s riding slightly behind the beat, giving the song a druggy languor appropriate to its title. (In the film <em>Magical Mystery Tour</em>, “Flying” accompanies scenes shot high above the clouds). </p> <p>The crystalline acoustic guitar that appears about 13 seconds in lends the song a country vibe, culminating in a tasty double-stop lick that lazily meanders down the fretboard. Heavenly.</p> <p><strong>48. Helter Skelter</strong><br /> <strong><em>The Beatles</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>It’s not a stretch to say the Beatles prefigured heavy metal’s doomier side with this 1968 Paul McCartney track. </p> <p>For this recording, McCartney set aside his bass duties and strapped on his Fender Esquire to deliver the track’s brash rhythm work, while Harrison performed the searing leads on Lucy, the 1957 Les Paul Standard gifted to him by Eric Clapton. </p> <p>But the best work here is performed by Lennon on, of all things, a bass (either a Fender Bass VI). His sloppy but inspired playing propels the song along and provides its main rhythmic interest.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>47. Yesterday</strong><br /> <strong><em>Help!</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>McCartney’s melancholy, acoustic guitar–driven ballad marked a symbolic, pivotal point in the Beatles’ career as a band in that it was their first song in which any of the members—three in this case—did not participate in the performance. </p> <p>McCartney tuned his guitar down one whole step for this song (low to high, D G C F A D) and performed it as if it were in the key of G, with the detuning transposing it down to the concert key of F. </p> <p>This may have been made for the sake of putting the vocal melody in a more optimal key for McCartney; it certainly made the bass notes sound deeper and richer, while the slackened string tension contributed to the thicker texture of the chord voicings. </p> <p><strong>46. For You Blue</strong><br /> <strong><em>Let It Be</em> (1970)</strong></p> <p>Written by Harrison, this seemingly straightforward blues workout in D stands out as a bouncy oddball in the Beatles’ catalog. </p> <p>Not only is it one of the band’s few forays into 12-bar-blues territory; it also finds Lennon stepping into the uncommon role of lead guitarist, supplying a spirited solo and fills on a Hofner Hawaiian Standard lap-steel guitar in open D tuning. </p> <p>To make things even weirder, he uses a shotgun shell as a slide. In addition, there’s no bass on the recording; McCartney performed on piano and the song received no overdubs. </p> <p><strong>45. Free As a Bird</strong><br /> <strong><em>Anthology 1</em> (1995)</strong></p> <p>Released in 1995 as a post-mortem Beatles track built upon a John Lennon home demo, “Free As a Bird” makes a valiant attempt to resurrect the spirit of the group’s glory days. </p> <p>While some will quibble about the lackluster songwriting, it’s hard to find fault with Harrison’s stinging slide work. Starting off with a few restrained lines, Harrison lets his playing soar on the solo, the one moment in which the song truly takes flight. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>44. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)</strong><br /> <Strong><em>Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band</em> (1967)</strong></p> <p>Recorded quickly in a single session, this rocking reprise of the album’s opening track features some fiery lead guitar work from Harrison. </p> <p>Written as a bookend to the album-opening title track, the reprise is both faster and a whole step lower than the original, although halfway through it modulates up a whole step. (Modulation is a technique rarely found in the Beatles compositions, “And I Love Her” being another example from the group’s catalog [see entry 30].) </p> <p><strong>43. I Will</strong><br /> <strong><em>The Beatles</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>This quiet love song, written by McCartney, features only him on lead and harmony vocals, two acoustic guitars and scat-sung “vocal bass,” with Lennon and Starr providing percussion. </p> <p>McCartney overdubbed, on top of his main, strummed guitar part, a second, melodic part played in a rockabilly lead style reminiscent of Elvis Presley’s lead guitarist Scotty Moore, picking out syncopated, ringing melodies built around a first-position F6 chord shape with decorative, bluesy hammer-ons from the minor third to the major third. </p> <p>Years later, Cars guitarist Elliot Easton played a similar line on the chorus tags to “My Best Friend’s Girlfriend.” </p> <p><strong>42. The Ballad of John and Yoko</strong><br /> <strong><em>1967–1970</em> (1973)</strong></p> <p>In this 1969 musical telling of Lennon and Yoko Ono’s wedding and honeymoon, Lennon’s acoustic strumming sets up the song’s infectious rhythm, while his electric guitar fills play call-and-response with his vocals. </p> <p>The track was written and recorded in April of that year, fresh off the sessions for <em>Let It Be</em>, in which the group attempted to get back to their rock and roll roots. That might have inspired Lennon’s musical direction with this track, which he closes with an electric guitar riff reminiscent of Dorsey Burnett’s “Lonesome Tears in My Eyes,” which the Beatles covered early in their career. </p> <p><strong>41. Yer Blues</strong><br /> <strong><em>The Beatles</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>Lennon wrote this 1968 song as a rude sendup of the electric blues boom that had taken London by storm, but the suicidal feelings he expresses were a sincere articulation of how he felt trapped both in his unhappy first marriage and in the Beatles. </p> <p>Likewise, his primitive two-note solo could be regarded as mocking disdain for the genre’s slick white imitators, but he plays the riff until it’s as raw as his emotions. He would pursue this protopunk style of guitar playing further on his 1970 solo debut, <em>John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.</em></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>40. Help!</strong><br /> <strong><em>Help!</em></strong> </p> <p>The Beatles’ mix of acoustic rhythms and electric guitar leads from 1964 through the end of 1965 helped greatly to define the sound of folk-rock. </p> <p>Written in the midst of his “Bob Dylan phase,” “Help!” shows Lennon continuing to divulge the vulnerability express on previous songs like “No Reply” and “I’m a Loser,” with the acoustic guitar providing the requisite balladeer instrumentation. </p> <p>Here, Lennon robustly strums out the rhythm on his 1964 Framus Hootenanny 5/024 acoustic 12-string, with Harrison contributing jangly lead lines and three-note descending passages on the choruses with his Gretsch Tennessean. </p> <p><strong>39. Dear Prudence</strong><br /> <strong><em>The Beatles</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>This 1968 composition is arguably one of Lennon’s greatest achievements as a guitarist and demonstrates his development at the time into a bona fide acoustic fingerpicker. </p> <p>Having recently learned a basic eighth-note Travis-picking-like pattern from British pop star Donovan, Lennon put the newly learned pattern to great use in compositions like “Julia,” “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” and, most brilliantly, “Dear Prudence,” applying it to an ethereal modal chord progression he invented, which he performed in drop-D tuning (low to high, D A D G B E), using the two open D strings (the fourth and sixth) as ringing drones, or pedal tones throughout the majority of the song. </p> <p>The thumb-picking pattern goes fifth string, fourth string, sixth string, fourth string and repeats consistently through the changing chords, interrupted briefly at the end of each verse.</p> <p><strong>38. If I Needed Someone</strong><br /> <strong><em>Rubber Soul</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>Although the Beatles were rock’s foremost trendsetters, they still were influenced by other artists. </p> <p>Case in point: George Harrison’s 12-string riff on “If I Needed Someone.” Played in a second-position D-chord shape with a capo on the seventh fret, the line was based on Jim McGuinn’s chiming guitar work in the Byrds’ mesmerizing 1965 track “The Bells of Rhymney.” </p> <p>In the mid Sixties, Harrison and McGuinn had formed a mutual-admiration society: “If I Needed Someone” featured Harrison’s second Rickenbacker 360/12, a rounded-off 1965 model that resembled McGuinn’s 1964 Rickenbacker 360/12, which McGuinn bought after seeing Harrison’s first Rick in the film <em>A Hard Day’s Night.</em></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>37. Day Tripper</strong><br /> <strong><em>1962–1966</em> (1973)</strong></p> <p>Lennon and McCartney’s hip-shaking 1965 hit is a thinly veiled ode to “weekend hippies” who embrace the drug counterculture when they’re not pursuing their careers. </p> <p>McCartney referred to this song and “Drive My Car” (recorded just days earlier) as “songs with jokes in” them, but there’s nothing laughable about this track’s swaggering guitar riff, borrowed from the Temptations’ 1964 hit “My Girl” and given a liberal dose of self-assured attitude. </p> <p>Lennon reportedly plays the solo, most likely using his Sonic Blue Fender Strat, while Harrison’s guitar parts were probably recorded with his Gretsch Tennessean. </p> <p><strong>36. Think for Yourself</strong><br /> <strong><em>Rubber Soul</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>The Beatles had been interested in creating distorted guitar tones since at least 1964, when they attempted unsuccessfully to use a Gibson Maestro Fuzz-Tone on “She Loves You” and “Don’t Bother Me” (see entry 23). </p> <p>They were more successful with Harrison’s excellent 1965 composition “Think for Yourself,” for which McCartney plugged his Hofner bass into an early version of the Tone Bender fuzz pedal, created by electronics designer Gary Hurst and eventually marketed by Vox. The result is the harsh-sounding “lead bass” tone that bobs menacingly—and memorably—alongside Harrison’s lead vocal. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>35. Mother Nature’s Son</strong><br /> <strong><em>The Beatles</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>Throughout this song’s verses, McCartney fools you into thinking that he’s playing more than he actually is by filling out the harmony with his vocal melody. </p> <p>For example, while the ear hears a very strong D-to-G movement in the first two bars of the verse, all McCartney is actually playing is D to Dsus4; his vocal melody intimates the G chord by moving to B, that chord’s third. The verse also features, in the third and fourth bars, brilliant oblique motion—where one voice moves up or down while one or more other voices remain stationary. </p> <p>By moving the root of a B minor chord, B, down to the minor seventh, A, and then down to the sixth, Gs, while keeping the notes D and Fs constant above this descending line, McCartney implies a slick progression of Bm D (or Bm7) E9. He does the same thing at the very beginning of the song.</p> <p><strong>34. Girl</strong><br /> <strong><em>Rubber Soul</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>Lennon conjures up this song’s dreamy, Gypsy-like reverie by capoing his Gibson J-160E at the eighth fret, making the guitar sound similar to a mandola. </p> <p>Harrison furthers the vibe on the third verse, playing a mandolin-like melody on Lennon’s Framus Hootenanny 12-string acoustic. But the crowning touch comes at the coda, when a third acoustic guitar enters, playing a Greek-style melody that’s plucked at the bridge with sharp strokes, making it sound like a bouzouki and further emphasizing the song’s smoky, old-world aura. </p> <p>The British group the Hollies would copy the effect on their hit “Bus Stop,” recorded at Abbey Road some six months later. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>33. Birthday</strong><br /> <strong><em>The Beatles</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>Like “I Feel Fine” and “Day Tripper” (see entries 12 and 37), “Birthday” delivers a classic and memorable guitar riff. Whereas those previous two songs veered from the traditional 12-bar blues formula, “Birthday” hews closely to it during its verses. </p> <p>McCartney and Lennon wrote the song in the studio during an evening session, which included a recess during which the band went back to McCartney’s house to watch a TV broadcast of the 1956 teen film <em>The Girl Can’t Help It</em>. The soundtrack—which included performances by Little Richard, Gene Vincent and other Beatles’ favorites—undoubtedly contributed to the song’s raucous vintage rock-and-roll vibe. </p> <p><strong>32. One After 909</strong><br /> <strong><em>Let It Be</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>This tune had been in the Beatles’ song bag for years, surfacing first as a rickety blues-style shuffle at a March 1963 recording session.</p> <p>By the time they tackled it again during their January 1969 rooftop performance at Apple, the Beatles were nearly finished as a group, but they were at long last able to breathe life into the tune, revving it up with a rock and roll beat and laying into it like the seasoned performers they were. Harrison delivers a stellar country-rock solo, using his rosewood Telecaster. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>31. Norwegian Wood</strong><br /> <strong><em>Rubber Soul</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>This acoustic-rock masterpiece, written by Lennon, is not unlike “Here Comes the Sun,” in that it’s a folky chord-melody type of accompaniment that could easily stand on its own as a solo instrumental, with the vocal melody conveniently woven into the chords.</p> <p>However, unlike “Here Comes the Sun” (see entry 4), the melody sits in the middle, rather than on top, of the chord voicings, and is performed with more full strumming in a flowing 6/8 meter. Lennon performed “Norwegian Wood” as if the song were in the key of D, the verses being in D major and the bridge sections switching the parallel minor key of D minor, and used a capo at the second fret to transpose everything up a whole step, to E major and E minor, respectively.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>30. And I Love Her</strong><br /> <strong><em>A Hard Day’s Night</em> (1964)</strong></p> <p>It’s overshadowed by the Beatles’ more innovative songs, but “And I Love Her” demonstrates a leap in the group’s harmonic sophistication and musical arrangement skills. </p> <p>Harrison performs delicate arpeggiations on his 1964 Ramírez nylon-string classical acoustic, while McCartney subtly propels the song along with his soul-inflected bass work. A modulation from the key of E to F on the solo ramps up the drama and keeps the song from flagging. The final chord, D major—the relative minor of F—delivers surprise and emotional uplift that allows the song to end hopefully, in keeping with the optimism of the lyrics. </p> <p><strong>29. Not Guilty</strong><br /> <strong><em>Anthology 1</em> (1995)</strong></p> <p>Recorded for 1968’s White Album but unissued until the release of <em>Anthology 1</em> in 1995, this Harrison track was a lyrical response to his fellow Beatles, who felt that their trip to India at his urging to study transcendental meditation had been a waste of time. </p> <p>It’s hard to understand why this track was abandoned, especially after the group devoted more than 100 attempts to the rhythm track. Harrison’s guitar work is especially superb, from his sinewy lead lines to his sizzling tone, achieved by placing his amp in one of Abbey Road’s echo chambers and cranking it up for maximum effect, while he performed, safe from the volume, in the studio control room. </p> <p>Harrison eventually re-recorded this song for his self-titled 1979 album.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>28. Old Brown Shoe</strong><br /> <strong><em>1967–1970</em> (1973)</strong></p> <p>Dishonorably relegated to the B-side of the single “The Ballad of John and Yoko” (see entry 42), this 1969 Harrison composition is one of his best. His stinging guitar work is at times reminiscent of Clapton, especially on the solo, where he plays his rosewood Telecaster through a Leslie cabinet, his preferred effect of the period. </p> <p>In addition to guitar, Harrison plays organ and, by his own account, the buoyant bass line. “That was me going nuts,” he said of the bass work in a 1987 interview. “I’m doing exactly what I do on the guitar.” </p> <p><strong>27. Michelle</strong><br /> <strong><em>Rubber Soul</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>Another great example of McCartney’s innate gift for songwriting/composing, “Michelle” features, in its intro and elsewhere throughout the song, the previously mentioned standard “minor-drop” progression heard in “And Your Bird Can Sing” and “All My Loving” (see entries 7 and 16). </p> <p>The song also includes some rather clever and original harmonic twists and turns, such as the use of, in the second bar of the verse progression, the dominant-seven-sharp-nine (7s9) chord pointed out earlier in regard to Harrison’s “Till There Was You” solo, which, in both songs, is voiced “widely,” low to high: 1(root)-5-3(10)-f7-s9. Lennon, by the way, would later also employ this same chord voicing in “Sexy Sadie,” a chord that he, McCartney and Harrison all learned early on from a friend and local guitar-hero in Liverpool named Jim Gretty and dubbed “the Gretty chord.” </p> <p><strong>26. Cry for a Shadow</strong><br /> <strong><em>Anthology 1</em> (1995)</strong></p> <p>In 1961, unknown and looking for a break, the Beatles supported British rock and roll singer Tony Sheridan on a recording date in Hamburg. While there, they recorded two tracks of their own, including this Harrison-Lennon guitar-instrumental written in the style of U.K. pop group the Shadows (hence, the title). </p> <p>The recording provides early evidence of Lennon’s steady and dynamic rhythm guitar work, as well as McCartney’s melodic skills on the bass, which he had just begun playing. But it’s Harrison who shines, making the most of the trite melody with double-stop licks and generous use of the whammy bar on his Strat-style Futurama electric guitar. </p> <p>He ends the song with a major sixth—C6, specifically—a voicing that would become a signature Beatles coda on songs like “She Loves You,” “No Reply” and “Help!” (see entry 40).</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>25. Hey Bulldog</strong><br /> <strong><em>Yellow Submarine</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>McCartney’s lead guitar work had characterized most of the great solo guitar moments on the Beatles’ records during 1966 and 1967. But with “Hey Bulldog,” recorded in February 1968, Harrison came charging back with a guitar solo that’s heavier and hairier than just about anything in the group’s catalog. </p> <p>For the song, he played his red 1964 SG Standard, using a fuzz box (most likely his Tone Bender) to give his sound a snarl befitting the song’s title. Recalls engineer Geoff Emerick, “His amp was turned up really loud, and he used one of his new fuzz boxes, which made his guitar absolutely scream." Equally outstanding is Paul McCartney’s buoyant bass work, which is practically a lead instrument on its own. </p> <p><strong>24. I’ve Just Seen a Face</strong><br /> <strong><em>Rubber Soul</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>Written by McCartney and musically inspired by the skiffle movement that was popular in the U.K. in the late Fifties and early Sixties, this up-tempo knee-slapper features Lennon, Harrison and McCartney all playing acoustic guitars, with Ringo Starr providing percussion (brushed snare drum and overdubbed maracas). </p> <p>The lyrical instrumental intro features a bass-line chord-melody, played (most likely by Harrison) on a 12-string, which serves to octave-double the bass-line melody, over which McCartney and Lennon flatpick a single-note melody based on double-stops, mostly sixth intervals, played up and down the G and high E strings in a quick, unbroken triplet rhythm, beautifully outlining the underlying chords with ascending and descending note pairs. </p> <p><strong>23. Don’t Bother Me</strong><br /> <strong><em>With the Beatles</em> (1963)</strong></p> <p>Harrison’s first solo songwriting effort for the Beatles sounds like nothing else in the group’s catalog. With its moody minor chords, propulsive drum beat and tremolo guitar, this 1964 track has more in common with California surf music than it does the American rock and soul that inspired the Beatles’ music at the time. </p> <p>The tremolo—provided by Harrison’s Vox AC30—gives the song an air of menace appropriate to the song’s title, and its use here marks the first time the group used an electronic effect on a finished recording. </p> <p><strong>22. Octopus’s Garden</strong><br /> <strong><em>Abbey Road</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>By 1969, George Harrison had put down his sitar to focus on his first love, the guitar. The results are apparent on <em>Abbey Road</em>, which features his most fluid and confident playing to date. </p> <p>On “Octopus’s Garden,” one of Ringo Starr’s rare Beatles-era tunes, Harrison calls on his country/rockabilly influences for the first time since the band’s pre-psychedelic days. The intro is a slick masterpiece in the major pentatonic scale, the same territory Dickey Betts would later visit on “Blue Sky.” The song’s fun, twangy solo could sit snugly among James Burton’s work on Merle Haggard’s late-Sixties albums.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>21. Till There Was You</strong><br /> <strong><em>With the Beatles</em> (1963)</strong></p> <p>With this charming early cover of a love song from the popular 1957 Broadway musical play and 1962 feature film <em>The Music Man</em>, the Beatles demonstrated their stylistic versatility as they authoritatively breeze through the song’s harmonically sophisticated, jazz-like chord progression. </p> <p>Harrison’s solo break conveys a musical savvy on par with that of a veteran jazz improviser, as he strongly outlines the underlying chord progression, producing a perfect melodic counterpoint with the bass line by using arpeggios and targeting non-root chord tones, such as the third or ninth, on each chord change. </p> <p>Also impressive is his incorporation of two-, three- and four-note chords into what would otherwise be a predominantly single-note solo to create jazz-guitar-style chord-melody phrases, as well as his superimposition over the five chord, C7, of a daringly dissonant Gf7s9 chord (voiced, low to high, Gf Df Bf E A), a trick known in the language of jazz as a tritone substitution. </p> <hr /> <p><strong>20. Good Morning Good Morning</strong><br /> <strong><em>Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band</em> (1967)</strong></p> <p>Let’s face it: There aren’t many ferocious, brash and screaming guitar solos in the Beatles’ catalog. That said, Paul McCartney’s razor-sharp solo on “Good Morning Good Morning” is all that and a bag of chips. </p> <p>The 13-second-long treble fest, played on a Fender Esquire through a Selmer amp, features a strong East Indian vibe, perhaps a nod to George Harrison’s burgeoning fascination with Indian religion and music. </p> <p>Like its stylistic predecessor, McCartney’s “Taxman” guitar solo (see entry 3), “Good Morning Good Morning” incorporates open-string drone notes and rapid-fire descending hammer-pull slides, mostly along one string, in this case, the B string. </p> <p><strong>19. I Need You</strong><br /> <strong><em>Help!</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>By 1965, the Beatles were making noticeable strides in their arrangements and instrumentation. A prime example is “I Need You,” one of two George Harrison compositions to appear on <em>Help!</em> </p> <p>The recording represents Harrison’s first use of a volume pedal. The guitar’s dramatic, almost pedal-steel-like volume swells—which frame Harrison’s curt, suspended chords—only add to the song’s wistful lyrical content. </p> <p>The volume pedal was a step up for the band; the guitar swells heard on “Baby’s in Black,” which was tracked the previous summer, were the result of John Lennon turning the volume knob on Harrison’s 1963 Gretsch Tennessean as Harrison played it.</p> <p><strong>18. You Can’t Do That</strong><br /> <strong><em>A Hard Day’s Night</em> (1964)</strong></p> <p>On February 25, 1964, the Beatles entered the studio with an exciting new piece of gear: a Fireglo 1963 Rickenbacker 360/12. George Harrison had received the guitar only 17 days earlier when the band was in New York shooting its initial Ed Sullivan Show appearance.</p> <p>The song’s chiming intro riff, with its middle-finger hammer-ons from a minor third to a major third within the chord, offered a taste of what lay ahead for the guitar, which would see heavy action onstage and in the studio through 1965. John Lennon performed the guitar solo on his new Jetglo 1964 Rickenbacker.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>17. Let It Be</strong><br /> <strong><em>Let It Be</em> (1970)</strong></p> <p>As Beatles obsessives know, there are three versions of George Harrison’s solo for this track: the original, recorded in January 1969 with his rosewood Telecaster (available on 2003’s <em>Let It Be… Naked</em>); the second, recorded the following April with his Tele through a Leslie rotary speaker (released on the single “Let It Be” in 1970); and a third version recorded in January 1970 using his “Lucy” Gibson Les Paul through a Tone Bender (released on <em>Let It Be</em>). </p> <p>Nice as the first two are, they have nothing on the third, a blistering performance that raises the song’s drama to a higher level of emotion.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>16. All My Loving</strong><br /> <strong><em>With the Beatles</em> (1963)</strong></p> <p>For this pop song’s thumping, quasi–jump blues, rockabilly-style groove, Harrison crafted a convincingly authentic Chet Atkins/Carl Perkins–like solo break that clearly demonstrates his familiarity with that Fifties Nashville style of electric guitar soloing. </p> <p>Employing hybrid picking (pick-and-fingers technique), the guitarist acknowledges and gravitates toward the underlying chords in his melodic phrases, employing country-style “walk-ups” and “walk-downs” and plucking double-stops (pairs of notes) to sweetly and effectively outline the chord changes with a pleasing thematic continuity. </p> <p>Lennon contributed an energetic rhythm guitar part, one that he later expressed being rather proud of, which propels the groove with tireless waves of triplet chord strums, similar to those heard in the Crystals’ song “Da Doo Ron Ron.” </p> <p><strong>15. Ticket to Ride</strong><br /> <strong><em>Help!</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>This proto-heavy-metal track was the first Beatles recording to feature McCartney on lead guitar and the last on which George Harrison used his Rickenbacker 12-string. McCartney plays the note-bending fills at the end of the bridges and on the outro, while Harrison plays the song’s arpeggiated riff and Lennon handles rhythm guitar. </p> <p>But the heaviest part might just be the droning open-string A notes that Harrison overdubbed on the verses, suggestive of the classical Indian music he would begin to explore later that year. </p> <p><strong>14. Dig a Pony</strong><br /> <strong><em>Let It Be</em> (1970)</strong></p> <p>The song’s driving, bluesy riff is as durable as any that Muddy Waters ever wrote, but the 1969 recording is also notable for Harrison’s smoky guitar work on his rosewood Telecaster—from the double-stop licks on the verses to his confident and impeccably developed solo. </p> <p>You can hear Harrison’s signature style beginning to develop here, with the smoothness of his lines pointing toward the fluid slide style he would develop over the following year. His guitar tone is also very similar to that of “Octopus’ Garden” (see entry 22) recorded later that year, for which he may have also used the rosewood Tele.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>13. Nowhere Man</strong><br /> <strong><em>Rubber Soul</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>According to Harrison, he and Lennon perform the song’s bright, chiming solo together in unison, using their matching Sonic Blue Fender Stratocasters. </p> <p>Lennon also revealed to guitarist Earl Slick, during the making of Lennon’s 1980 album <em>Double Fantasy</em>, that the solo was recorded through a pair of small amps with a single microphone positioned between them. The Strats’ trebly nature was further accentuated on “Nowhere Man” by boosting the high frequencies via the mixing console. </p> <p>“We wanted very trebly guitars,” McCartney says. “They’re among the most trebly guitars I’ve ever heard on record.” </p> <p><strong>12. I Feel Fine</strong><br /> <strong><em>1962–1966</em> (1973)</strong></p> <p>Audio feedback was just an annoying electronic phenomenon until the Beatles used it as an attention-getting way to start “I Feel Fine.” The song itself is a rather standard riff rocker inspired by Bobby Parker’s 1961 R&amp;B hit, “Watch Your Step,” but its distinctive intro came about by accident when McCartney played a low A note on his bass as Lennon was leaning his Gibson J-160E acoustic-electric against his amp. </p> <p>The note set Lennon’s guitar vibrating, and its proximity to the amp caused the sound to feed back. “We went, ‘What’s that? Voodoo!’ ” McCartney recalls. Yes, that too. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>11. Blackbird</strong><br /> <strong><em>The Beatles</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>McCartney recorded this beautiful song’s gentle, fingerstyle acoustic accompaniment on his Martin D-28. </p> <p>He creates an elegant, classical-guitar-style chord movement by using two-finger chord shapes exclusively, most of which form 10th intervals on the A and B strings, in conjunction with the open G-string note, which he picks in opposition to the chord shapes and employs as a droning common tone. </p> <p>His unique fingerpicking technique relies largely on his thumb, which he uses to pick bass notes, and index finger, which he uses for pretty much everything else, employing brushed downstrokes and upstrokes and often brushing across two or more strings. </p> <p>This often results in notes that are “ghosted,” or barely articulated, a “flaw” that is a testament to his innate musicality—McCartney’s touch is charming and greatly contributes to the overall feel of the song. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>10. “Something”</strong><br /> <strong><em>Abbey Road</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>Ironically, while the Beatles were breaking apart in 1969, George Harrison was coming into his own as a songwriter and guitarist. </p> <p>His <em>Abbey Road</em> contribution “Something” is among his finest songs, and his guitar playing here and throughout the album is masterful. Harrison’s mellifluous lead lines, in particular, are more expressive than anything he’d done before, demonstrating his newfound confidence and evolving connection to his instrument and creative muse. </p> <p>Performed with his “Lucy” 1957 Gibson Les Paul played through a Leslie speaker, the solo simmers as Harrison turns up the heat on his melody and dynamics, then cools it down with bluesy restraint. </p> <p>“George came into his own on <em>Abbey Road</em>,” says Geoff Emerick, who engineered this and other <em>Abbey Road</em> sessions. “For the first time he was speaking out and doing exactly what he wanted to do. And of course he wrote these beautiful songs and we got a great new guitar sound.” </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>09. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)</strong><br /> <strong><em>Abbey Road</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>John Lennon was composing some of the heaviest rock and roll in the Beatles’ catalog in 1969, and this song—true to its title—is among the most crushing, thanks to an abundance of doubled and overdubbed guitar lines that give it some serious sonic heft. </p> <p>Lennon wrote the song for Yoko Ono, with whom he was newly in love, and the result is a spellbinding exercise in obsessive repetition, from its lyrics—consisting almost entirely of the title and roughly five other words—to the ominous guitar lines that recur throughout it. </p> <p>Clocking in at 7:47, the song is also one of the Beatles’ longest. </p> <p>And although it consists of nothing more than a verse and a chorus repeated several times, it is rhythmically one of their most intricate tunes, switching between 12/8 meter and 4/4 rhythms alternately played bluesy and with a double-time rock beat. Few other artists could have made so much with so little. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>08. I’m Only Sleeping</strong><br /> <strong><em>Revolver</em> (1966)</strong></p> <p>Harrison’s startling backward guitar solo on this Lennon-penned song is one of his greatest guitar moments on 1966’s <em>Revolver</em>.</p> <p>Over the previous year, he had used an expression pedal to create a volume-swelling sound, similar to a reverse-tape effect, on several tracks, including “Yes It Is” and “I Need You” (see entry 19). </p> <p>But for “I’m Only Sleeping,” Harrison wanted to hear his guitar truly in reverse, a decision undoubtedly inspired by Lennon’s own retrograde vocals on “Rain,” recorded earlier the same month, April 1966.</p> <p>Rather than simply improvising guitar lines while the track was played backward, he prepared lead lines and a five-bar solo for the song and had George Martin transcribe them for him in reverse. Harrison then performed the lines while the tape was running back to front.</p> <p>The result is a solo that surges up from the song’s murky depths, suffusing it with a smeared, surreal, dreamlike ambience. Within a year, Harrison’s idea would be copied by such psychedelic rock acts of the day as the Electric Prunes, who employed it on their 1966 hit “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night),” and Jimi Hendrix, who used it to great effect on “Castles Made of Sand.” </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>07. And Your Bird Can Sing</strong><br /> <strong><em>Revolver</em> (1966)</strong></p> <p>This middle-period Beatles gem, written primarily by Lennon, features Harrison and McCartney on impeccably crafted and performed harmony-lead guitar melodies, a pop-rock arranging approach that was still in its infancy in 1966. (It would later be employed extensively in the southern rock genre by bands such as the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd as well as hard rock and metal acts like Thin Lizzy, Boston and Iron Maiden.) </p> <p>Together, Harrison and McCartney’s individual single-note harmony lead guitar parts form, for the most part, diatonic (scale-based) third intervals in the key of E. (Lennon performed his rhythm guitar part as if the song were in the key of D, using a capo at the second fret to transpose it up a whole step, as he did on “Norwegian Wood,” “Nowhere Man” and “Julia.”) </p> <p>The quick half-step and whole-step bends that Harrison and McCartney incorporate into their parts here and there in lock-step fashion are particularly sweet sounding. Heard together, they have the precise intonation of a country pedal-steel part performed by a seasoned Nashville pro. </p> <p>The harmonized lines that the two guitarists play over the “minor-drop” progression during the song’s bridge section, beginning at 1:05, reveal their musical depth and sophistication and command over harmony beyond the basic “I-IV-V” pop songwriting fodder.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>06. A Hard Day’s Night</strong><br /> <strong><em>A Hard Day’s Night</em> (1964)</strong></p> <p>It lasts all of roughly three seconds, but the sustained opening chord to this classic Beatlemania track is one of rock and roll’s greatest and most recognizable musical moments. </p> <p>Bright and bold as a tolling bell, it loudly announced in 1964 not just the start of the Beatles’ latest album but also the dawning of a cultural transformation that owed nearly everything to the group’s influence. </p> <p>The song was written to order for the Beatles’ feature-length film debut, <em>A Hard Day’s Night</em>. According to George Martin, “We knew it would open both the film and the soundtrack LP, so we wanted a particularly strong and effective beginning.” </p> <p>The dense harmonic cluster that Martin and the group created is the result of four instruments sounding simultaneously: Harrison on his 12-string Rickenbacker and Lennon on his Gibson J-160E acoustic, both strumming an Fadd9 chord (with a G on the high E); McCartney on his Hofner 500/1 bass, plucking a D note (probably at the 12th fret of his D string); and Martin on grand piano, playing low D and G notes. </p> <p>The resulting chord has been described as, technically, G7add9sus4, but to millions of eager listeners in 1964, it was simply the sound of an electrifying new era.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>05. Revolution</strong><br /> <strong><em>1966–1970</em> (1973)</strong></p> <p>At the time that this 1968 track was recorded, distortion was well established as an electronic effect for guitarists, but no one had ever used it to the extreme that the Beatles did here. </p> <p>According to Geoff Emerick, Lennon had been attempting to create distortion by cranking up his amp during sessions for “Revolution 1,” the slower version of the song, which the Beatles recorded in May and June of 1968. </p> <p>Emerick had abetted his efforts by overloading the preamp on the microphone used to record Lennon’s guitar, but even this wasn’t enough for Lennon, who told the engineer, “ ‘No, no, I want that guitar to sound dirtier!” </p> <p>By the July recording of “Revolution,” Emerick determined that he could distort the signal even more by patching Lennon and Harrison’s guitars directly into the mixing console via direct boxes, overloading the input preamp and sending the signal into a second overloaded preamp. </p> <p>“I remember walking into the control room when they were cutting that,” recalls Abbey Road engineer Ken Scott, “and there was John, Paul and George, all in the control room, all plugged in—just playing straight through the board. All of the guitar distortion was gotten just by overloading the mic amps in the desk.” </p> <p>As Emerick himself notes in his 2006 memoir <em>Here, There and Everywhere</em>, it was no mean feat: the overloaded preamps could have caused the studio’s tube-powered mixer to overheat. “I couldn’t help but think: If I was the studio manager and saw this going on, I’d fire myself.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>04. Here Comes the Sun</strong><br /> <strong><em>Abbey Road</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>Harrison’s jangly chord-melody playing on this song is exemplary. Using first- and second-position “cowboy” chords with a capo at the seventh fret, the guitarist loosely doubles and supports his catchy, syncopated vocal melody by working it into the top part of his acoustic-guitar accompaniment. </p> <p>He does this by using a “picky-strummy” technique (similar to what Neil Young would later employ in his song “The Needle and the Damage Done”), in which the pick hand gently swings back and forth over the strings in an unbroken down-up-down-up movement, like a pendulum viewed sideways. </p> <p>In doing so, Harrison selectively grazes certain strings on various downbeats and eighth-note upbeats, resulting in a seemingly casual mix of full-chord strums, single notes and two-note clusters that form a pleasing stand-alone guitar part that could easily appeal as a solo instrumental performance. </p> <p>The high register achieved by using the capo so far up the neck—the song is played as if it were in the key of D but sounds in A, a perfect fifth higher—makes the guitar sound almost like a mandolin, an effect similar to that achieved by Bob Dylan on “Blowin’ in the Wind” (also performed capo-7).</p> <p>Also noteworthy are the ringing and musically compelling arpeggio breaks that punctuate the song in various spots, such as after the first verse (immediately following the lyric “It’s all right”) and during the bridge/interlude section, behind the words “sun, sun, sun, here it comes.” </p> <p>Harrison employs a highly syncopated “1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2” phrasing scheme in the first instance and “1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2” in the latter, creating a rhythmic “hiccup” that resets the song’s eighth-note pulse. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>03. Taxman</strong><br /> <strong><em>Revolver</em> (1966)</strong></p> <p>Bassist Paul McCartney had first demonstrated his six-string talents on 1965’s Help!, where he played lead guitar on several tracks and performed on acoustic guitar for his song “Yesterday.” </p> <p>But McCartney would truly come into his own as a guitarist with this cut from 1966’s Revolver. His stinging solo, performed on his 1962 Epiphone Casino through his cream-colored 1964 Bassman amp, is a stunningly sophisticated creation, drawn from an Indian-derived Dorian mode and featuring descending pull-offs that recall Jeff Beck’s work on the Yardbirds’ “Shapes of Things,” released earlier that year. </p> <p>How the solo came to be played by McCartney—and not Harrison, who wrote the song and was the Beatles’ lead guitarist—is a story in itself. </p> <p>According to Geoff Emerick, Harrison struggled for two hours to craft a solo before producer George Martin suggested he let McCartney give it a try. McCartney’s solo, Emerick says, “was so good that George Martin had me fly it in again during the song’s fadeout.” Portions of it, played backward, were also applied to the Revolver track “Tomorrow Never Knows.” </p> <p>Apparently, Harrison didn’t feel slighted. At the time of making Revolver, he was ambivalent about his musical ambitions and pondering Indian mysticism, to which he would eventually convert. </p> <p>“In those days,” he said, “for me to be allowed to do my one song on the album, it was like, ‘Great. I don’t care who plays what. This is my big chance.’ I was pleased to have him play that bit on ‘Taxman.’ If you notice, he did like a little Indian bit on it for me.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>02. While My Guitar Gently Weeps</strong><br /> <strong><em>The Beatles</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” has become one of George Harrison’s signature tunes, but when he wrote the song in 1968, he couldn’t get his band mates to take an interest in it. </p> <p>Frustrated, he asked his pal Eric Clapton to sit in on the recording session for the track, hoping his presence would put the group on its best behavior. Clapton accepted the invitation and delivered a performance that remains a high point in the Beatles’ catalog. </p> <p>For the session, Clapton played a 1957 Les Paul “Goldtop” that had been refinished in red. He’d purchased the guitar in New York City sometime in the Sixties and in 1968 gifted it to Harrison, who nicknamed it Lucy. </p> <p>The guitar was already in Harrison’s possession at the time of this recording. When he picked up Clapton to take him to the studio for the Beatles session, the famous guitarist was empty handed. “I didn’t have a guitar,” Clapton recalls. “I just got into the car with him. So he gave me [Lucy] to play.”</p> <p>Harrison was concerned that Clapton’s solo was “not Beatley enough,” as the group was by the time of this recording well known for its sonic innovation. </p> <p>During the song’s mixing stage, the group had engineer Chris Thomas send Clapton’s signal through Abbey Road’s ADT—Automatic Double Tracking—tape-delay system and manually alter the speed of the delay throughout Clapton’s performance, making the pitch sound chorused. (The effect is especially noticeable in the final measure of the second middle-eight, after the line “no one alerted you.”) Ironically, while the solo is one of Clapton’s most famous, he was never credited on the recording. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>01. “The End”</strong><br /> <strong><em>Abbey Road</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>A song called “The End” might seem an ironic place to start a list of the Beatles’ 50 greatest guitar moments. But the round-robin solos that bring the track to its exhilarating peak are without question the group’s most powerful statement expressed through the guitar.</p> <p>Here, for a mere 35 seconds, three childhood friends and longtime band mates—Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon—trade licks on a song that represents, musically and literally, the Beatles’ last stand as a rock group before they broke up the following year. “The End” is the grand finale in the medley of tunes that make up much of <em>Abbey Road</em>’s second side. </p> <p>As such, it’s designed to deliver maximum emotional punch, and it succeeds completely, thanks in great part to the sound of McCartney, Harrison and Lennon rocking out on their guitars, as they did in their first, embryonic attempts to make rock and roll some 12 years earlier. </p> <p>“They knew they had to finish the album up with something big,” recalls Geoff Emerick, the famed Abbey Road engineer who worked on the 1969 album. </p> <p>“Originally, they couldn’t decide if John or George would do the solo, and eventually they said, ‘Well, let’s have the three of us do the solo.’ It was Paul’s song, so Paul was gonna go first, followed by George and John. It was unbelievable. And it was all done live and in one take.”</p> <p>Much of the song’s power comes from the sense that the Beatles are making up their solos spontaneously, playing off one another in the heat of the moment. As it turns out, that’s partly accurate. </p> <p>“They’d worked out roughly what they were going to do for the solos,” Emerick says, “but the execution of it was just superb. It sounds spontaneous. When they were done, everyone beamed. I think in their minds they went back to their youths and those great memories of working together.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Photo credit: John Pedin/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images (from Page 43 of the January 2014 issue of <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="/george-harrison">George Harrison</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/john-lennon">John Lennon</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/paul-mccartney">Paul McCartney</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Articles Damian Fanelli George Harrison GW Archive January 2014 John Lennon Paul McCartney The Beatles Guitar World Lists News Features Magazine Fri, 07 Feb 2014 18:40:23 +0000 Christopher Scapelliti, Jimmy Brown, Damian Fanelli The Record that Changed My Life: Dave Mustaine Discusses AC/DC's 'Let There Be Rock' <!--paging_filter--><p><em>FROM THE ARCHIVE: Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.</em></p> <p><strong>AC/DC</strong><br /> <em>Let There Be Rock</em> (1977)</p> <p>I was 16 or 17 when I got this album. I remember taking it home, putting it on my cheap turntable and dropping the needle down on the vinyl. The first couple of notes of "Overdose" just blew my mind. </p> <p>The sound of the guitar was so untamed, and it lit a fire inside me to approach the guitar like a weapon. The lore behind <em>Let There Be Rock</em> is that Angus and Malcolm Young would face a Marshall against the wall and crank the sucker all the way up. You can tell the amp was turned up unbelievably loud: you can practically feel Angus' fingerprints rubbing against the strings.</p> <p>[Singer] Bon Scott instantly became a hero of mine, too, because of the words he was using. I was a teenager and here was this guy singing about blowjobs, overdosing and dating fat chicks! I'm thinking to myself, Well, I haven't had the misfortune of dating fat women yet, but I sure do relate to the rest of it. Bon was singing my song!</p> <p>The more I got into AC/DC, the more I started to develop as a musician. When I was a really young kind and learning music, I was very influenced by the British Invasion: the Beatles, the Who and the Stones. But when it came to developing my own guitar playing style, it was all about the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. </p> <p>Some people will argue whether or not AC/DC were a part of this new wave, but I do know there was a void between the British Invasion and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and that AC/DC fell into it. When I think of how my style evolved, it was certainly influenced by bands like AC/DC, Diamond Head and Iron Maiden. If you listen to my style — even though it's sloppier — it contains essences of Jimmy Page, Michael Schenker and Angus Young. </p> <p>But while Angus was always a hero of mine, I identified more with Malcolm. Rhythm is really important in rock and metal, and taking a percussive approach to the guitar is an art that's vital to the sound of that music. That's what Malcolm brings, and that's why AC/DC is his band.</p> <p>To this day, I listen to <em>Let There Be Rock</em> and it motivates me. That album marked the defining moment in my life when I made my mind up that I was gonna do this, no matter what.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" 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="/dave-mustaine">Dave Mustaine</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/acdc">AC/DC</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/megadeth">Megadeth</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> ACDC Articles Dave Mustaine GW Archive Megadeth The Record that Changed My Life Interviews News Features Tue, 14 Jan 2014 16:47:47 +0000 Dave Mustaine Brewtal Lesson: Be All You Can Be with Zakk Wylde's Guitar Boot Camp <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Okay, maggots, fall in and let the supreme sergeant of shred, Zakk Wylde, show you how to be all you can be with his 100 percent brewtal guitar boot camp! </strong> </p> <p> In this classic <em>Guitar World</em> Berzerker Boot Camp lesson from 2004, Zakk tells the story behind his drive and rise to success, and demonstrates the exercises that help him remain one of the hardest-rocking guitarists of all time. </p> <p> <strong>01. GIVE IT ALL YOU'VE GOT</strong> </p> <p> When I was a kid, I lived for football,” Zakk says. “I was a linebacker, and I loved contact — I loved taking people out. I was so into it that at one point I wanted to go to Penn State because all the great linebackers usually come out of there. </p> <p> “When I was around 11, I went to a football camp and I met the legendary [<em>ex–Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker</em>] Jack Lambert, who was a huge influence on me when I played ball. I idolized him. In fact, I still do because he’s the real deal; he’s totally devoid of bullshit. I remember him telling us something that remains with me to this day: ‘Anybody can play football, but if you don’t have passion for what you’re doing, then get the hell out of here and go home, because I don’t want you on my team.’ </p> <p> “That’s the bottom line right there — you don’t go out there to get your brains bashed in with the intent of ending the season with a seven-and-nine record. Fuck that! You go out there with the intention of winning the Super Bowl or you shouldn’t fuckin’ bother. I have the same mentality with guitar: you either strive for greatness or you go home, ’cause you’ve gotta give all or nothing. </p> <p> “I wanna be the very best at what I do, because I love it much. Because of that I’ll try my damnedest to live up to the likes of Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, Frank Marino, John McLaughlin — all the great guitar players I look up to.” </p> <p> So what caused Zakk to shift his focus from football to rock guitar? </p> <p>“I was a huge Black Sabbath and Ozzy fan, and I loved the stuff Tony Iommi and Randy Rhoads were doing on guitar so I decided to start playing. I took lessons from a guy named Leroy Wright. I was, like, 15 at the time, and he was 25, and when I saw him playing it blew me away. When you hear somebody play, it’s exciting, but when I actually saw him play, I thought it was the coolest thing on the planet. I was so intrigued by the whole thing that I just went, ‘That’s what I want to do with my life!’ And to this day I’ve still got the same hard-on. All I’ve got to do is listen to great players and I go, ‘Man, I can get better.’ You can never get tired of that.&quot; </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>02. BE DISCIPLINED</strong> </p> <p> “You gotta have discipline, man,” says Zakk. “The reason I love people like Jack Lambert and [<em>six-time Mr. Olympian</em>] Dorian Yates to death is the discipline it took for them to get where they got. Same for John McLaughlin and Yngwie Malmsteen. I mean, those guys just keep getting better, and regardless of what you think of their music, you’ve gotta give them props for that. If you want to be as good as they are, you need to be disciplined about practicing. For example, every morning I grab a guitar, sit down and get to work. There are days when I don’t have as much time as I’d like, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t pick up a guitar and practice. </p> <p> “One thing I like to do is start off with chromatic exercises, picking each note and using alternate picking,” says Zakk as he cranks out <strong>FIGURES 1</strong> and <strong>2</strong> at a breakneck pace. “And, if I want a real good workout, I’ll start both these at the first fret and take them all the way up the neck and then back down again,” he says while playing <strong>FIGURE 3</strong>, a longer version of the pattern shown in <strong>FIGURE 1</strong>, to illustrate his point. </p> <p> <img src="" /> </p> <p> “Then I usually run through some pentatonic [<em>five-note</em>] and diatonic [<em>seven-note</em>] scale shit all over the neck. I think it’s important that you get to know the five pentatonic scale patterns [<strong><em>FIGURE 4</em></strong>] and the seven diatonic scale patterns [<strong><em>FIGURE 5</em></strong>] back to front and inside out, so that you can rip through them fast and with total confidence. Together, they form the basic framework you need to be able to slam out killer leads. </p> <p> <img src="" /> </p> <p> “Sometimes, instead of just running up and down the scale shapes, I’ll come up with fingering patterns that make these scales sound more musical and less like finger exercises,” Zakk says, playing <strong>FIGURE 6</strong> and <strong>FIGURE 7 </strong>to illustrate. “There are lots of patterns and combinations of patterns you can come up with.” </p> <p> <img src="" /> </p> <p> In addition to practicing scales and modes, Zakk works religiously on technique he’s referred to in his popular monthly <em>Brewtality</em> column as “connecting the dots.” It requires that you become familiar with these patterns and how to link them together, so that you can move seamlessly up and down the neck as well as across it. “Doing this is important because it opens up the whole fretboard,” says Zakk, playing<strong> FIGURES 8–10</strong> to prove his point. <strong>FIGURE 10</strong> is an A minor pentatonic monster run that climbs the neck on the high E and B strings, then goes across it at the 17th fret before climbing back down on the low E and A strings. </p> <p> <img src="" /> </p> <p> “I find it’s very beneficial to play these kinds of finger exercises along to the radio or your favorite records,” says Zakk. “Doing that makes them sound more interesting and, more important, helps teach you how to apply these kinds of runs in real songs.” </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>03. GO SLOW N’ EASY</strong> </p> <p> “As I’ve been told by all my mentors, do it slow and then work on it until you can play it faster. [<em>Seattle Mariners third baseman</em>] Scott Spiezio, a Black Label brother who’s won a World Series ring and is one of the best baseball players out there, is one of the people who told me this. When Scott was a kid, his dad, who was also a major leaguer, said, ‘Son, if you can’t hit a ball off a hitting-tee there’s no way you’re gonna hit a ball that’s pitched to you.” So to this very day, when Scott’s warming up, he still hits a ball off a tee, in order to totally focus on what he’s got to do. The same principle applies to guitar playing—you’ve got to be able to do it slow before you can do it fast. A lot of the time I practice slow so I can zone in on the little nuances and work out the mechanics of playing something right.” </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> <p> <strong>04. CLOCK IT</strong> </p> <p> “Want a killer practice tip? Get a metronome,” says Zakk. “I still practice with one, and I always bring it with me on the road. In addition to helping you with your timing, a metronome lets you see how you’re progressing when you’re learning difficult shit. You start out with the metronome running slow, but as you get better, you can increase its speed. Doing that helps you keep track of how you’re progressing.” </p> <p> <strong>05. PLAY IT AGAIN</strong> </p> <p> “I don’t care who you are, the bottom line is this: if you want to play something bad enough and you practice it enough, you’ll eventually get it. It’s a matter of repetition. You gotta start off slow, and then just do it over and over and over. There are no short cuts, either; you just have to practice your ass off and play through things a million times. That’s how I do it. For example, I’ll take a run like this [<strong><em>FIGURE 11</em></strong>] and then practice it for days and days until I can play it fast. There’s no slacking off, either—use it or lose it, bro.” </p> <p> <img src="" /> </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>06. PRACTICE AT EVERY CHANCE</strong> </p> <p> “When I first started playing, I’d practice every chance I could. I’d get home from school at about 2:30 in the afternoon and practice until dinner time. Then I’d stop, grab something to eat and go back up to my room and jam until about 11 o’clock or midnight. There was a period when I was putting in something like nine or 10 hours a day! Nowadays, I can’t always do that because I’ve got shit to do, whether it’s doing press, picking up the kids, cleaning up Rottweiler crap, getting yelled at by the wife or whatever. So I try to take advantage of whatever free time I have and cram in as much practicing as I can. I mean, even if you only get in half an hour, that still means you’re going to be half an hour better when you’re done.” </p> <p> <strong>07. USE IT OR LOSE IT</strong> </p> <p> “It’s great finding weird, exotic scales that are challenging to play, and it’s cool to learn them. But if you’re going to sit down and practice something over and over, it makes sense to practice something that you might actually incorporate into your playing, instead of some insane shit you’ll never use. [<em>Martial arts actor</em>] Bruce Lee once said, ‘If it’s not useable, then don’t bother with it.’ It’s kinda like having junk pile up in your house—if you’re not wearing those clothes anymore, then give ’em the hell away! I’d much rather put time into something like this [<em>plays <strong>FIGURE 12</strong></em>] rather than some scale I’ll never use.” </p> <p> <img src="" /> </p> <p> <strong>08. MAKE IT MUSICAL</strong> </p> <p> “When I first started playing, a lot of my shit sounded like I was just running scales at a million miles an hour—because that’s exactly what I was doing! Then Dave DiPietro from [<em>Eighties metal band</em>] T.T. Quick, one of the greatest players I know, taught me about the blues. Dave was like the big brother I never had, and he taught me a lot. I can still remember him saying, “Zakk, slow down for a second and check this out.” </p> <p>He’d play something like this [<em>plays <strong>FIGURE 13</strong></em>], a real simple blues lick that sounded like music, not like a scale. That got me into incorporating slurs [<em>hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides</em>], bends and passing tones into my playing.” Compare <strong>FIGURES 14</strong> and <strong>15</strong> to see what Zakk means; <strong>FIGURE 14</strong> sounds like a scale, while <strong>FIGURE 15</strong> doesn’t. And, as Zakk notes, “all you’ve done is change two notes.” </p> <p> <img src="" /> </p> <p> “One of my biggest guitar influences is [<em>Mahogany Rush guitarist</em>] Frank Marino. Most of the stuff Frank does is based on the pentatonic box patterns [<em><strong>FIGURE 4</strong></em>], but he uses passing tones all the time. A passing tone is a note that would sound wrong if you stopped on it but sounds killer if you just touch on it on your way to another note.” </p> <p>Zakk then demonstrates how the five moveable pentatonic box patterns can be packed with chromatic passing tones (<strong>FIGURE 16</strong>) and offers the B minor pentatonic-based lick depicted in <strong>FIGURE 17</strong> as an example of how to use them. “Check out this E minor lick, too [<em>plays <strong>FIGURE 18</strong></em>]. It’s chromatic as all hell, but it sounds slamming because you don’t stop on any of the passing tones.” </p> <p> <img src="" /> </p> <p> <img src="" /> </p> <p><hr /> <strong>09. FOLLOW GREATNESS</strong> </p> <p> “When I started playing, I was inspired to practice 24/7 by hearing guys like Al Di Meola, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Gary Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen, John McLaughlin, Steve Morse, Dave DiPietro, Michael Schenker, Tony Iommi and Frank Marino. Hearing those guys still has that effect on me. You’ll never know everything, so listen to greatness and get inspired. </p> <p>Sit down and copy some of your favorite players’ shit; I still do that all the time. Also, check out country pickers like Albert Lee. His <em>Advanced Country Guitar</em> video is phenomenal, and I’d recommend that video to any rock player that’s stuck in a rut. It’s what got me into chicken pickin’.” This is a lead-playing technique in which you pick the strings with your bare fingers as well as with your pick. </p> <p>Says Zakk, “One of the cool things about this technique is that it makes string-skipping licks like this [<em>plays <strong>FIGURE 19</strong></em>] easy to play. It can also help you haul ass on something like this [<em>plays <strong>FIGURE 20</strong></em>].” </p> <p> <img src="" /> </p> <p> <strong>10. PLAY EFFICIENTLY</strong> </p> <p> As regular Brewtality readers are aware, Zakk is a staunch advocate of alternate (down-up) picking, but only if it makes sense. The final two examples from our guest teacher, <strong>FIGURES 21</strong> and <strong>22</strong>, are in E minor and show how he employs economy picking, a technique in which a player uses consecutive downstrokes (or upstrokes) wherever and whenever it allows the least amount of physical movement. </p> <p>“Everything I do is geared for efficiency. If it doesn’t make sense to do it, then I’m not going to bother.” The picking strokes indicated above both figures tell the tale. </p> <p> <img src="" /> </p> <hr /> <p> <strong>11. BE TRUE TO YOUR MUSIC</strong> </p> <p> “There are some people that only want to be famous,” says Zakk. “And then you’ve got the real musicians who love playing music. The ones who love their art will always last, while the pop stars that only care about being famous or getting a piece of ass will always fall by the wayside. </p> <p>For me, it’s not about fame or money. I do what I do because I love making music—period. If I hadn’t been lucky enough to land the Ozzy gig, I wouldn’t be working a regular job; I’d be teaching guitar lessons and playing five nights a week in a cover band or something. If you commit yourself to music, it ain’t a hobby. When music chooses you, you do it.”</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-featured-content"><legend>Featured Content</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-title-featured"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Featured Title:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Zakk Wylde&#039;s Guitar Boot Camp </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-tagline-featured"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Featured Tagline:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>In this classic lesson, Zakk Wylde leads you through his brewtal guitar boot camp!</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Articles Guitar Boot Camp GW Archive Zakk Wylde News Features Lessons Magazine Tue, 14 Jan 2014 15:17:28 +0000 Zakk Wylde, Nick Bowcott The Lost Lesson: Dimebag Darrell's Destructional Home Videos <!--paging_filter--><p><em>From the GW archive: This story — in a longer form — originally appeared in the June 2006 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>, which is pictured below.</em></p> <p>“Fuck it, Hitchcock,” drawled Dime, downing the dregs of his beer. </p> <p>“We’ve been hammering this for hours and we’re out of booze. Interview and lesson over…we’re hitting a bar, goddammit! Put the camera and tape machine away, I’ll film me playing the riffs we went over when I get home and Fed Ex a tape to ya.” </p> <p>The date was Saturday, December 13, 2003; the time: 3:30 A.M.; the place: an upscale New York hotel room with an empty mini-bar and a case’s worth of empty Heineken bottles filling every flat surface. The occasion? The interview and planned private guitar lesson for the ‘King Dimebag Returns!” cover story for the March 2004 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>.</p> <p>I didn’t need any prompting, I hit “stop” on my recorder and we ventured out into the heart of Manhattan. Even at that hour, finding a bar that was still open in “the city that never sleeps” was an easy task. In typical Dimebag fashion, the goateed guitarist was immediately adopted as everybody’s new best friend, especially the bartender, and also in typical Dime fashion, we drank until dawn.</p> <p>Later that day Dime did a beyond stellar in-store appearance for Dunlop at a Long Island Sam Ash store (despite “one bitch of a hangover!”), and we went our separate ways...</p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/GW%200606%20Tool300.jpg" width="300" height="394" align="left" style="padding:10px 20px 10px 0;" alt="GW 0606 Tool300.jpg" /></p> <p>True to his word, within a few days of Dime returning home to Texas, a Fed Ex package containing a videotape arrived. By this time, though, Darrell had agreed to come back for the third run of his wildly popular "Riffer Madness" monthly column as soon as Damageplan’s 2004 touring cycle was over, so I put the video, lesson interview and hand shots away until that time. </p> <p>Sadly, for the tragic reason we are all still painfully aware of, Dime’s return as a columnist wasn’t to be, and I forgot all about the video tape he’d sent me until a couple of weeks ago when I stumbled across it.</p> <p>Intrigued, I put the tape in my VCR and watched with anticipation. What I saw blew me away—30-plus minutes of Dime in magical form ripping through Damageplan riffs and some scorching, off-the-cuff licks! Even though the tape was marked “For Your Eyes Only” and was a one-take home video recorded after one of Dime’s all-nighters, I knew I had to share it. </p> <p>That said, we obviously wouldn’t dream of doing anything with the footage without the permission of Dime’s nearest and dearest. So I called up his brother, Vinnie Paul, and his life-partner, Rita, to tell them what we’d got and what we’d like to do with it. Their response was immediate and identical: “Hell yeah! Run with it!” We’ve since edited the tape down to 13 minutes and, with the blessing of Dime’s family, <em>Guitar World</em> is proud to bring you “The Lost Lesson: Dime’s Instructional Destructional Home Video.”</p> <p><strong>Before we get started though, there are two things that quickly need clarifying:</strong></p> <p>01. Dime never intended this footage to be released; it was just done to help me tab-out his playing as accurately as possible. This said, despite its low-tech quality, it blows away most instructional videos, thanks to the man’s personality and playing! </p> <p>02. Just so you aren’t left scratching your head over the “cholesterol level” wisecracks Dime makes on the footage, a few days before our Manhattan meeting I’d had a physical and was told to lay off red meat and beer because my cholesterol level was too high. Needless to say, that wasn’t going to happen on Dr. Dime’s watch—his staple diet was booze ‘n’ beef! Hence the cholesterol humor...</p> <p>03. [Added in 2014] Note that we're publishing <em>ONLY</em> the videos from this exclusive 12-part lesson. The original lesson, which can be found in the June 2006 issue of <em>Guitar World</em>, features all 12 tabs and more. Enjoy! </p> <p><em>Nick Bowcott and everyone at </em>Guitar World<em> would like to express our sincere thanks to Vinnie Paul and Rita for allowing us to use this precious footage of Dime. Much respect and Big Love, guys...</em></p> <p><strong>PART 1</strong></p> <!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><div style="display:none"> </div> <!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src=""></script><object id="myExperience3037636859001" class="BrightcoveExperience"> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="width" value="620" /> <param name="height" value="348" /> <param name="playerID" value="798983031001" /> <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAj36EdAk~,0qwz1H1Ey92wZ6vLZcchClKTXdFbuP3P" /> <param name="isVid" value="true" /> <param name="isUI" value="true" /> <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" /> <param name="@videoPlayer" value="3037636859001" /> </object><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><p><br /><br /> <strong>PART 2</strong></p> <!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><div style="display:none"> </div> <!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src=""></script><object id="myExperience3037636851001" class="BrightcoveExperience"> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="width" value="620" /> <param name="height" value="348" /> <param name="playerID" value="798983031001" /> <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAj36EdAk~,0qwz1H1Ey92wZ6vLZcchClKTXdFbuP3P" /> <param name="isVid" value="true" /> <param name="isUI" value="true" /> <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" /> <param name="@videoPlayer" value="3037636851001" /> </object><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><p><br /><br /> <strong>PART 3</strong></p> <!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><div style="display:none"> </div> <!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src=""></script><object id="myExperience3037636839001" class="BrightcoveExperience"> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="width" value="620" /> <param name="height" value="348" /> <param name="playerID" value="798983031001" /> <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAj36EdAk~,0qwz1H1Ey92wZ6vLZcchClKTXdFbuP3P" /> <param name="isVid" value="true" /> <param name="isUI" value="true" /> <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" /> <param name="@videoPlayer" value="3037636839001" /> </object><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><hr /> <p><em>To recap:</em> Intrigued, I put the tape in my VCR and watched with anticipation. What I saw blew me away—30-plus minutes of Dime in magical form ripping through Damageplan riffs and some scorching, off-the-cuff licks! </p> <p>Even though the tape was marked “For Your Eyes Only” and was a one-take home video recorded after one of Dime’s all-nighters, I knew I had to share it. </p> <p>That said, we obviously wouldn’t dream of doing anything with the footage without the permission of Dime’s nearest and dearest. So I called up his brother, Vinnie Paul, and his life-partner, Rita, to tell them what we’d got and what we’d like to do with it. </p> <p>Their response was immediate and identical: “Hell yeah! Run with it!” We’ve since edited the tape down to 13 minutes and, with the blessing of Dime’s family, <em>Guitar World</em> is proud to bring you “The Lost Lesson: Dime’s Instructional Destructional Home Video.”</p> <p>Below, check out videos 4, 5 and 6 of this exclusive 12-part series.</p> <p><strong>PART 4</strong></p> <!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><div style="display:none"> </div> <!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src=""></script><object id="myExperience3037602938001" class="BrightcoveExperience"> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="width" value="620" /> <param name="height" value="348" /> <param name="playerID" value="798983031001" /> <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAj36EdAk~,0qwz1H1Ey92wZ6vLZcchClKTXdFbuP3P" /> <param name="isVid" value="true" /> <param name="isUI" value="true" /> <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" /> <param name="@videoPlayer" value="3037602938001" /> </object><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. 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If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><p> <br /><br /> <strong>PART 5</strong></p> <!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><div style="display:none"> </div> <!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src=""></script><object id="myExperience3037636820001" class="BrightcoveExperience"> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="width" value="620" /> <param name="height" value="348" /> <param name="playerID" value="798983031001" /> <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAj36EdAk~,0qwz1H1Ey92wZ6vLZcchClKTXdFbuP3P" /> <param name="isVid" value="true" /> <param name="isUI" value="true" /> <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" /> <param name="@videoPlayer" value="3037636820001" /> </object><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. 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If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><p> <br /><br /> <strong>PART 12</strong></p> <!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><!-- Start of Brightcove Player --><div style="display:none"> </div> <!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><!-- By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C found at --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src=""></script><object id="myExperience3037420156001" class="BrightcoveExperience"> <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /> <param name="width" value="620" /> <param name="height" value="348" /> <param name="playerID" value="798983031001" /> <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAj36EdAk~,0qwz1H1Ey92wZ6vLZcchClKTXdFbuP3P" /> <param name="isVid" value="true" /> <param name="isUI" value="true" /> <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" /> <param name="@videoPlayer" value="3037420156001" /> </object><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><!-- This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon as the line is read by the browser. If you wish to have the player instantiated only after the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line. --><script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><!-- End of Brightcove Player --><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="/dimebag-darrell">Dimebag Darrell</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/damageplan">Damageplan</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pantera">Pantera</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Articles Damageplan Dimebag Darrell GW Archive June 2006 Pantera Artist Lessons Videos News Features Lessons Magazine Mon, 13 Jan 2014 15:09:23 +0000 Nick Bowcott Thirty Guitar Legends — Including Eddie Van Halen, Dimebag Darrell and Jeff Beck — Choose the Song They'd Most Want to Be Remembered By, Part 1 <!--paging_filter--><p><em>From the GW Archive: This feature originally appeared in the May 2002 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. The story has a "time capsule" theme: We asked several veteran guitarists to choose the one song they'd most want to be remembered by after many years. Here we are, 11 and a half years later (Does that qualify as "many"?), opening the time capsule to examine its contents! Enjoy!</em> </p> <p>A few decades ago, NASA sent a probe called <em>Voyager</em> straight out of the solar system. Its mission: to make contact with alien intelligence. </p> <p>The capsule was crammed with artifacts — including greetings in more than 50 languages — intended to convey information about Earth's cultures. But just in case those items failed to communicate across language barriers, NASA also included a recording of Chuck Berry performing his rock and roll masterpiece "Johnny B. Goode." </p> <p>For a while after <em>Voyager's</em> launch, the joke around the agency was that a reply had been received from an alien civilization: "Forget the scientific shit," went the message. "Send more rock and roll!" But what songs should be sent? We at <em>Guitar World</em> decided the logical place to start would be the musicians themselves. </p> <p>In a project that started almost five years ago (hence the inclusion of George Harrison), we began asking many of the most influential guitarists in rock, blues and metal one deceptively simple question: "If you had to put one of your songs in a time capsule to be opened sometime in the future, which would you choose, and why?" </p> <p><strong>Check out Part 1 of the story below.</strong><br /> <em>Look for Part 2 Monday, November 18.</em></p> <p><strong>Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen), "Jump"</strong><br /> <em>1984 (1984)</em></p> <p>"I'll probably be playing "Eruption" at every show for the rest of my life, but I guess my time capsule choice would have to be 'Jump.' At the time I really wanted to do something challenging. </p> <p><em>Diver Down</em>, the album just before <em>1984</em>, was half cover tunes, and I <em>hated</em> it. Our producer had told me his theory that if you redo a hit, you're halfway there. But I'd rather bomb with my own shit than make it with someone else's. </p> <p>So that's when I built my own studio, 5150, which was a major step for me — not to prove any point but just so I could be myself and experiment musically. People were telling me, 'You can't use keyboards, you're a guitar player!" So that's when I wrote 'Jump.' Musically, it was a real departure. We had the challenge of integrating the keyboards and synths with the guitar for the first time. </p> <p>"The word 'pop' comes from 'popular,' meaning a lot of people like it. Ninety-nine percent of the reason I make music is to, hopefully, touch people with it. And this one touched the most people — so far."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Dimebag Darrell (Pantera), "Fucking Hostile"</strong><br /> <em>Vulgar Display of Power (1992)</em></p> <p>"I think the kind of music we play will stand the test of time for however long. But if I had to pick just one, I'd go with the powerful, off-the-cuff statement that is 'Fucking Hostile.' </p> <p>"When it came out it definitely set the tone and pace for what we were about. I also think our boy Philip [<em>Anselmo, vocals</em>] got it perfectly right lyrically and we got it perfectly right musically. </p> <p>"So I believe that if somebody heard this song 500 million years from now, they'd go, 'Goddamn, these motherfuckers knew what they were talking about and sure had their jamming skills down'. Plus, I think people will always be hostile, which is another reason I went with this one."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) </strong> </p> <p><strong>"D'yer Mak'er,"</strong> <em>Houses of the Holy (1973)</em><br /> <strong>"Stairway To Heaven,"</strong> <em>Led Zeppelin IV (1971)</em></p> <p>"I'd put 'D'yer Mak'er' in a time capsule so I would never have to hear it again or have to explain how to pronounce the title. There were only two types of rhythms that Bonzo [<em>John Bonham, drums</em>] hated playing — shuffles and reggae. </p> <p>"We were jamming in the latter style at Stargroves, the house we rented from Mick Jagger, and John was going along with it out of politeness, I think. Unfortunately, the jam turning in to a proper song. He did play some marvelous fills, but for me, the whole thing was buttock-clenchingly embarrassing. </p> <p>"I would also include 'Stairway To Heaven,' but for more positive reasons. It contains all the classic Zep elements, from folk/Celtic through jazz and r&amp;b to hard rock. It also encapsulates the soft-to-heavy dynamics that the band was famous for. </p> <p>"As for my own performance, it made me smile when a journalist once told me that he considered the bass line at the end of the song one of the finest ever recorded. Unfortunately, it happens to be underneath one of the finest <em>guitar</em> solos ever recorded!"</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Kirk Hammett (Metallica), "Motorbreath"</strong><br /> <em>Kill 'Em All (1983)</em> <p>"I chose it because it has the breakneck tempo we were so fond of in our early days — plus the lyrics set the tone for our lives over the next 10 years. </p> <p>"And unlike the songs we wrote later, 'Motorbreath' is under four minutes long!"</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Robby Krieger (The Doors), "Light My Fire"</strong><br /> <em>The Doors (1967)</em></p> <p>“I feel that ‘Light My Fire’ encapsulates the feel of the 1967 Summer of Love. Being in San Francisco or anywhere in California that summer seemed to be the beginning of a whole new way of life. One day at rehearsal, Jim [Morrison, vocals] suggested we all try and write some songs. I went home that night and wrote ‘Light My Fire’—it was the first song I’d ever written. </p> <p>"The long solo section was based on the modal playing of jazz great John Coltrane. Up until Miles Davis did <em>Kind of Blue</em> and Coltrane recorded ‘My Favorite Things,’ jazz had been mainly bebop, which involved a lot of fast, tricky chord changes. </p> <p>"So these guys thought, It’s easy to play over a bunch of chords and sound cool—but what can you do over just one or two chords? Can you play something that’s not just pentatonic—that’s based on a mode, a scale—over one chord, and take it farther out than anybody else has gone? </p> <p>"That was the start of modal playing, which influenced many rock musicians. My long, modal solo in this song was done over the same two chords John Coltrane soloed over on his version of ‘My Favorite Things’—A minor and B minor. So ‘Light My Fire’ helped light a fire for a new generation and opened people’s minds to a new vision. Almost four decades later, the song seems to remain timeless.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule), "Mule"</strong><br /> <em>Gov't Mule (1995)</em></p> <p>"'Mule' is a uniquely Gov't Mule song. I've never hear another song that sounds similar to it. </p> <p>"There are riffs that could be traced back to some of our early influences — which stretch from Cream to Hendrix to Miles Davis and James Brown — but the way the thing is structured doesn't really remind me of another song. And that was always important to us — that most of our songs can't be traced directly back to other songs. </p> <p>"'Mule' was written at the last minute in rehearsal, right before recording, and it's a first take, so that solos were on the fly — totally spontaneous. It has an awesome bass like from Allen Woody and [Blues Traveler vocalist] John Popper guests on harmonica. </p> <p>"And it has a political message; the title refers to the fact that when the America slaves were free they were promised '40 acres and mule' by the U.S. government, which most never received. Here we used ti as a broader metaphor about social oppression in so many aspects of modern society."</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Joe Satriani, "Time"</strong><br /> <em>Live In San Fransisco (2001)</em></p> <p>“If we can assume that they have DVD players in the future, then I would pick ‘Time’ from the Live in San Francisco DVD, because, for better or worse, it captures what we actually do night after night around the world. </p> <p>"Although it’s near impossible for me to look at myself on a television screen, I’ve learned to accept that that’s what everyone’s been seeing and hearing for all these years, and I have not yet been thrown in prison for doing it.</p> <p>“The song is interesting to me, compositionally, because the verse is almost like a child’s melody played over the simplest riff. Then the second part of the song jumps into all of this complex harmony and a whole bunch of key changes. The solo section recreates the same scheme, and eventually the song changes meter. The song provides a wild journey of how to construct an interesting instrumental.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Ace Frehley (Kiss), "Shock Me"</strong><br /> <em>Love Gun (1977)</em></p> <p>“I picked this song not only because it’s a well-known Kiss anthem but because it has deep personal significance for me. The song is based on an actual life-threatening experience I had onstage with Kiss in the Seventies in Lakeland, Florida. </p> <p>"At the beginning of the concert I was coming down the staircase and when my hand touched the railing I was electrocuted, thrown back and knocked out for about 10 seconds. </p> <p>"The roadies carried me down the rear staircase, behind the wall of Marshalls. I woke up with electrical burns on my hands and totally shaken. Paul [Stanley] announced what had happened, and the concert was delayed for approximately 10 minutes. The whole audience starting chanting ‘We want Ace, we want Ace!’</p> <p>“I was so disoriented from the incident that I really didn’t think I was going to be able to do the show. But when I heard 15,000 people chanting my name, my adrenaline started pumping and all I could think was, The show must go on! I continued, even though I had almost no feeling in my hand for the remainder of the concert. All I can say is thank God my guardian angel was hovering above me that evening.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Jeff Beck, "Where Were You"</strong><br /> <em>Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop (1989)</em></p> <p>“This is probably the best thing I ever wrote, and it’s a milestone in my playing. It’s where I began to forge a unique new style. The key thing was discovering how I could use bent harmonics. </p> <p>"That’s basically taking false harmonics and, by bending the whammy bar, constructing melodies and tunes with it—which is something I took even farther on my last album, <em>You Had It Coming</em>. The inspiration for ‘Where Were You’ was the Bulgarian female choir record <em>Mystere des Voix Bulgares</em>. It’s so astonishing when you hear it—it’s like a religious experience. </p> <p>"When these women all hit a note together, it’s the most amazing sound you’ve ever heard. They sing these kind of broken scales with quarter-tone intervals. It’s extremely emotional music. I realized this was another tonal palette I could experiment with, because the guitar is capable of doing that, particularly with bent harmonics and the whammy bar.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Michael Schenker (M56) "Lipstick Traces"</strong><br /> <em>UFO-Phenomenon (1974)</em></p> <p>“This is one of the first songs I did with UFO, when I was just 18 years old. I’m sure I could pick it apart and find places where a bend is out of tune or something, but the song itself has always been magical for me. </p> <p>"I have always had very good technique and that has been important to me, but it is not an end in itself—it is a means of expressing just what you want to say, and I feel I did that with this beautiful melody. </p> <p>"I express every emotion I have through my music—from the darkest and angriest to the most passionate and joyful—but ultimately I have to pick the song that gives me the biggest sense of calm and pace. Because when it comes down to it, I am a romantic guy.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine), "Killing in the Name"</strong><br /> <em>Rage Against The Machine (1992)</em></p> <p>“ ‘Killing in the Name’ contains some of my favorite elements of guitar playing: it’s got the huge riff, the propulsive chorus and the ‘angry insect’ guitar solo. </p> <p>"The song also features a dissonant breakdown, followed by the ‘cavalry charge’ outro, which makes for a fine rocking time all around. These are all things that I enjoy, and that was the very first time they all came together in one song. ‘Killing in the Name’ was RATM’s first single, and it launched our sound as a band as well as my sound as a guitarist in a defining way. </p> <p>"I have two parallel voices in my guitar playing—the quirky-noises-as-musical-passages concept and the anthemic riffage—and they are well-represented in this song.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Joe Strummer (The Clash), "If Music Could Talk"</strong><br /> <em>Sandinista! (1980)</em></p> <p>“On my recent album, <em>Global a Go-Go</em>, I had this breakthrough where I was able to do the album from my intuition rather than from my intellect. Me and the band just turned up every day, and it was like the music was telling us what to play. Music, lyrics, solos—it was all of one piece, done in the moment. </p> <p>"When I think back, the only similar experience happened when the Clash hit New York after touring, and we went right into the Sandinista! sessions. It was very similar in that we had nothing prepared, and a lot of the album just took off by itself. On ‘If Music Could Talk’ I recorded two vocals: one on the left side of the stereo mix, and the other on the right side. And the two vocals were done one right after the other. </p> <p>"I just love hearing those vocals, even though it doesn’t fuckin’ work that well, because I can hear myself extemporizing, straight off the bat, on my feet, in the moment. And as I was reminded on my last album, music really can talk—to us and through us.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>George Harrison (The Beatles), "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"</strong><br /> <em>The Beatles (1968)</em></p> <p>“When we actually started recording this song it was just me playing the acoustic guitar and singing it [this version appears on the Beatles’ <em>Anthology 3</em>—GW Ed.], and nobody in the group was interested. Well, Ringo [Starr, drums] probably was, but John [Lennon, guitar/vocals] and Paul [McCartney, bass/vocals] weren’t. </p> <p>"When I went home that night I was really disappointed. I thought, Well, this is really quite a good song—it’s not as if it’s shitty! The next day I happened to drive back into London with Eric Clapton, and while we were in the car I suddenly said, ‘Why don’t you come and play on this track?’ </p> <p>And he answered, ‘Oh, I couldn’t do that—the others wouldn’t like it.’ Eric was reluctant because there hadn’t ever been any prominent musicians on our records. Finally, I said, ‘Well, sod them! It’s my song and I’d like you to come down to the studio.’ </p> <p>"So Eric showed up, and suddenly everybody started behaving and not fooling around so much. And the song came together nicely. Eric didn’t think his playing sounded ‘Beatles-ish’ enough. So we put the ‘wobbler’ on it, which is what we called ADT [Artificial Double Tracking, the basis of flanging—GW Ed.] </p> <p>"When I played it in concert with Eric over the years he would play it differently every night. Gary Moore did some shows with me and he also played exceptionally well on this one. I think guitar players like this song because it was structured in a way that gives them the greatest excuse to just wail away.” </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Stay tuned for PART TWO of "One for the Ages" Monday, November 18.</em></p> Articles Dimebag Darrell Eddie Van Halen GW Archive Jeff Beck John Paul Jones May 2002 Interviews News Features Magazine Mon, 06 Jan 2014 17:05:57 +0000 Guitar World Staff High Strung: The 25 All-Time Weirdest Guitarists <!--paging_filter--><p>Once upon a time, the mere act of strapping on an electric guitar and cranking up an amplifier marked one as an outsider, a rebellious badass who refused to live by the laws of a "decent" society. </p> <p>But today's cookie-cutter rockers and forgettable pop janglers make studying for the priesthood seem like an edgier pursuit than playing guitar in a band.</p> <p><em>Guitar World</em> thought it might be instructive to salute some genuine rock weirdos — 25 individuals whose unique personalities and/or playing styles have been dictated not by popular trends, market research firms or knit-capped A&amp;R guys, but by an all-consuming need to express themselves to the fullest.</p> <p>Some have crashed and burned, especially when LSD was involved, and you probably wouldn't want to invite most them to dinner. But they're all colorful characters whose flying freak flags have contributed much to rock's rich tapestry.</p> <p><strong>Syd Barrett</strong></p> <p>Numerous books have been written about the late Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd's original leader and rock's first serious acid casualty. His madcap antics range from the amusing (fixing Pat Boone with a murderous stare during an interview on Boone's TV show; styling his hair with Brylcreem and crushed Mandrax tablets) to the psychotic (locking a girlfriend in a bedroom for days with nothing to eat but crackers). </p> <p>An incredibly inventive guitarist who combined an unorthodox slide technique with various echo units to create a truly "interstellar" sound, Syd unfortunately became synonymous with "losing one's shit entirely."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Hasil Adkins</strong></p> <p>The wildest one-man band in the history of recorded music, the late Hasil Adkins cranked out warped rockabilly paeans to sex, dancing and decapitation for many decades. </p> <p>A manic-depressive lover man whose diet consisted entirely of meat, nicotine and endless cups of coffee, the Haze liked to scare visitors to his rural Appalachian abode with his collection of mannequin heads, and had been known to send unsolicited copies of his new records to the White House. </p> <p>True connoisseurs of weirdness (including the Cramps, who covered Hasil's "She Said") worshiped his every primal clang and growl.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Buckethead</strong></p> <p>This reclusive, robotic guitarist (whose personal brand of shred encompasses the most out-there elements of art rock, heavy metal, hip-hop and free jazz) is never seen in public without a white mask on his face or a fried-chicken bucket on his head. </p> <p>According to legend, the latter helps him harness the spirits of all slain and martyred chickens, without which he is powerless.</p> <p>Buckethead has visited Disneyland hundreds of times (He even claims to have jammed with Haunted Mansion house band) and dreams of building his own surreal theme park, Bucketheadland. For more on that, <a href="">head here</a>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Roky Erickson</strong></p> <p>Guitarist and founding member of the world's first psychedelic band, the 13th Floor Elevators, Erickson has claimed at times to be from Mars, and his songs are filled with convincing references to aliens, demons and reincarnation. </p> <p>Busted for pot in 1969, he tried to beat the rap by pleading insanity. Although his habit of tripping four to five times a day might have already qualified Erickson for the nuthouse, the ensuing three-year incarceration (complete with Thorazine and shock treatments) in Texas' Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane certainly didn't help. </p> <p>Roky recorded prolifically in the Seventies and Eighties, but he currently spends most of his time at home.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Roy Wood</strong></p> <p>The very definition of "weird beard," Wood has always cut a uniquely hirsute figure in the world of English rock. A worrying number of his songs for Sixties psych-pop legends the Move dealt with paranoia, insanity and mental anguish and allegedly resulted from the band's manager instructing Wood to "write about what you know." </p> <p>An inventive guitarist capable of everything from shuddering power chords to delicate classical filigrees, Wood spent much of the Seventies cranking out Phil Spector-meets-Sha-Na-Na Fifties pastiches with Wizzard, doubtless scarring countless impressionable youngsters for life with his hideous glam-clown makeup. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Ace Frehley</strong></p> <p>Like the man himself, former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley's playing remains maddeningly unpredictable — to this day, he can sound like a teenager who's just picked up his first electric — but he always injected Kiss with a jolt of electricity. </p> <p>Ace's coked-out 1978 self-titled solo LP perfectly encapsulates his "life is one big joke" philosophy, but it's also one of the great bonehead rock albums of all time, right up there with the first Ramones record and <em>Foghat Live</em>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Glenn Ross Campbell</strong></p> <p>The visionary behind Sixties garage-psych ravers the Misunderstood, Campbell could barely play a chord on a six-string guitar. But armed with a pedal steel and a fuzz box, he produced a mind-blowing squall that sounded like the missing link between Jeff Beck's work with the Yardbirds and Jimi Hendrix's <em>Are You Experienced</em>. </p> <p>Inspired by his spiritually oriented mother, Campbell and his band toyed with the vibrational effects of feedback and light, sending unsuspecting audiences in to a communal trance with the sensory overload of their powerful performances. Sadly the Vietnam War draft destroyed the band after it had waxed only a handful of tracks.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Zal Cleminson</strong></p> <p>A visual cross between the Joker of <em>Batman</em> fame and Ronald McDonald, Cleminson was the musical lynchpin of Scottish glam terrorists the Sensation Alex Harvey Band. </p> <p>Cleminson's contorted, grease-painted mug, green Lurex body stocking and synchronized dance moves invariably provoked an avalanche of catcalls and projectiles from audiences who didn't appreciate the SAHB's theatrical bent — ditto the band's "talent show" routine, wherein Cleminson recited Shakespeare while tap-dancing. </p> <p>But his deft fretwork and monstrously fat sound endeared him to mid-Seventies rock fans with a taste for something beyond the usual arena fodder.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Dave Davies</strong></p> <p>Slashing his speakers to create that distorted "You Really Got Me" sound, Davies has clearly been thinking outside the box from the early Kinks days onward. </p> <p>In the late Seventies, Davies became deeply interested in telepathy and mental visualization, and claims to have used these concepts to energize or heal concert audiences many times since then. In 1982, he was telepathically contacted by "five distinct intelligences" from another dimension, who significantly enhanced his consciousness and taught him the principles of "etheric magnetism." </p> <p>Davies loves to scan the skies for UFOs, and extraterrestrial elements abound on <em>Purusha and the Spiritual Planet</em>, the techno/dance/New Age record he recorded in 1998 with is son Russell. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Euronymous</strong></p> <p>The mustachioed fret-mangler for Mayhem, Norway's original black metal band, Euronymous spent most of his downtime concocting explosive potions in his home laboratory, or presiding over pagan rituals and orgies in the basement of Hell, his Oslo record store. </p> <p>When Mayhem's lead singer blew his own brains out with a shotgun, the guitarist harvested the scattered grey matter from the suicide scene, then gleefully ate it in a stew of ham, vegetables and paprika. The accumulated bad karma finally caught up with Euronymous in 1993, when he was stabbed to death by Count Grishnackh of rival black metal purveyors Burzum.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Link Wray</strong></p> <p>An intimidating enigma in dark shades, greasy pompadour and a black leather jacket, Link waxed guitar instrumentals so pungently crude, one of 'em (the 1958 hit "Rumble") was even banned on numerous radio station for being "too suggestive." </p> <p>After losing a lung in his twenties to tuberculosis, Link let his cheap-ass guitars do most of the talking — or swearing, as the case may be. In the Fifties, he freaked out more than a few studio engineers with his primitive fuzz tone, achieved by punching holes in the speaker of his Premier amplifier. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Peter Green</strong></p> <p>The tastiest guitarist to emerge from the British blues boom of the Sixties, Peter Green was also the most troubled. </p> <p>Originally a brash and arrogant player, the Fleetwood Mac founder decimated his ego with numerous LSD binges and became deeply uncomfortable with is modicum of fame and fortune. He gave most of his money and belonging away to charity — and unsuccessfully tried to convince his bandmates to do the same — and took to wearing flowing robes and crucifixes. </p> <p>Green left the band in 1970 and was later institutionalized, where his schizophrenia was only worsened by repeated shock treatments. Although he still records and performs, the psychic scars from his ordeal remain.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Paul Leary</strong></p> <p>Ever the straight man to Gibby Haynes' psychotic jester, Leary gave up his stockbroker ambitions to wreak sonic vengeance on the world as the Butthole Surfers' lead guitarist. </p> <p>With his permanently dilated pupils and Rockettes-style leg kicks — and, for a brief period, a hot-pink "sideways Mohawk" — Leary would have been the resident freak in any other band, but he was typically overshadowed by Haynes' lysergic meltdowns and the Buttholes' collection of surgical-training films. </p> <p>Still, there was no denying the potency of Leary's bad-trip guitar grind, or his propensity for smashing and setting fire to his instruments at the <em>beginning</em> of a show. As he explained to <em>Guitar World</em> in 1991, "Why wait for the end, you know?"</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Bryan Gregory</strong></p> <p>No one who saw Bryan Gregory onstage with the Cramps will forget the arresting spectacle of the stick-thin guitarist coaxing scorching feedback from a polka-dot Flying V (several years before Randy Rhoads wielded one!) while wiggling his ass and flicking lit cigarettes into the crowd. </p> <p>With his pockmarked skin, viciously pointy fingernails and impossibly long bleached fringe, Gregory looked like a Times Square hooker returned from the dead, thus accomplishing the impressive feat of making bandmates Lux Interior and Poison Ivy seem positively normal. </p> <p>Gregory allegedly left the band to join a snake-handling cult, though the Cramps have always maintained that his exit was drug related.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Wes Borland</strong></p> <p>It's one thing to put on a mask or makeup when everybody else in your band is doing it; it's another thing entirely to dress up as a randy satyr or acid-crazed monkey when the rest of your bandmates are all backward-baseball cap-wearin' slobs. </p> <p>In Limp Bizkit, Borland's individualism extended not just to bizarre getups and mind-bending guitar noise but also to his very public discomfort with the band's dumbed-down shtick. Wes also has channeled his ADD-fueled energy into considerably more twisted projects like Goatslayer, Big Dumb Face and Eat the Day.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Jeff "Skunk" Baxter</strong></p> <p>Worried about American coming under missile attack from evildoers in faraway lands? No doubt you'll sleep easier knowing Jeff "Skunk" Baxter is counseling our elected officials on missile defense. That's right - he beret-wearing former Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan guitarist currently works for the U.S. Department of Defense as an adviser to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.</p> <p>Baxter apparently immersed himself in defense manuals and technical weapons texts while his bandmates were out partying, and now peppers his interviews with anecdotes that begin, "When I was in Afghanistan — well, I can't tell you <en>why I was in Afghanistan, but when I was in Afghanistan..."</en></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Robert Quine</strong></p> <p>The unlikeliest guitar hero to emerge from the New York City punk scene, the bald, bearded and bespectacled Quine looked more like a lawyer than a lead guitarist — before joining Richard Hell &amp; the Voidoids, he'd actually spent three years writing tax law for Prentice Hall Publishing. </p> <p>But Quine's musical presence was commanding as hell, and his ability to whip off the most mind-bendingly surreal solos without breaking a sweat won him work with such notorious hard-to-please figures as John Zorn, Tom Waits and Lou Reed. </p> <p>And on Reed's <em>The Blue Mask</em>, Quine did something no guitarist has accomplished before or since: get a killer tone out of Peavey Bandit amplifier. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Tawl Ross</strong></p> <p>A sorely underrated player in the annals of P-Funkdom, rhythm guitarist Lucius "Tawl" Ross turned on George Clinton to the high-energy sounds of fellow Detroiters and the Stooges and the MC5, and his distorted, protopunk riffs perfectly complimented Eddie Hazel's freaky leads on the first three Funkadelic albums. </p> <p>Tawl's voyage on the Mothership came to an abrupt ending 1971, following a tête-à-tête he'd had with his long-dead mother while tripping on a winning combination of raw speed and at least six hits of pure LSD. Though he briefly resurfaced int he Nineties, Tawl Ross essentially remains the Syd Barrett of funk.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Skip Spence</strong></p> <p>The West Coast psychedelic scene's answer to Syd Barrett, Alexander "Skip" Spence was a free spirit who took a serious wrong turn in 1968 during the recording of Moby Grape's second album: believing a bandmate to be possessed by Satan, Skip tried to "save" him with a fire ax. </p> <p>After a stint in New York City's Bellevue Hospital, he wrote and played everything on <em>Oar</em>, a thoroughly deranged amalgam of folk, blues and psychedelia that's since become a cult classic. Unfortunately, <em>Oar</em> marked his last period of prolonged semi-lucidity; doomed to battle schizophrenia and substance abuse issues, Skip was in and out of various institutions until his death from cancer in 1999.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Ricky Wilson</strong></p> <p>Everyone associates B-52's with Fred Schneider's campy bark and the bewigged antics of Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson, but these perennial new wave faces wouldn't have gone far without the twangy licks of Cindy's guitarist brother, Ricky. </p> <p>Heavily influenced by the disparate likes of Captain Beefheart and Joni Mitchell, Ricky (who allegedly learned guitar by playing along to TV commercials) used a variety of weird-ass tunings on his old Mosrite, dispensing with the D and G strings entirely. </p> <p>At a time when Dire Straits and Van Halen ruled the rock roost, Ricky's thrift shop, surf-meets-spaghetti western sound was a total revelation.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Hound Dog Taylor</strong></p> <p>Born with six fingers on each hand, Theodore Roosevelt "Hound Dog" Taylor once drunkenly tried to remove his extra digits with a razor blade. Thankfully, he was only partially successful, leaving his left hand intact to execute his wild Elmore James-in-crystal meth slide runs. </p> <p>Despite his clownish stage persona, Hound Dog loved to fight with his bandmates, and even wounded HouseRockers guitarist Brewer Phillips with a handgun when one dissing session got out of hand. A devotee of $50 pawnshop guitars and busted amps, Hound Dog rarely practiced, and he never performed sober. "When I die," he sagely predicted, "they'll say, 'He couldn't play shit, but he sure made it sound good!'"</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Marc Bolan</strong></p> <p>He claimed to know only five chords, but nobody ever whipped a Les Paul with as much effete elan as the TRex main man. The bisexual elf's Freudian fixation on guitar flagellation began during his stint with mod provocateurs John's Children (wherein he routinely beat his ax with chains during live shows) and continued long after he'd morphed from acoustic folkie to high-heeled glam warrior. </p> <p>Bolan's weirdo credentials were more confirmed by his impressive string of gibberish-laden hits — songs like "Metal Guru," "Hot Love" and "Telegram Sam" so brilliantly walked the line between genius and idiocy, no one is sure to this day which is which.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Jim Martin</strong></p> <p>"I'm from outer space and I'm here to kill you all," was a favorite between-song threat of the erstwhile Faith No More guitarist, and frankly it wasn't hard to believe him. </p> <p>With his Furry Freak Brother beard and man — the latter gradually turning into an unsightly "reverse Mohawk," thanks to pattern baldness — his penchant for wearing several pairs of sunglasses at once and his unapologetic love for classic rock, "Big Sick Ugly Jim" always seemed the odd man out in the groundbreaking funk-metal band. </p> <p>Since parting ways with FNM in 1994, the reclusive Martin as lent his searing tones to a handful of projects but his main interest seems to be growing giant pumpkins that tip the scales at well over 800 pounds. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Bobby Beausoleil</strong></p> <p>The pretty boy of the Manson Family (Charles, not Marilyn), Beausoleil was a talented musician who played rhythm guitar in Arthur Lee's Love, back when they were still known as the Grass Roots. In 1967, Beausoleil landed a gig playing guitar and sitar for the Magick Powerhouse of Oz, and 11-piece rock band formed by filmmaker Kenneth Anger to provide soundtrack to his occult film <em>Lucifer Rising</em>. </p> <p>After a headed argument, Beausoleil stole Anger's car, camera equipment and 1,600 feet of his film — the latter of which he gave to Manson, who buried it in the desert and demanded $10,000 in ransom. While in prison, Beausoleil has built a wide array of electronic instruments, including the Syntar, a stringless, digital, touch-controlled guitar.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>Angus Young</strong></p> <p>Angus is such an established member of the rock pantheon, most of us don't even flinch when AC/DC's diminutive lead axman duck-walks across the stage in full schoolboy drag, despite the fact the dude is several decades past his 16th birthday. </p> <p>But how's this for a job description: not only do you sport a velvet jacket-shorts-and-cap look on a nightly basis but you do it while playing impossibly loud blues licks, punctuating each performance with a striptease and a full moon of the audience. If that isn't a weird way to make your living for nearly 30 years, we don't know what is.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="400" src="//" 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="/pink-floyd">Pink Floyd</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Articles GW Archive Syd Barrett Wes Borland Guitar World Lists News Features Mon, 06 Jan 2014 15:35:47 +0000 Dan Epstein Petal to the Metal: The Minarik Orchid Guitar <!--paging_filter--><p>The solidbody guitar is essentially a blank canvas, a quality that often results in some rather bizarre designs, such as the instruments regularly featured here. </p> <p>Occasionally, however, form and function coalesce to produce an instrument that not only looks cool but also offers enhanced tone benefits. That’s how Minarik describes its new Orchid model, which looks like a delicate flower with its orchid-inspired “petals” and thin “stamen” extensions, which also are designed to function similar to tuning forks.</p> <p>“When we designed our Inferno model, we discovered that having extended pieces of the wood body hanging in air offered tonal possibilities that other guitars do not have,” Mark Minarik says. “With the Orchid model, we designed different-sized protrusions, combined with trademark tone chambering that allows those wood pieces to act as tuning forks that enhance different frequencies based on their size and location. The design gives the guitar a wider tonal rainbow.”</p> <p>With its numerous curves, body extensions, neck-through-body design, arched top and what seems like a mile of binding surrounding abalone purfling, the Orchid provides Minarik with more building challenges than the average solidbody.</p> <p>“The contoured arch top is very difficult to craft toward the stamen and leaves,” he says. “Also, the corner pieces by the upper horns drop below the body line. There are three different levels on this body that blend seamlessly. This example also has an Alice in Wonderland fretboard inlay that is very intricate and spectacular. You really have to look at it up close to appreciate all the detail and work that went into it.”</p> <p>For more information, visit <a href=""></a>.</p> Articles GW Archive It Might Get Weird May 2013 Minarik Electric Guitars Galleries News Features Gear Magazine Mon, 30 Dec 2013 13:58:49 +0000 Chris Gill Mass Effect: The Top 50 Stomp Boxes, Devices and Processors of All Time <!--paging_filter--><p>Has any piece of musical equipment proliferated more, or more rapidly, than the humble electric guitar effect unit? </p> <p>Though there is no official tally, suffice it to say that thousands of stomp boxes, effect devices and processors have been created for the electric guitar over the past 60 years (and that’s not including rackmount effects). Conceivably, more than half of those devices are distortion, fuzz and overdrive effects.</p> <p>So how did we come up with a list of the top 50 electric guitar effects of all time? Actually, it was easy, as most of these stomp boxes and devices turn up in the pages of this magazine on a regular basis every time we ask artists what they use in the studio and onstage.</p> <p>Other effects got the nod for being the first of their kind (like the DeArmond Tremolo Control, which dates back to the Forties and was the first optional effect device) while a few passed muster for being undeniably cool or influential — even if they’re so rare that it will cost you a few thousand bucks to score one on eBay.</p> <p>Popularity also was a critical factor in our choices, although we generally passed over a few best-selling reissues or boutique clones in favor of the real deal. So even though the Bubba Bob Buttcrack Tube Overdrive may sound more soulful than an original Tube Screamer, if it’s little more than a copy with slightly upgraded components, it didn’t make the cut. </p> <p>If you love effects like we do, we hope you'll find this top-50 list a useful guide to discovering the classic effect boxes that have shaped the guitar sounds of rock, metal, blues, punk and many other styles. And if you're like us, it will undoubtedly compel you to plunk down a chunk of cash for a collectible pedal or two on eBay. Don't say you weren't warned.</p> 2011 Articles Boss GW Archive Ibanez July 2011 Roland Guitar World Lists Effects July News Features Gear Magazine Thu, 26 Dec 2013 14:38:49 +0000 Chris Gill Dear Guitar Hero: ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons Talks Pinch Harmonics, Gear, Setup, Strings and More <!--paging_filter--><p><em>From the GW archive: This feature originally appeared in the May 2005 issue of </em>Guitar World.</p> <p>He's been known to play guitar through a pack of cigarettes and his wooly mammoth tone-and facial hair-have inspired guitarists for decades. But what <em>Guitar World</em> readers really want to know is...</p> <p><strong>Why did you start using a peso as a pick?</strong> — Paul Shuffield, Jr.</p> <p>Tommy Carter of Jimmie Vaughan's Dallas band the Chessmen used a quarter to play bass. He described the serrated edge of the coin as producing a delightful scratchiness as he scrubbed the strings. That gave me the idea, and our love of the Mexican border is what drew us to the peso. The peso coin is a rarity, but we've still got a few filed down for the ready.</p> <p><strong>Does the fur affect your beloved tone? — Chris Tracyr</strong></p> <p>The fur on the guitar or my face?</p> <p><strong>You use six Bixonic Expandora pedals for distortion, which would seem to create a muddy mess. Do you set the levels differently on each one to create the desired sustain while maintaining a cleaner distortion sound? Please help. Not knowing makes my medication less effective. — Kevin Potts</strong></p> <p>You are correct. Combinations of multiple effects are manageable when using a slight edge from each, which avoids the unwanted collision of tones. However, at this point, sometimes the grind of excessive noise becomes its own thing! Experiment...just not with your medication.</p> <p><strong>Do you really use .008 gauge strings? If so, how do you keep them from flapping when detuning? And how do you get such a great tone, since I have always believed the bigger the strings, the better the tone? — Brian Wachter</strong></p> <p>I, too, once believed in the heavier gauge string as a superior tone source. However, thanks to the graciousness of B.B. King I learned that a lighter gauge string offers superior playing comfort. Detuning requires some adjustment of attack, approach and feel. Try it. You may like it.</p> <p><strong>Where can I get one of those pimp-ass hats? — Garen Henry</strong></p> <p>From a Bamileke tribal member in Cameroon, West Africa. Be sure to take a Texas 10-gallon along for good trading.</p> <p><strong>Please tell me about your fantastic-sounding Pearly Gates. Was it love at first sight, and how and why does it sound so damn good? — Peter Ohmer</strong></p> <p>She is a 1959, and I acquired her when I was 18. While I have always been in love with her, I would have to say it was luck, not love, at first sight. We've studied the varying construction techniques used on a wide range of Les Pauls, and Pearly Gates seems simply to have been on the assembly line on the right day at the right time. It was the right glue, the right wood, the right finish on the right day. It's just all good.</p> <p><strong>I apologize if my question causes you nightmares, but if you had to choose between blowing up all of your custom hot rods and chopping up all of your guitars and amps with an ax, which would you do? — Dallas Tringali</strong></p> <p>Oh my God! We'd probably prefer to take a quick cruise and play each guitar, and burn the whole house down!</p> <p><strong>Did Frank play drums on <em>Eliminator</em> and did you play any guitar synth on the album? — AC Johnson</strong></p> <p>Frank played his trusty acoustic kit and used triggers to activate sounds on his drum modules. Although a guitar synth was present, we focused our attention on one of Mr. Moog's keyboard contraptions.</p> <p><strong>Ever jam with Johnny Winter when you were both young Texas bucks? — Michael Mosley</strong></p> <p>I was fortunate enough to join the legion of Johnny Winter fans when he first launched the great Johnny Winter trio [with bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Uncle John Turner]. We were content to remain in awe and admiration without attempting to crowd the stage. </p> <p><strong>What was your gear setup for Rhythmeen? I'm interested in how you obtained such a great low-end growl for that album. — Steve</strong></p> <p>That was the fine work of a detuned '55 Goldtop running through a modified Marshall 100, in conjunction with Marshall's JMP-1 preamp. The two amp sources working together created a curious organic delaylike effect that we still use in our studio today.</p> <p><strong>As a fan of ZZ Top and Queens of the Stone Age, I am wondering how you ended up appearing on Queens' new <em>Lullabies to Paralyze</em> album, how you felt about the experience and what gear you used. — St. Jimmy</strong></p> <p>The invitation to work with Josh Homme and company came by way of a phone call to our on-road production office. At the insistence of our road crew, I engaged in a studio session and had an absolute blast. Those guys are quite creative. They're willing to go out and try things. They had so much great gear in there that I really cannot relate what I ended up using, but they had an incredible array of choice-sounding guitars, amps and effects, both vintage and current. I just showed up and started trying out gear, having a blast. Hard to say what ended up on the tracks.</p> <p><strong>You are the king of artificial harmonics. How do you hit them so smoothly and exactly? — Matt Bush</strong></p> <p>Quite simply: it's meat on metal on wood. Roll the picking fingers slightly off edge of the plectrum and move around a bit. The sound changes drastically and requires some experimentation until you get comfortable finding your sweet spots.</p> <p><strong>You are well known for your pinch harmonics. What boggles my mind is how you do harmony between the pitches on the same fret. I'm thinking of "La Grange." How do you know each note's pitch and harmonize them perfectly? — Josh Berry</strong></p> <p>See the answer to the question above. It's a tricky thing to do, until muscle memory becomes second nature. Striking exactly where you want to requires some guesswork, especially while you are learning the technique. Again, experiment until you're playing what you want to hear. </p> <p><strong>I love the way it sounds like two guitar players dueling back and forth on Deguello and would like to confirm what I know but still find hard to grasp: that is all you, right? — Russell d Lancaster</strong></p> <p>Correct. The magic of multitracking turned our trio into a multipiece combo. Having to do it all simply requires the virtue of patience.</p> <p><strong>Why don't you use Marshall amps onstage anymore? — Scott Cronn</strong></p> <p>Marshalls are still present in our lineup and remain the cornerstone for our guitar and bass tones, though their presence may not be as visually apparent. We're using the Marshall tube preamp and loading that into Marshall's now out-of-production 120/120 power amp.</p> <p><strong>You had a keyboard player on the first ZZ album. How did the group decide to become a three-piece? What are your likes and dislikes about playing in a trio? — Brian Birckbichler</strong></p> <p>Our first recording did feature ZZ top as a trio, but instead of using guitar, drums and bass, we used guitar, drums and a Hammond B-3 organ. [<em>ZZ Top's first single, "Salt Lick" b/w "Miller's Farm," features this lineup. The tracks are available on the <em>Chrome, Smoke &amp; BBQ</em> box set (Rhino)</em>]. The power of the kick [bass] pedals from the keyboard allowed us to create a four-piece sound with the minimalism of a trio, which is what we have always loved. Presently, ZZ Top enjoys the challenge that trio performance requires. Quite lively.</p> <p><strong>Have you always been a sharp-dressed man? I saw some old photos of you guys in cheesy blue cowboy suits, which stopped me in my tracks. — Ryan Jones</strong></p> <p>To borrow Dusty's expression, we're immune to fashion. Thank goodness for the notion that accompanies the vision of sharp-dressed man. We're still trying to figure that one out. </p> <p><strong>You have always had fabulous tone. What amps and guitars did you use on ZZ Top's first few albums? — Rick Paulus</strong></p> <p>Thanks very much. We have been fortunate to enjoy the luxury of a spot-on crew, and we've maintained an archive of each instrument, amp, drum kit and ancillary devices used on each track. It's all on record, and any piece of gear can be lifted from the vault for most particular sounds. At the heart of almost everything we've done, however, is Pearly Gates run through either a Marshall or an old Fender. That simple-but-deadly combination is still tough to beat.</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="/billy-gibbons">Billy Gibbons</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Articles Billy Gibbons GW Archive May 2005 ZZ Top Interviews News Features Mon, 16 Dec 2013 17:13:51 +0000 Brad Angle Interview: Earl Slick, Rick Nielsen and Jack Douglas Tell the Story Behind John Lennon's 'Double Fantasy' <!--paging_filter--><p><em>From the GW archive: This feature originally appeared in the Holiday 2010 issue of </em>Guitar World:</p> <p>Last year's remastered and stripped-down versions of <em>Double Fantasy</em> offer a revealing glimpse into John Lennon’s spirit and artistry. In this <em>Guitar World</em> exclusive, session guitarists Rick Nielsen and Earl Slick and producer Jack Douglas discuss the stories and sounds behind Lennon’s final album. </p> <p> I thought long and hard about this,” says producer Jack Douglas. “I asked myself, ‘Am I selling John out?’ ” Douglas is talking about his 2010 stripped-down remix of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1980 album, <em>Double Fantasy</em>. </p> <p>The disc is part of the massive rollout of reissued Lennon solo material that EMI recently prepared to commemorate what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday on Oct. 9, 2010, and the 30th anniversary of his death on Dec. 8, 1980. </p> <p> <em>Double Fantasy</em> was the last album Lennon released in his lifetime. It hit the streets about a month before his murder, a grim chronological juxtaposition that has always lent greater poignancy to the album’s songs. <em>Double Fantasy</em> was meant to be Lennon’s “comeback” album, his return to the music business and public life after five years of retirement during which he had focused on the simple joys of domesticity and raising his son, Sean. </p> <p>Instead, the album became Lennon’s farewell to a vast and adoring fan base, many of whom had admired him since the earliest days of Beatlemania. </p> <p> It was Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, who asked Douglas to revisit <em>Double Fantasy</em> on the occasion of last year’s anniversaries. “I got a call from her office asking if I’d be interested in doing something with<em> Double Fantasy</em>, not really knowing what,” says the producer. “I said yes. It shouldn’t be anybody else. I produced it. I pretty much knew where everything was on the master tapes.” </p> <p> This left Douglas to decide what could or should be done with Lennon’s original masters. “I realized it couldn’t be an ‘unplugged’ album,” he says. “If you unplugged all the electric instruments, there wouldn’t be anything left. And John’s original rough demos for the album were already in circulation, either illegally as bootlegs or legally in a box set [1998’s <em>John Lennon Anthology</em>]. So I thought the best thing to do was break it down to the original rhythm section that we recorded live in the studio, and just discard a lot of the overdubs and production. </p> <p>"While the album holds up well, I thought it sounded like an '80s production. And John was insecure about his vocals throughout his career, but particularly in this case, where he was coming back after a long time out of circulation. So we had buried his vocals in the mix, double-tracked them, and I put a bunch of slap echo and reverb on them. But I realized that it would be really compelling to bring his vocals really up front — and Yoko’s too, although to a slightly lesser extent — so you really hear the emotion in John’s voice and feel what he was singing about. So far, people who have heard the mixes are stunned by how much you feel like you’re right in the room with him.” </p> <p> But is this what Lennon would have wanted? That was the question Douglas struggled with. Was he indeed selling John out? In the end, the producer decided he wasn’t. “I went back to John’s early solo work, when he first left the Beatles, the Plastic Ono Band stuff. And he didn’t mind pulling down his pants and being right up front at that point. That was because he was confident then, whereas he was just a little insecure when he did <em>Double Fantasy</em>, because he’d been away for a while. But in fact his voice was fantastic on that album, although I couldn’t convince him of that at the time. And now you get to hear it.” </p> <p> So Douglas found himself returning to tracks he’d recorded 30 years ago. But by an eerie coincidence, he found himself transferring the original analog multitrack masters into the digital domain in the very same room where he’d last worked with Lennon, on the very last night of his life, completing a recording of Yoko’s song “Walking on Thin Ice.” In 1980, that 10th-floor room at 321 W. 44th St. in Manhattan had been part of the Record Plant. Today, it’s a Sony transfer facility. </p> <p> “They called me, and said, ‘We want to tell you something, Mr. Douglas. This is really strange. The very room where we do the transfers is rumored to be the last room you and John worked in the night he was assassinated.’ So in fact I was going to start this project in the very same room where I left it 30 years ago. The room was the same, and it was completely by accident.” </p> <p> But, as a longtime believer in karma, astrology and numerology, Yoko Ono might contend that such occurrences are no accidents. “I didn’t even invite Yoko to these transfers,” Douglas says. “I thought that would be too upsetting for her. That was John’s last elevator ride that he took downstairs. It was all just way too much. And in fact, in the two weeks that we spent doing the transfers, it felt like John was a ghost in the room with me. It was very disturbing.” </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> <hr /> <p> The transfer process itself was painstakingly meticulous. Douglas originally recorded the album on two 16-track analog multitrack machines, synchronized via SMPTE time code. These analog masters needed to be transferred to the Pro Tools digital platform at the highest possible sampling frequency, using the best A-to-D converters available. First, however, the original analog tapes had to be taken from their secure storage area and baked at a carefully controlled temperature in order to re-adhere the oxide to the magnetic tape stock, a standard restoration process when working with older analog tapes. </p> <p> “The tapes are held under lock and key at Studio One [<em>Ono’s production company</em>],” Douglas explains. “They were taken from there to another facility, where they were baked, and then brought to us at the Sony transfer room. The masters would come in to us with an armed guard. We’d get four to six reels at a time to work on. The whole process took about two weeks. We took files of everything—outtakes, the works. And we brought it all to [<em>engineer</em>] Jay Messina’s facility, West End Studios. We started to analyze everything we had. At that point, John stopped being a ghost and became an active participant in this thing. He started to give us little clues of where we could find little gems—funny count-offs and pieces of comic business and one point where there was going to be a saxophone solo and John hummed the whole solo. So we took out the sax and put in the humming.” </p> <p> Indeed, Lennon’s little snippets of banter between takes are one small treasure of Double Fantasy’s stripped remix. At the outset of the album’s opening track, Lennon dedicates the song to his rock and roll heroes, “This one’s for Gene [<em>Vincent</em>], Eddie [<em>Cochran</em>], Elvis [<em>Presley</em>] and Buddy [<em>Holly</em>],” establishing the mood of nostalgia and romance that wafts throughout all of Lennon’s contributions to this musical dialog that he shared with Ono. </p> <p> “Those fun bits of business totally reflect what the album was about,” Douglas says. “The original idea was that the album was a play that you were watching onstage, or onscreen as a film—a dialog between a man and a woman. And it occurred to me at this point that you could take that, bring it off the stage and involve the audience in this dialog by making it very intimate, bringing John and Yoko into the room with you.” </p> <p> Neat chronological decimals mark Lennon’s life trajectory with eerie regularity. In 1960, at age 20, he first left his native Liverpool and landed in Hamburg to play the rough clubs of that city’s Reeperbahn red-light district with an embryonic incarnation of the Beatles. It was the start of a chapter in his life that would climax in the worldwide hysteria of Beatlemania. Ten years later, Lennon celebrated his 30th birthday while recording his first solo album, <em>The Plastic Ono Band</em>, in 1970. He was glad the Beatles were now behind him and eager to commence another new chapter of his life. And in 1980, embarking on his 40th year of life, he completed<em> Double Fantasy</em>. It was meant to herald the start of a triumphant third act for Lennon. His troubled youth behind him, reunited with Yoko after a mid-Seventies separation and drunken, desperate Lost Weekend, Lennon was now a contented father and family man. He saw this as a new beginning, although fate would soon transform it into a bittersweet denouement. </p> <p> After a long silence, during a vacation in the Bahamas, Lennon suddenly came up with a batch of new songs that reflected where he was at that point in his life, his love for his wife and son, the rough times he’d been through and the new equilibrium he had found. These songs would form the backbone of <em>Double Fantasy</em>. “John wanted the album to be the sound of a 40-year-old man with a kid,” Douglas says. “He said, ‘We’re going to get blasted for this: John Lennon is not rocking anymore. But that’s what this record is. It’s about me now. And it’s made for my people. I want my contemporaries in the room to record it with me.’ ” </p> <p> To co-produce the album, Lennon and Ono chose Douglas, who had helped engineer some overdubs on Lennon’s landmark <em>Imagine</em> album in 1971 and had since gone on to distinguish himself with outstanding rock albums by Cheap Trick and Aerosmith. In keeping with Lennon’s wishes, Douglas recruited a top-drawer coterie of session musicians who were more or less in Lennon’s age group, including bassist Tony Levin, drummer Andy Newmark and keyboardist George Small, along with a few players who’d worked with Lennon in the past. Percussionist Arthur Jenkins had played on the 1974 Lennon album, <em>Walls and Bridges</em> album, while guitarist Hugh McCracken was a veteran of the Lennon’s 1971 single “Happy Xmas.” </p> <p> McCracken has the added distinction of having played guitar with all four former Beatles. He’d previously played on Paul McCartney’s <em>Ram</em> album, in 1971. “John said to Huey, ‘Love your work with Wings. Very good.’ Huey said, ‘Oh thank you, John.’ And John said, ‘You know, of course, that was just an audition to play with me.’ ” </p> <p> Working from cassette demos Lennon had made in the Bahamas, Douglas put together some orchestrations with arranger Tony Davilio and began to rehearse the band without Lennon. In fact, Lennon was so uncertain about the whole project initially that Douglas wasn’t even allowed to tell the musicians the name of the artist on whose album they were working—although a few of the players soon guessed. The cat was fully out of the bag when the location for the final rehearsal was announced—Lennon and Ono’s apartment at the Dakota building at 72nd Street and Central Park West in Manhattan. </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> <hr /> <p> At the very end of that rehearsal, as the musicians were walking out the door, Lennon suddenly announced that he had one last song idea.He sat down at a Fender Rhoads electric piano near the door and played “Just Like Starting Over,” a song that would become the lead and keynote track for <em>Double Fantasy</em>, celebrating John and Yoko’s joyous reunion after the Lost Weekend separation period and the start of a new phase of musical and artistic collaboration together. With sessions due to commence the very next day, Douglas opted to record this new song first, giving Lennon and the session players a chance to work spontaneously in the beginning, without pre-written charts or arrangements. </p> <p> And he threw one more wild card into the band: guitarist Earl Slick, perhaps best known for his work with David Bowie. Slick had played on Bowie’s hit “Fame,” which had been cowritten by Lennon, and on Bowie’s cover of Lennon’s song “Across the Universe.” Both tracks had appeared on Bowie’s 1975 album, <em>Young Americans</em>. </p> <p> “I think John wanted me on his album because I was the street rock guy,” Slick says. “Everybody else in there could read music. They were session guys. I was the loose cannon.” </p> <p> And so Slick turned up for the first day of recording at the Hit Factory on 48th Street, between 9th and 10th avenues, unrehearsed and not sure what to expect. “I got there two hours early,” Slick recalls. “Not that I was excited or anything—ha! Nobody’s there. I walk out of the control room into the main studio and John’s sitting in the middle of the room on a chair, playing his guitar. The gear wasn’t even set up yet. I went over and introduced myself, and he said ‘Good to see you again.’ I said, ‘Really? Have we met?’ He said, ‘Well, the Bowie thing.’ I said, ‘I think we recorded at different times.’ He said, ‘No, no. We were in there together.’ We had this banter going on for about five minutes, and we were both laughing our asses off. Finally I said, ‘Look, let’s be straight here. You’re John Lennon, a Beatle! If I met you, I’m thinking I would remember that, unless I was so fuckin’ stoned.’ He goes, ‘Well that’s a possibility.’ ” </p> <p> Slick vividly remembers his guitar and McCracken’s guitar contributions to “Just Like Starting Over.” “I played the [<em>rhythm guitar</em>] chops that go with the snare drum, and Huey’s playing that low melody line. And in the bridge, there’s a slightly heavier guitar in there and that’s me.” </p> <p> Playing guitar with Lennon was a treat for both Slick and McCracken. “It was all pretty natural,” Slick recalls. “Things just fell into place. My rhythm style would have been closer to John’s, and Hugh had a lot more of the colorful nuances that would go rhythmically with what I did—because I played like John, very primal. And on solos, John would divvy up who he thought would be the best guy to play certain solos. Some of them were cut live. Like the solo on ‘Cleanup Time’ that I played. That was on the rhythm track, and John just liked it, so he kept it.” </p> <p> “John brought all of his guitars to the studio,” Douglas recalls. “Every Beatle guitar that you ever saw him with was in the room—his Rickenbacker 325, his Epiphone Casino… There were about 20 guitars in the room: beautiful old Strats, Les Pauls, 335s and other things like that. But every time, John would end up using one of three guitars: a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic, Ovation acoustic or this electric guitar called the Sardonyx.” </p> <p> The Sardonyx, a curious footnote to electric guitar history, was a very sci-fi-looking custom instrument, with a pointy headstock that somewhat resembled a Flying V’s, and a squared-off body with pontoon-like metal appendages affixed to either side of the body. It looked a bit like a Star Trek–era spaceship or, in the words of Earl Slick, “like a fuckin’ ski rack for a car.” Lennon’s affection for the instrument is very much a testimony to his restless quest for novelty. A man who’d quickly burned through LSD, Transcendental Meditation, heroin and radical politics, he was easily bored and always looking for the next new toy, belief system or lifestyle. </p> <p> “The Sardonyx, Ovation and Hummingbird all lived behind John’s bed at the Dakota,” Douglas remembers. “John could just reach behind the headboard and grab one of those. Those were the guitars he played when we were working on preproduction for the album, and he gravitated toward them in the studio as well.” </p> <p> Most of Lennon’s electric guitar work for the album was played through a Fender Twin miked with a Sennheiser 421, Shure SM57 and Sony C30 in a triangular configuration. McCracken played a Strat, Gibson ES-335 and Les Paul, while Slick employed a Les Paul and 1965 Gibson SG Junior mainly through a late-Sixties 100-watt Marshall head and one 4x12 cabinet. </p> <p> The sessions’ level of guitar geekery hit a new plateau when Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos and Tom Peterson of Cheap Trick came into the studio on August 12, 1980, to work on two songs for the album, Lennon’s “I’m Losing You” and Ono’s “I’m Moving On.” One of the world’s foremost guitar collectors, Nielsen was intrigued by the historical instruments Lennon had brought into the studio. </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> <hr /> <p> “I never called him ‘Mr. Lennon’ or anything,” Nielsen says. “It was ‘John.’ And we talked guitar stuff, gear. I got to the studio first. He comes walking in and says, ‘Oh, you!’ And I said back to him, “Oh, you!’ I think Jack had explained to him who we were. In 1980, Cheap Trick was pretty high on the charts. So it was just a musician-to-musician kind of thing. I brought a couple of my guitars, and John had his stuff. I was the first guy in America to have a Mellotron back in the Sixties, and John of course had his black, dual-keyboard Mellotron. So it was just gear talk. </p> <p> “I brought a Les Paul and Hamer and a Fender Telecaster with a B-string bender on it. John had never seen one of those. So I ended up giving him that guitar. I was leaving for Japan the next day. I said, ‘Here, take it and try it out.’ I ended up getting it back three years after he was murdered. That was the guitar I used on the solo for ‘Baby Loves to Rock’ [<em>from Cheap Trick’s 1980 album,</em> All Shook Up].” </p> <p> Nielsen was somewhat horrified when Lennon opened up one of his guitar cases and brought out a Veleno, another one of his novelty instruments with a V-shaped headstock and mirrored-chrome body finish. Lennon seemed intent on using this guitar for his tracks with Cheap Trick. “I said, ‘John, no. No. This is not right,’ ” Nielsen says with a laugh. “He had old, cruddy strings on it. But then he showed me his Rickenbacker 325, which I believe he’d played with the Beatles at Shea Stadium. It still had the song list scotch-taped to the side. I’m a guitar collector, so that was the coolest.” </p> <p> Nielsen took some surreptitious measurements of the instrument’s short-scale neck and later had Hamer make a custom guitar for Lennon. Along with gear, fatherhood formed another bond between the two men. Rick’s son Dax, his first child, was born on the very day the session took place. Nielsen had a hard time tearing himself away from his wife at this critical juncture in their lives together, but an opportunity to play and record with John Lennon was an honor that the guitarist couldn’t pass up. “My standard joke is, had it been McCartney the answer would have been no,” Nielsen says, laughing. </p> <p> Fatherhood was a big priority for Lennon at this point in his life too. The birth of his son Sean some five years earlier had been a major factor in Lennon’s decision to retire from music from 1975 to 1980. One of his first acts upon entering the Hit Factory to record <em>Double Fantasy</em> had been to tape a picture of Sean up over the console. Sessions generally had to end in time for Lennon to get home and tuck Sean into bed. Failing that, work would halt while John made a good-night phone call to his son. Naturally, John and Yoko were enthusiastic in congratulating Nielsen on the birth of his first son. </p> <p> “I’d flown in from Montreal and brought some Cuban cigars down with me,” Nielsen recalls. “So we lit them up and celebrated my son’s arrival. John and Jack, we were all smoking the Cuban cigars I’d brought in. Yoko had one too.” </p> <p> It’s somewhat surprising to hear of cigar smoke filling the control room during the <em>Double Fantasy</em> sessions. Most accounts of the dates stress the almost new-agey vibe of the sessions; all the players’ astrological charts had been checked in advance. There was a “quiet room” and a shiatsu masseuse on hand. Tea and sushi, macrobiotic food, sunflower seeds and raisins were on offer, but there was also junk food stashed in the studio maintenance room. There are also hints that cigars weren’t the only things being smoked in the control room. </p> <p> “It wasn’t as strict as all that,” Earl Slick confesses. “John would chain-smoke cigarettes, and I was drinking like a fish. And he put up with me, God bless him. I mean, I never got drunk enough not to play, but that was back in my pre-clean days. And I was a bad boy. I remember going out with [<em>engineer</em>] Lee DeCarlo pretty much every night after the sessions and getting stupid. John used to think it was quite funny when I’d crawl into the studio the next day after being out all night and fucked up. He’d just laugh and say, ‘You’ve had a night out!’ I think he got a kick out of me because he was seeing a bit of himself in the old days and living vicariously through my dysfunction.” </p> <p> As it turned out, the Cheap Trick versions of “I’m Losing You” and “I’m Moving On” didn’t make it onto the album. Ono is generally credited with vetoing the tracks. “She thought Cheap Trick were just some band I was trying to give a boost to,” Douglas says, “even though they’d been quite successful and were in the process of making an album with George Martin, ironically enough [All Shook Up].” </p> <p> Accounts vary as to how the album version of “I’m Losing You,” with Slick and McCracken on guitars, was recorded. Douglas remembers playing the Cheap Trick recording in the studio musician’s headphones and having them play along, in order to duplicate the feel. Slick and McCracken have no recollection of this, but Slick does recall Lennon’s unique approach to recording the guitar solo for the album version of “I’m Losing You.” </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> <hr /> <p> “John said, ‘Okay, Slickie, you’re going to come in with the first part of the solo and Huey the second, Slickie the third and Huey the fourth.’ And once we laid our parts down, we tripled them, with each guy doubling the other guy’s stuff and adding harmonies over the top. As I recall, we had two small amps facing each other—little old Fenders, probably—with a stereo mic in the middle. John told us that that’s what he and George Harrison had done on ‘Nowhere Man.’ And if you listen to that song, even though the tone on the Beatles track is a much more high-endy AC30 sound, you’re still gonna hear a similarity between those two solos and how they were done. Because there’s like six guitars on there, all very clean and very compressed, which is something I never would have thought of doing. I learned an awful lot from being in there with John.” </p> <p> In 1998, the Cheap Trick recording of “I’m Losing You” was included on the <em>John Lennon Anthology</em> box set. The performance is certainly heavier than the version of the song on <em>Double Fantasy</em>, an approach that well suits the song’s edgy qualities. Melodically somewhat reminiscent of the Beatles’ “Glass Onion,” the song features a lyric that seems like something from Lennon’s Lost Weekend period, but it was actually written during the same Bermuda vacation that yielded Lennon’s other songs for <em>Double Fantasy</em>. On his own in a strange place, without Yoko, the notoriously insecure Lennon began to fear that Yoko was slipping away from him one night when he couldn’t get her on the phone. </p> <p> Yoko’s answer song, “I’m Moving On,” seems to justify all his worst fears, with its repeated accusation, “you’re getting phony.” It’s a moment you’ll find in any relationship. All couples have their ups and downs, and <em>Double Fantasy</em> captures the inner dynamic of one of the world’s most famous love relationships with the candor and honesty that characterizes most of Lennon and Ono’s work, individually and collectively. </p> <p> Lennon got the album title from the name of a flower he’d seen at a botanical garden in Bermuda, and it became the work’s central metaphor.<em> Double Fantasy </em>is a glimpse into John and Yoko’s respective inner worlds. As much as the album celebrates the love that unites them, it also dramatizes just how different those two worlds were. While Lennon was enjoying domestic bliss and tranquility during his retirement period, Ono had taken on the management of the couple’s funds, increasing their wealth substantially while secretly working her way through a relapse into heroin addiction. John’s <em>Double Fantasy</em> songs tend toward the romantic—lyrics filled with moonlight, angels and tenderness, whereas Yoko’s lyrics tend to foreground cold, hard realities and the dark places of the mind. Compare for instance John’s “Beautiful Boy” with Yoko’s “Beautiful Boys.” The Lennon song is gentle and reassuring, whereas the Ono track offers the quizzical cold comfort of lines like, “Don’t be afraid to go to hell and back,” set to ominously foreboding gunshot sounds in the background. </p> <p> Musically as well, Lennon and Ono are coming from very different places on <em>Double Fantasy</em>. John’s work is deeply steeped in musical nostalgia. From the Beatles’ 1968 <em>White Album</em> onward, Lennon became increasingly open about referencing his musical roots in Fifties rock and roll. He emerges on <em>Double Fantasy</em> as a man totally at ease with his own musical past, a 40-year-old guy who no longer cares if his tastes and preferences in music seem outdated. </p> <p> With its piano triplets and somewhat schmaltzy chord progression, “Starting Over” offers frank homage to Fifties rock and roll balladry, a fact underlined by the stripped remix with its spoken dedication to “Gene, Eddy, Elvis and Buddy.” “Woman” fits comfortably alongside early Beatles-era Lennon ballads like “If I Fell,” a kinship that’s particularly apparent on John’s 12-string acoustic guitar demo of the song, included on the <em>Lennon Anthology</em>. By contrast, Ono’s contributions to <em>Double Fantasy</em> are quintessentially Eighties sounding. “Kiss Kiss Kiss” wouldn’t be out of place on a Lene Lovich album, and “Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him” could be an outtake from a Blondie disc. </p> <p> “My feeling was that she had to sound like that,” Douglas says. “She always seemed to be cutting edge. There is no retro in her book.” </p> <p> “On Yoko’s stuff, I tended to use more pedals and effects,” Slick says. “Boss made this black auto-swell pedal that would make things almost sound backwards. No disrespect to Huey, but I think I might have done more of the weird, outside shit on Yoko’s stuff, because my brain was more wired that way. And that comes from working with Bowie.” </p> <p> Lennon and Ono worked separately on their respective tracks much of the time, coming into the studio at different times of the day and night, although sometimes they worked together. “When she was singing, John would be in the control room with Jack,” Nielsen recalls. “She’d be saying, ‘John, how should I do this?’ And he’d say, ‘Well, you do it this way, Mother.’ He called her ‘Mother.’ And they’d argue back and forth a little. She’d say, ‘Fuck you, John. Fuck you.’ Typical married couple.” </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> <hr /> <p> As part of Lennon’s mature level of comfort with his own musical past, he would sometimes reference a Beatles track while giving direction to the studio musicians. And he’d graciously accept it if one of the players couldn’t help playing a quote from some Beatles song or other—an inevitability in a roomful of musicians who all grew up loving the Beatles. </p> <p> “You know what we’d do to the poor guy?” Slick rhetorically demands. “Once in a while one of us would start playing a Beatles song. And John would act like he hated it. But then he might join in. You can hear it on the box set from ’98. I think I’m playing ‘She’s a Woman,’ which is a Paul song. And you can hear John in the background saying, ‘Who’s playing that? Stop playing that fucking song!’ But once in a while, he’d sit down and join us. You could get him going. If one of us started playing a Beatles song, he’d chime in for a verse or something like that. Then he’d say, ‘Okay, that’s enough of that.’ ” </p> <p> Slick also slipped the riff from Bowie’s “Fame” into the outro of “Cleanup Time.” “I’d never noticed that before,” Douglas says, “not until I did this remix. John would never stop reminding Slick that he [<em>John</em>] had cowritten what was Bowie’s only number-one hit at the time.” </p> <p> The live dynamic of the sessions, with their sense of fun and interplay, comes across more clearly on Douglas’ stripped-down <em>Double Fantasy</em> remixes. “John would be in his vocal booth when we’d do a take,” Slick recalls. “Once in a while he’d have a suggestion for a guitar part and say, ‘Huey, you cover this and Slickie, you cover that.’ But a lot of times we were left to our own devices. John picked everybody in there for what they could bring to the table, as opposed to dictating to us. That’s what I loved about working with both John and David Bowie. In the time I worked with them, what each of them wanted was Earl Slick. And that’s the proudest work I have in my entire discography, and I’ve got my name on a number of albums in my time.” </p> <p> “Most of the vocals on the master track itself were the live vocals that John recorded in the room during the tracking,” Douglas says. “There were only fixes if he sang the wrong lyric, wanted to change a lyric, sang off-mic or just did something completely wrong. Because he was playing guitar at the same time he was singing, either an acoustic guitar, which you can hear on the live vocals, or an electric guitar with an amp in another room, and you can hear the pick running across the strings on the live vocal track. Which is kind of fun.” </p> <p> Douglas captured Lennon’s voice with a Neumann U47 or U87 or a Telefunken 251; he tended to favor the 251. As the vocals went to tape, they were processed with a little compression from a UR EI LA -2A and a bit of Pultec EQ. For the original album release, Lennon doubled all his vocal parts, but Douglas left the overdubs off for the stripped remixes. The result is a more intimate vocal feel. </p> <p> But that’s not all the stripped remixes accomplish. With the schmaltzy choir overdubs and dated-sounding Eighties signal processing removed, the songs themselves come more clearly into focus. And, almost magically, the contrast between Lennon’s material and Ono’s starts to soften. Perhaps the new remix does an even better job than the original mix of realizing John and Yoko’s original vision. They show us how two very strong and distinctly different individuals could become as one in a love relationship. By clearing away aural clutter, the new mixes create a space where hopeless romanticism and hard-edged realism can indeed co-exist. </p> <p> “Yoko helped a lot with these remixes,” Douglas says. “She’d come in every few days and listen to two or three mixes at a sitting. And she’d make some suggestions to us, which were all very good. Although she doesn’t speak in technical terms, she would notice little things. If I added a little Pultec high-end to the snare drum, she’d say, ‘All of a sudden the snare sounds like <em>boof</em>, <em>boof</em>, <em>boof</em>. Too much, too much. Too much Andy [<em>Newmark</em>].’ And it would just be a little bit of 10kHz on the snare. I’d say, ‘Okay.’ I’d totally respect her opinions, because she would hear every little thing we did. </p> <p> “But mostly it brought her to tears. John being in the room was an unnerving experience. It was disturbing to her. But she absolutely loved it. I saw her the other night and she gave me a big hug and said she’s so thrilled with this.” </p> <p><em>Photo:</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="/john-lennon">John Lennon</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beatles">The Beatles</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rick-nielsen">Rick Nielsen</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Articles Beatles Cheap Trick Earl Slick GW Archive Holiday 2010 John Lennon The Beatles Yoko Ono Interviews News Features Sun, 08 Dec 2013 15:37:06 +0000 Alan Di Perna Guitar Lust: The Story of Duane Allman's Long-Lost 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop <!--paging_filter--><p><em>From the GW archive: This story was originally published in the January 2011 issue of </em>Guitar World.</p> <p>Duane Allman played a gorgeous 1957 Les Paul goldtop for the first 18 months of his two and a half years in the Allman Brothers Band. </p> <p>He played the goldtop on the band’s first two albums, which featured the original versions of “Whipping Post,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” “Midnight Rider,” “Revival” and other classics, and he played it on his numerous sessions with other artists, including Derek and the Dominos’ 1970 masterpiece, <em>Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs</em>. </p> <p>Then Allman swapped the guitar for a sunburst Paul, and this piece of rock and roll history disappeared into the ether.</p> <p>Now the goldtop is back where it belongs: in the spotlight. Today, Duane’s former guitar is on display at the <a href="">Allman Brothers Band Museum</a> at the Big House in Macon, Georgia.</p> <p>What’s more, it can be heard on a new recording, <em>Guitar Magic</em>, by the Skydog Woody Project, which also features the 1976 Gibson Thunderbird bass once owned by late ABB/Gov’t Mule bassist Allen Woody.</p> <p>The story of how Duane and the goldtop became separated is a classic tale of guitar lust. </p> <p>On September 16, 1970, the Allmans played a show in Duane and Gregg Allman’s hometown of Daytona, Florida. Duane, fresh off recording <em>Layla</em> with Eric Clapton and company, was, as usual, playing his ’57 goldtop.</p> <p>The opening band was a local group called the Stone Balloon, whose guitarist, Rick Stine, was playing a 1959 cherry sunburst Les Paul, which caught Duane’s eye. While making <em>Layla</em> he had fallen in love with Clapton’s cherry sunburst. Wanting one of his own, Duane offered to swap Les Pauls with Stine. When Stine balked, Allman upped the ante, throwing in $200 and one of his regular Marshall 50 heads.</p> <p>Stine agreed, but Duane had one caveat: he wanted the goldtop’s pickups for his new ’burst. The electronics were swapped, and the deal was done. Exactly one week later, on September 23, Allman played his new guitar when the Allman Brothers Band performed at the Fillmore East in New York City, a fact born out by video footage from the show. He played his new cherry ’burst throughout the rest of his career, which ended far too soon when he was killed in a motorcycle crash on October 29, 1971.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Allman’s original goldtop drifted around Daytona, passing through the hands of three different owners, the last of which eventually sold it to a local guitar store. In 1977, the shop sold it to Gainesville guitarist Scot LaMar. He’d heard from his friend Billy Bowers that Duane’s Les Paul was for sale in Daytona, and he rushed to the store to purchase it. He paid $475, a fair price for a vintage Les Paul in 1977.</p> <p>The goldtop had some damage, including a bite mark on the headstock from a previous owner’s dog. LaMar had two respected luthiers refinish the guitar, but he was dissatisfied with the results and eventually had the instrument refinished by Tom Murphy, the man behind the Gibson Historic series and probably the most renowned “goldtop guy” in the world. The guitar was restored to its original glory and placed on display at the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House.</p> <p>Opened last year in the communal house where various members of the band lived, played and jammed together from 1970 to 1973, the Big House Museum includes thousands of artifacts from the ABB’s career. The goldtop is displayed along with artifacts directly related to it, including a shirt given to Duane by Clapton during the <em>Layla</em> sessions and two amps Duane used with the guitar: a Fender Showman and a 50-watt Marshall head, which were sometimes used together.</p> <p>Other items on display at the museum include Berry Oakley’s Fender Jazz “Tractor” bass and Showman amp, a T-shirt from the first-ever run of ABB merchandise, a Fender Bassman that Dickey Betts used during the band’s earliest days and one of Duane’s Marshall cabs. It also includes a recreation of the famous Fillmore East stage, where the band recorded its landmark <em>At Fillmore East</em> live album in 1970. The display includes a set of vintage Ludwig drums used by Butch Trucks from 1968 to 1970, and a pair of road cases with stenciled lettering pictured on the cover of <em>At Fillmore East</em>.</p> <p>The guitar will be on display at the Big House at least through this year, and probably longer. “The guitar is where it belongs right now,” LaMar says. “People need to appreciate it and see it.”</p> <p>Remarkably, LaMar’s generosity with the instrument includes a firm belief that it should be played as well as viewed. “It’s a real living legend and it shouldn’t exist only behind glass,” he says. “It’s a shame to me how many of our greatest guitars have become dead artifacts.”</p> <p>Putting his money where his mouth is, LaMar recently lent the goldtop to guitarist Joe Davis, who used it to record <em>Guitar Magic</em>, which also features bassist Garry Harper playing Allen Woody’s Gibson Thunderbird bass, on loan from Woody’s father. Davis and Harper released the album under the name the Skydog Woody Project, an amalgam of Woody’s name and Duane’s nickname, Skydog. “There was magic in these instruments,” Davis says, “and it impacted everything we did.”</p> <p>The project got rolling after Davis heard about the goldtop and got in touch with LaMar, who invited him to come visit. The two men spent a few days hanging out, but while LaMar showed Davis many to-die-for vintage axes, the goldtop was not among them. “I think he was testing me out,” Davis says. “He took me swimming in alligator-infested water and watched how I acted and how I treated the guitars. During those days, I got discouraged that I might never even see the goldtop because it wasn’t discussed. But we made a great friendship, which started with our mutual love of Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman.”</p> <p>At long last, LaMar produced Duane’s 1957 goldtop and shocked Davis by asking if he wanted to play it. “I knew right away that this is the perfect guitar,” Davis says. “I went home satisfied that I got to see the <em>Layla</em> guitar and thrilled that I got to play it.”</p> <p>Davis could barely dream that within months he would be in the studio recording an album with that piece of rock and roll history. “It’s the first time I‘ve recorded an album and not thought about how it will sell at all,” says Davis, who has released four other CDs. “I’m just thinking about how it happened and feeling very pleased that I had this opportunity.”</p> <p>LaMar says he was just happy to see and hear the guitar being put to good use. Derek Trucks has also performed with the instrument, and LaMar hopes Warren Haynes will lay his hands on it soon as well. “I want people to see it and hear it,” LaMar says. “It’s not my guitar; it’s Duane Allman’s. I’m just babysitting.”</p> <p><em>Photo: E.J. Devokaitis</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="/duane-allman">Duane Allman</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/allman-brothers-band">Allman Brothers Band</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Allman Brothers Band Articles Duane Allman GW Archive January 2011 News Features Tue, 19 Nov 2013 22:18:17 +0000 Alan Paul Producer Norm Smith Discusses Pink Floyd's First Rock Milestone, 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' <!--paging_filter--><p><em>From the GW archive: This feature originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of </em>Guitar World.</p> <p>How can I get a light show onto an album? Norman Smith asked himself as he stood on the floor at London’s UFO club in 1967, watching a set by a then-brand-new band called Pink Floyd. </p> <p>As a staff engineer at Abbey Road studios, Smith had recorded all of the Beatles’ early discs. Recently, though, he’d received an opportunity to move up the ladder and become a record producer. All he needed was an act to produce, and he decided to take a chance on Pink Floyd. </p> <p><strong><a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GWHOL13">[[ Holiday 2013 Guitar World: Pink Floyd Co-Founder Roger Waters Discusses The Wall Live and More ]]</a></strong></p> <p>At the time, the band was the toast of the London underground, famous for its freeform, freak-out style of instrumental improvisation and throbbing, hallucinogenic light shows. It was all a little overwhelming for Smith, who was one of the more senior staff members at Abbey Road. But he knew he was on to something. </p> <p>“I’m an old jazz man myself,” he says, laughing. “I didn’t know anything about psychedelia. But I could see that Pink Floyd were extremely popular, so I thought, Well, it looks as though we can sell some records here.”</p> <p>Boy, was he right. In the 40 years since Smith made his decision amid UFO’s strobe-light ruckus, Pink Floyd have become one of the best-selling artists in rock’s history. Catalog classics like <em>The Dark Side of the Moon</em> and <em>The Wall</em> continue to sell in massive numbers. </p> <p>The Floyd phenomenon defies rational explanation. And it all may never have happened if Norman Smith hadn’t decided to throw his lot in with four psychedelicized lads from the picturesque university town of Cambridge, England, and record Pink Floyd’s debut album, <em>Piper at the Gates of Dawn.</em></p> <p>To celebrate the 40th birthday of this landmark rock record, EMI is releasing a triple-disc anniversary edition of <em>Piper</em> that features the mono and stereo mixes of the original album and a disc of bonus tracks, all of it newly remastered. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Piper at the Gates of Dawn</em> is a masterpiece of British psychedelia, Swinging London’s answer to San Francisco’s Summer of Love. The disc is divided between mind-bending instrumental improvisations such “Interstellar Overdrive” and “Pow R. Toc H.” and the fanciful, delicately unhinged songcraft of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd’s original guitarist and frontman. </p> <p>Barrett’s fairy tale imagination and warped, free-associative sense of song structure were a huge influence on later rock icons like Marc Bolan (T.Rex), David Bowie and Robyn Hitchcock. </p> <p>Shortly after <em>Piper</em> was completed, Syd lapsed into LSD-triggered mental illness, ceding Pink Floyd’s guitar chair to David Gilmour. Which makes <em>Piper at the Gates of Dawn</em> all the more precious: it is Syd’s sole album with Pink Floyd, a rare peek into the fragile yet beautiful psyche of one of rock’s seminal tunesmiths. </p> <p>Curiosity about Pink Floyd’s enigmatic founder has increased in the wake of Barrett’s demise in 2006 at age 60. In response, MVD Visual is reissuing the excellent documentary <em>Pink Floyd and the Syd Barrett Story</em>. And while Barrett left Pink Floyd in 1968, his specter has continued to haunt the mega-Platinum stadium rockers. Syd is the subject matter of both <em>Dark Side of the Moon</em> and <em>Wish You Were Here</em>. </p> <p>There are also glimpses of Syd in the main character of <em>The Wall</em>, the disturbed rock star Pink. And when Pink Floyd reunited in 2005 to play the Live 8 benefit concert in London’s Hyde Park, bassist Roger Waters introduced “Wish You Were Here” by saying, “We play this song for everyone who cannot be here today, but of course in the first place for Syd.” </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>As for Norman Smith, he has recently published his own autobiography, <em>John Lennon Called Me Normal</em>, a career retrospective that details his studio exploits with both the Beatles and Pink Floyd, not to mention the author’s early Seventies run as pop recording artist Norman “Hurricane” Smith. </p> <p>And yes, John Lennon really did call Smith “Normal,” not without reason. The straitlaced EMI career man made an unlikely partner for Pink Floyd, who were at the time London’s trippiest freak-out merchants. The producer had a particularly hard time with Syd Barrett, who was already starting to spin out of control as sessions for <em>Piper at the Gates at Dawn</em> got underway. </p> <p>“I realized as time went on that Syd really and truly, in my opinion, didn’t get any pleasure out of recording,” Smith observes. “Syd’s thing was he would write these songs; he would go to an underground club, or something of that nature, and perform these songs. And that was really it for him.”</p> <p>Still, one must acknowledge Smith’s perspicacity in signing Pink Floyd to EMI and also the sheer nerve he demonstrated in resigning his enviable gig as the Beatles’ engineer. Abbey Road’s rigid hierarchy at the time dictated that, in accepting the role of Pink Floyd’s producer, Smith could no longer engineer recording sessions. And so he said goodbye to the hottest rock and roll band of the Sixties, if not of all time. </p> <hr /> “I wasn’t upset to leave the Beatles and become a producer,” Smith maintains. “I could see that things weren’t going so well at that time with them. We’d had such a happy time before, but at that point it wasn’t so happy anymore.” <p>As the principle engineer of the Beatles’ prolific output from their first hit single, 1962’s “Love Me Do,” to their classic 1965 album, <em>Rubber Soul</em>, Smith had worked under George Martin. </p> <p>As a result, he’d learned quite a few sonic tricks and production strategies in the course of his experience with the Beatles and their legendary producer. All this stood him in good stead as work got under way on the first session for <em>Piper at the Gates of Dawn</em> on February 21, 1967, in Abbey Road’s Studio Three. </p> <p>The site of sessions for <em>Revolver</em>, among other Beatles recordings, Studio Three had a small, cramped tracking room but a comfortable control room with windows that brought natural light into the workspace. It was here that Pink Floyd gathered for a pre-session huddle with their new producer. </p> <p><strong><a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GWHOL13">[[ Holiday 2013 Guitar World: Pink Floyd Co-Founder Roger Waters Discusses The Wall Live and More ]]</a></strong></p> <p>“My first job, obviously, was to form a friendship with them and, above all, to form a trust, being their producer,” Smith says. “So we’re sitting there chatting in the control room, getting to know one another. The control room door opens and in walks Paul McCartney. He wanted to meet the boys. He’d heard of them. And after a little chat with them, he comes across to me, puts his hand on my shoulder and he says to the Pink Floyd boys, ‘You won’t go wrong with this bloke as your producer.’ ” </p> <p>McCartney was down the hall working with the Beatles on <em>Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band</em> at the time. Both <em>Pepper</em> and <em>Piper</em> were recorded on four-track open-reel analog tape, the state-of-the-art format in 1967. </p> <p>By today’s standards, this may seem primitive, but Abbey Road’s engineering staff had developed an arsenal of techniques for obtaining a dazzling variety of sounds from this circumscribed recording medium. <em>Piper at the Gates of Dawn</em> stands at the beginning of a long tradition of compelling sound effects on Pink Floyd albums. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Perhaps the best known examples of this are the ticking clocks, heartbeats and running footsteps that help dramatize <em>Dark Side of the Moon</em>. But the evocative soundscapes go all the way back to <em>Piper’s</em> opening track, “Astronomy Domine,” which begins with telegraph-like “satellite” effects and the voice of Floyd manager Peter Jennings reciting the names of stars and galaxies through a megaphone. </p> <p>Automatic Double Tracking (ADT) is a tape-based doubling technique that had been used to process everything from vocals to guitars and sitars on Beatles recordings. On <em>Piper</em>, it was used quite extensively on Syd Barrett’s lead vocals. The album production entailed a great deal of tape editing as well, splicing together different takes of a song. This was especially efficacious given the mercurial Barrett’s tendency never to perform a song the same way twice. </p> <p>The psychedelicized chaos of the instrumental classic “Interstellar Overdrive,” destined to become a long-time Floyd concert staple, was achieved by recording the band playing the composition all the way through once, freeform improv and all, and then having them dub a second pass over the original take. Barrett’s Telecaster is particularly biting and angular. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>On “Interstellar Overdrive” and other <em>Piper</em> tracks, backward tape loops create a particularly tripped-out effect. The eerie, time-warped sound of analog tape traveling in reverse motion across the playback head of a tape machine was first heard on the Beatles’ 1966 hit “Rain.” </p> <p>It was John Lennon who first stumbled on this arresting tonality by accident, having mounted the reels of his home tape machine the wrong way around. But it soon became a staple of Abbey Road’s late-Sixties bag of tricks. </p> <p>“I’m rather hoping that my contribution to that was the reason it then started to be used,” Smith says. “I think my main contribution to <em>Piper at the Gates of Dawn</em>, apart from advancing the melodic side of the music, was sounds. In those days, 40 years ago, the technology in the control room was nothing like it is now for developing sounds. But I had a few tricks up my sleeve. </p> <p>All of the Pink Floyd members except Syd got very interested in what you could do to develop sounds. And they took on board any little musical changes I would make. They were only little things, trying to get the best of the melodies. Although, once again, Syd was pretty difficult.</p> <p>At this point Barrett was not only Pink Floyd’s frontman and principal songwriter, he was also London’s hippest new heartthrob and psychedelic pied piper. Whether he was disdainful of Smith’s musical suggestions or utterly oblivious to them is hard to say. Perhaps it was a combination of both. </p> <p>“The band would be in the studio recording a particular number,” Smith recalls. “I would bring them back into the control room to listen to the playback. And I would suggest perhaps a little phrasing alteration in what Syd was singing. Syd was nodding. He didn’t say anything, but he was nodding, like a “yes” nod. He seemed to be paying attention, so I said, ‘Okay, go back in the studio and we’ll do another take.’ So they go back in the studio and Syd did exactly the same thing he’d done on the previous take. I said to myself, ‘I think I’m wasting my time here.’ ” </p> <p>In despair, Smith found himself relying on Roger Waters. In years to come, Waters would become Pink Floyd’s principal lyricist and conceptualist. But in 1967, he was just the bass player. His sole songwriting contribution to <em>Piper</em>, “Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk,” is one of the album’s least memorable tracks. There’s not much of a chord progression or melody. </p> <p>Waters seems to be attempting to imitate Barrett’s alliterative style of lyric writing, only giving it a dour spin that is far less appealing than Barrett’s sunny, childlike outlook. But even at this early stage of the band’s career, Smith glimpsed in Waters the leadership qualities that the bassist would later come to assert. </p> <hr /> “In the Syd Barrett era, I regarded Roger the way a soccer manager regards his captain on the pitch,” Smith says. “I was the soccer manager in the control room; I told the band exactly what I wanted. I didn’t think Syd was listening too much, and I relied on Roger to make sure they knew in the studio, when they started playing, what my changes were.” <p>Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright made some inspired contributions to <em>Piper at the Gates of Dawn</em>: delicately filigreed contrapuntal combo organ passages on “Chapter 24” and “Scarecrow,” and even some cool jazz piano on “Pow R. Toc H.” But Smith seems to have been little impressed with Pink Floyd’s keyboard man. </p> <p>“Rick Wright was a pretty adequate pianist,” the producer allows. “Didn’t talk much. Didn’t come up with ideas. Most of the ideas came from myself and Roger Waters. Nick Mason was just the drummer, but he would pitch in supporting or not supporting any change of arrangements. Rick Wright was certainly interested in what sounds we developed, but I can’t remember him actually ever saying to me, ‘Well what about such and such a sound?’ Whereas Roger Waters did.”</p> <p>It’s hard to conceive what Smith thought of Syd Barrett compositions like “Lucifer Sam,” “Matilda Mother” or “The Gnome,” abstract tales filled with elfin folk, witches and other fanciful characters. While highly melodic and beguilingly inventive, these are not conventional pop songs, and Smith was looking for a hit. In fact, he needed a hit. </p> <p>"Not only was this his first outing as a producer but he’d also gone out on a limb by persuading EMI to front Pink Floyd an unprecedented £5,000 [about $13,800 in 1967, or approximately $83,000 in 2007] upon the signing of their contract. “It was a semi-threatening acceptance from the [EMI] management,” Smith recalls. “They said, ‘Okay, we will pay this £5,000, but be it on your head as a producer. ‘I thought, Oh dear, what have I done?”</p> <p>About halfway through the <em>Piper</em> sessions, Smith found the single he was seeking in “See Emily Play,” a Barrett composition purportedly inspired by the aristocratic 15-year-old Emily Tacita Young, known around Swinging London as the “psychedelic school girl.” “When I heard ‘See Emily Play,’ ” Smith recalls, “I thought, Ah, this is the one I think can do something with for a single. So I dressed it up and put one or two [effects] on. They didn’t mind whatever I was doing to it. I don’t think Syd was too keen, but by that time I’d gotten used to that, so I pressed on.”</p> <p>For reasons widely speculated upon by rock historians, “Emily” was recorded at not Abbey Road but London’s Sound Techniques studio. “I couldn’t get into studio Number Three at Abbey Road, which I wanted for that session,” Smith says. “Actually, I couldn’t get into Number Two either. </p> <p>"And Number One was a very large, orchestral, classical studio [and therefore inappropriate for a pop session]. I had some ideas about ‘See Emily Play’ and I wanted to do it while it was hot in my brain. I had been to Sound Techniques—I knew the engineer there—so I booked that. It was a very comfortable session, very good indeed. I was very pleased with what we finished up with at Sound Techniques.”</p> <p><strong><a href=";utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=GWHOL13">[[ Holiday 2013 Guitar World: Pink Floyd Co-Founder Roger Waters Discusses The Wall Live and More ]]</a></strong></p> <p>Smith denies the often-heard theory that he recorded “Emily” at Sound Techniques in an effort to reduplicate the sound of Pink Floyd’s pre-EMI single, “Arnold Layne,” which had been produced by Joe Boyd [Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson, Nick Drake, R.E.M.] “I saw a couple of weaknesses in that, to be honest with you,” Smith maintains. “And I recorded ‘Arnold Layne’ with them again, and I released it on an EP. My version is on that. They had two releases of that.” </p> <p>Whatever factors were at play behind the recording of “See Emily Play,” it is an absolute gem of pop psychedelia. Concise, yet trippy and infectiously melodic, it ranks among the greatest rock singles of all time. “Thank goodness my judgment was right,” Smith says. “ ‘See Emily Play’ got to Number Two in the charts here in England and did well, generally speaking, in Europe.”</p> <p>Meanwhile, back at Abbey Road, work on <em>Piper at the Gates of Dawn</em> wound to a conclusion. It is known that Pink Floyd themselves participated in the mono mix of the album. There are tales of Barrett and his bandmates wildly flicking faders. </p> <p>But Smith throws cold water on that colorful image: “I wouldn’t go as far as to say they were moving faders, no. But of course they contributed, naturally. As I said earlier, I had to form a friendship with the boys and form a trust. They trusted me and I trusted them. So of course that kind of thing went on: a contribution from one or the other of them in the control room when we were remixing.” </p> <p>But Smith’s problems with Barrett didn’t end with the completion of <em>Piper at the Gates of Dawn</em>. The guitarist’s erratic and listless behavior during two Pink Floyd appearances on BBC television’s Top of the Pops program nearly made Smith apoplectic, as he feared that Syd’s despondent refusal to participate in the pop process would compromise the chart success of “See Emily Play.” </p> <p>Barrett also took part in early sessions for Pink Floyd’s second album, <em>A Saucerful of Secrets</em>, with Smith again at the production helm. But by that point, Syd Barrett—the man who had given Pink Floyd their name and led them to their earliest musical triumphs—had spun too far out of control and was compelled to leave the group.</p> <p>“And that’s of course when David Gilmour came in,” Smith says. “And then things, for me, really looked up, because David Gilmour was a completely different guy. He listened to everything I’d say. He loved learning from me about recording and sound techniques. </p> <p>"Musicwise, he was interested in my past as a jazz man. Well, they all were. So I encouraged them and said, ‘Let’s have a couple of jam sessions then.’ And we did. I went over to the piano and started something up. We had several sessions like that with David Gilmour and they loved it. Also when David came, he was more receptive to the melodic ideas that I had, which they all accepted very much.” </p> <p>Smith nonetheless drifted away from Pink Floyd during the making of <em>A Saucerful of Secrets</em> and later emerged, as mentioned earlier, as a pop artist in his own right. But with Gilmour on board and Waters coming more and more into his own power, Smith felt he’d left Pink Floyd in good hands. </p> <p>“All through <em>Piper at the Gates of Dawn</em> and <em>Saucerful of Secrets</em>, I encouraged them to produce themselves,” Smith recollects. “I said to them, ‘I think you are a group which can and will produce yourselves. You don’t need any further tuition in production. I think you can make it.’ Which of course they did.” </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="/pink-floyd">Pink Floyd</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Articles December 2007 GW Archive Norm Smith Pink Floyd Syd Barrett Interviews News Features Magazine Tue, 19 Nov 2013 11:46:36 +0000 Alan Di Perna