Guitar World Lists en Top 10 Classic Shred Albums <!--paging_filter--><p>Wow … had to dust off the ol’ cassette deck for this one! Sure, faster shredders may have been left off this list, but arpeggio for arpeggio, these 10 albums strike the finest balance between tasteful melody and, “No way did he just play that!”</p> <p><em>Note: For those of you born after 1985, a cassette is a small, flat plastic cartridge that contains a spool of 1/8-inch audiotape. Cassette players, although now nearly obsolete, are most commonly found in cheap rental cars. </em></p> <p><strong>10. <em>Greg Howe</em> (Shrapnel, 1988)</strong> <strong>Greg Howe</strong> A funk-savvy speedster, Greg Howe injected the shred scene with some much-needed shake and soul. The funkdafied “Kick It All Over” kicks off the festivities, and the following track, “The Pepper Shake,” offers a spicy display of Howe’s legato and alternate-picking chops.</p> <p><strong>09. <em>Speed Metal Symphony</em> (Shrapnel, 1987)</strong> <strong>Cacophony</strong> <em>Speed Metal Symphony</em>, a mighty opus featuring first-chair guitar virtuosos Marty Friedman and Jason Becker, uses “speed metal” rhythm beds and shifting time signatures to help break up the cacophonous onslaught of all-out shred.</p> <p><strong>To see the rest of the list, check out the photo gallery below!</strong></p> Guitar World Lists News Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:13:13 +0000 Guitar World Staff The Top 10 Heavy Metal Album Openers <!--paging_filter--><p>No one ever went to a Led Zeppelin concert expecting the band to open with “The Rain Song.” </p> <p>It's a fine tune, to be sure, but the electric charge of a crowd in waiting must be met in kind. </p> <p>The same applies to the album: Kiss didn’t open <em>Destroyer</em> with “Beth,” for example. And Metallica had the prudence to place “Fade to Black” a good four songs into <em>Ride the Lightning</em>. </p> <p>When you get down to it, just about any band from any genre wants to kick things off hard and fast, and none more so than axe-wielding heavy metal masters. </p> <p>With that, we present the 10 greatest starting guns from metal’s most iconic albums.</p> <p><strong>Metallica—“Enter Sandman”</strong><br /> <strong>The Black Album</strong></p> <p>How does the world’s greatest thrash band open its masterpiece album? Not with sledgehammer riffs or machine gun drum patterns, but rather a droning E-minor tritone pattern that ushers in bass, drums and a drudging minor-2nd power chord riff. </p> <p>The song’s signature E to F interval has become so synonymous with “Enter Sandman” that, in the Nineties, a rumor began that Metallica trademarked the progression and would sue any band that used it. This proved a hoax, but showed how indelible a mark the Black Album’s opener left on heavy metal.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Pantera—“Cowboys From Hell”</strong><br /> <strong><em>Cowboys From Hell</em></strong></p> <p>Abandoning their previous glam metal sound, <em>CFH</em> showcased Pantera’s new groove metal style, no better exemplified than in the title track. </p> <p>Dimebag begins by pedaling a flanger-soaked open E string, then subtly introduces his immortal riff before launching into full-on open-string chainsaw fury.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Judas Priest—“Painkiller”</strong><br /> <strong><em>Painkiller</em></strong></p> <p>Priest drummer Scott Travis demonstrates that screaming guitars aren’t the only way to open an album with this explosive double-bass onslaught, which ushers in one of the veteran metal band’s most crushing tracks. </p> <p>Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing lay down blazing riffs and solos, Ian Hill’s bass is rock steady with Travis, and Rob Halford’s ear-splitting vocals sound like his nuts are on the business end of a steel-toe boot; it’s a metal behemoth and a return to form after the more pop-oriented <em>Turbo</em> and <em>Ram It Down</em> albums.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Slayer—“Angel of Death”</strong><br /> <strong><em>Reign in Blood</em></strong></p> <p>Any metal band can start an album with walls of guitar and rapid-fire drum blasts, but Slayer kicks off their seminal 1986 effort with one of the most controversial tracks in the genre’s history. </p> <p>Guitarist Jeff Hanneman wrote “Angel of Death” about infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. Though Hanneman and the rest of the band insisted the song is a documentary, and in no way an endorsement of Nazism, Neo-Nazi labeling ensued upon the album’s release in 1986. </p> <p>Lyrical interpretation notwithstanding, the song is still considered a “classic” thrash metal track.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Black Sabbath—“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”</strong><br /> <strong><em>Sabbath Bloody Sabbath</em></strong></p> <p>“The riff that saved Black Sabbath” may have never come to fruition had it not been for the supposedly haunted recording location at Clearwell Castle in England. </p> <p>In 1973, guitarist Tony Iommi was suffering writer’s block trying to come up with ideas following the success of <em>Volume 4.</em> With no luck in L.A., the band reconvened at Clearwell, writing and recording in the dungeons of the 18th-century castle. While the song rarely appears in the band’s live set, it launched one of Sabbath’s most critically lauded albums and has been covered by everyone from Anthrax to Amon Amarth to, um, the Cardigans.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Iron Maiden—“Aces High”</strong><br /> <strong><em>Powerslave</em></strong></p> <p>The 24-second eighth-note intro is the subtle pattern that lulls the listener into complacency; it’s just another somber churner, a la “Hallowed Be Thy Named.” </p> <p>Then the blazing 16th note harmonies drop and <em>Powerslave</em> takes off. “Aces High” is a heavy fan favorite among metal acts like Children of Bodom and Arch Enemy, both of whom have covered the song, and recalls a feisty Iron Maiden poised to take over the metal world.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Children of Bodom—“Living Dead Beat”</strong><br /> <strong><em>Are You Dead Yet?</em></strong></p> <p>Keys are an unlikely way to open a metal album, but with melodic death metal quintet Children of Bodom, an ominous synth intro here or there is expected. </p> <p>“Living Dead Beat” opens with a John Carpenter-style synth lead, but is quickly appended with gattling gun guitars, a la Laiho and guitarist Roope Latvala. The guitars dominate the album, but throughout, the baleful melodies of Janne Wirman’s keyboards can be heard creeping in the mix.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Testament—“D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)”</strong><br /> <strong><em>The Gathering</em></strong></p> <p>It would be nine years before Testament would release another studio album, but fans had much to be content with from 1999’s <em>The Gathering</em>. Loaded with some of Testament’s fastest, most aggressive material, the band itself is shy of a few classic lineup members, namely guitarist Alex Skolnick and drummer Louie Clemente. </p> <p>Former Death guitarist James Murphy and Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo filled in, their up-tempo playing styles appearing throughout the album. “D.N.R.,” at just over 3:30 minutes, is a blistering insight into the album’s pure ferocity.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Megadeth—“Last Rites/Loved to Deth”</strong><br /> <em>Killing is My Business… and Business is Good</em></p> <p>Far from the polished and intricate sonic architecture that would become Megadeth’s trademark, the debut release from Mustaine and crew makes up for its minimalism with raw, unbridled energy. </p> <p>“Last Rites/Loved to Deth” begins with an excerpt from Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor before Mustaine and guitarist Chris Poland’s guitars take center stage. The dark, baroque intro may have aligned itself better with later, more sophisticated Megadeth work, but there’s no denying “Last Rites/Loved to Deth” ushered in new champions of thrash metal.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Motörhead—“Ace of Spades”<br /> <strong><em>Ace of Spades</em></strong></strong></p> <p>Bridging the gap between punk and metal, Motörhead’s seminal 1980 release had a substantial impact on many up-and-coming thrash bands. </p> <p>The ferocious pick attack of guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke no doubt provoked many budding bands’ inclinations towards blazing tremolo riffs, not least of all metal kings Metallica, who released four Motörhead covers as b-sides with their single “Hero of the Day” in 1996.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" 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="/slayer">Slayer</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/megadeth">Megadeth</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/testament">Testament</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/black-sabbath">Black Sabbath</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Black Sabbath Megadeth Metallica Motorhead Slayer Guitar World Lists News Features Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:25:18 +0000 Tony Grassi Top 10 Weirdest Custom Guitars — Photo Gallery <!--paging_filter--><p>Most guitarists at one point or another in their development have gone through some sort of “I want a custom guitar” phase. </p> <p>Whether it’s a funky paint job or a radical new shape, a custom ax presents the opportunity to express yourself. Or, in the opinion of some, the opportunity to say, “Hey, look at me, I’m a horse’s arse!” </p> <p>Here, we celebrate 10 such opportunities. We’ll let you categorize them as you see fit.</p> Guitar World Lists Galleries News Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:08:59 +0000 Guitar World Staff The Top 30 12-String Guitar Songs of All Time <!--paging_filter--><p>When considering the choices for this list, we realized it wasn't as easy a task as we first thought. </p> <p>What makes for a great 12-string guitar song as opposed to a great song that just happens to have a 12-string somewhere on it? </p> <p>Let's face it, if "Stairway to Heaven" had a ukulele on it, it would immediately be in the running for Greatest Ukulele Song of All Time.</p> <p>That being said, we looked at not only the legacy of the song but how prevalent 12-string guitar is in the song and how influential the song would be in inspiring others to pick up their 12-strings. Without the movie <em>A Hard Day's Night</em>, the Byrds might not have existed as you now know them, and without "Stairway to Heaven," the doubleneck guitar might be sitting in a museum as a one-time oddity produced by Gibson.</p> <p>So what song will we crown as the Greatest 12-String Guitar Song of All Time? Read on ...</p> <p><strong>30. Pantera, "Suicide Note, Part 1" <em>The Great Southern Trendkill</em> (1996)</strong></p> <p>This song marked one of the most experimental moments in Pantera's catalog, with Dimebag Darrell's dark 12-string guitar part perfectly echoing the song's somber subject matter.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>29. John Butler Trio, "Ocean" <em>John Butler</em> (1998)</strong></p> <p>The newest song to make the cut, John Butler's instrumental masterpiece "Ocean" stands as a fine example of the timeless sound of the 12-string. Keep an ear out for Butler's use of two-hand tapping ala Satriani in "Midnight."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>28. America, "A Horse With No Name" <em>America</em> (1971)</strong></p> <p>Although the 12-string acoustic guitar plays only a supporting role in this ubiquitous folk-rock tune about a nameless equine, it actually plays a major part in its overall sound. When "A Horse With No Name" was released, a lot of people thought it was a Neil Young song, which is ironic because it replaced Young's “Heart of Gold” at the No. 1 spot on the U.S. pop chart.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>27. Bob Dylan, "Hurricane" <em>Desire</em> (1976)</strong></p> <p>Most assume it was Dylan himself who played the 12-string here, but it was actually session guitarist Vinnie Bell manning the Danelectro Bellzouki 12-string guitar on this classic cut.</p> <p><strong>SORRY, THERE'S NO VIDEO FOR THIS ONE.</strong><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>26. Gordon Lightfoot, "Early Morning Rain," <em>Gord's Gold</em> (1975)</strong></p> <p>Gordon Lightfoot re-recorded this old Gordon Lightfoot tune for his 1975 compilation album, <em>Gord's Gold,</em> and it's this lush, radio-friendly version that became the hit. While 12-string electric guitars were all the rage in the Sixties, 12-string acoustics had taken their place in the Seventies; this song is a prime example of that shift. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>25. Alice In Chains, "I Stay Away" <em>Jar of Flies</em> (1994)</strong></p> <p>If ever there was a rock band who had an equally strong handle on menacing drop-D riffs and menacing, introspective acoustic music, it was most certainly Alice In Chains. "I Stay Away" from <em>Jar of Flies</em> is not only the band's best 12-string moment, but it marks the first track Jerry Cantrell wrote with then-new Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>24. The Hollies, "Look Through Any Window" <em>Hollies</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>As you'll see, 1965 was a huge year for the electric 12-string guitar. It was big like synthesizers and skinny black ties were big in 1982. You had your Byrds, of course, your Beatles—and your Hollies, who rode the 12-string bandwagon to great heights with this song written by Graham Gouldman and Charles Silverman. That's Tony Hicks on the 12-string, by the way.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>23. Queen, "39," <em>A Night at the Opera</em> (1975)</strong></p> <p>Brian May's massive-sounding 12-string acoustic is an integral part of this sci-fi masterpiece, the B-side of "You're My Best Friend." It's about a group of astronauts who set out on what they think is a one-year journey, but when they get back, they realize they've been gone for 100 years. They simply don't write Einstein allusions like this anymore.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>22. Mahavishnu Orchestra, "You Know You Know" <em>The Inner Mounting Flame</em> (1971)</strong></p> <p>It's undeniable that Mahavishnu Orchestra had many fine 12-string moments in their career, but "You Know You Know" off their first album, <em>The Inner Mounting Flame</em>, stands out as guitarist John McLaughlin's shining moment with the instrument. Fun fact: This song was later sampled by both Mos Def and Massive Attack.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>21. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Breaking the Girl" <em>Blood Sugar Sex Magik</em> (1991)</strong></p> <p>One of only two Chili Peppers songs in 3/4 time, John Frusciante's main 12-string riff in this song was inspired by none other than Jimmy Page.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong><a href=",1">CLICK HERE TO SEE SONGS 20 THROUGH 11.</a></strong><br /> <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>20. Jimi Hendrix, "Hear My Train A-Comin'" <em>Blues</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>Jimi Hendrix sitting alone playing blues on a 12-string acoustic guitar is a reminder that, despite all of his distortion and psychedelia, he always felt a strong connection to his roots, including Delta blues. Although he performed and recorded electric, full-band versions of this song (as heard on the <em>Valleys of Neptune</em> album), this version is more stark and disarming. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>19. Supertramp, "Give A Little Bit" <em>Even in the Quietest Moments....</em> (1977)</strong></p> <p>This international hit for Supertramp is a pop masterpiece in the key of D, which, as the Byrds proved a decade-plus earlier, is the 12-stringiest of all the keys. It was written by Roger Hodgson, and a solo Hodgson performance is featured in the video below.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>18. David Bowie, "Space Oddity" <em>David Bowie/Space Oddity</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>Long before working with the likes of Adrian Belew, Carlos Alomar, Robert Fripp and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bowie himself manned the 12-string for his 1969 ballad of Major Tom. The song was so well-received, the album it appeared on, <em>David Bowie</em>, was renamed after the song before its 1972 reissue.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>17. The Who, "Substitute" (1966)</strong></p> <p>When Pete Townshend wanted a riff to one-up the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," he reached for his 12-string. "Substitute" was a top 10 hit twice in the U.K., once in 1966 when it was originally released an again 10 years later when it was re-issued. The track found unlikely supporters in the punk rock movement, being covered by both the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. (Note: In the video below, just ignore the Tele, which is essentially just a poorly chosen prop for the video.) </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>16. The Beatles, "A Hard Day's Night" <em>A Hard Day's Night</em> (1964)</strong></p> <p>Although the Byrds were the band that was most associated with the 12-string Rickenbacker in the '60s, their inspiration came from the Beatles. "We went as a group to see <em>A Hard Day’s Night</em> multiple times and were totally taken with the Beatles," said Roger (formerly Jim) McGuinn. </p> <p>"I liked George Harrison’s Rickenbacker 12, but I couldn’t find one that looked like his with the pointy cutaways, so I bought the blonde 360 model." For a clear, crisp example of the beauty of the guitar's sound, check out the 12-string riff as the song fades.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>15. Rod Stewart, "Maggie May" <em>Every Picture Tells A Story"</em> (1971)</strong></p> <p>"Maggie May," Rod's Stewart's first hit as a solo performer, starred a striking combination of 12-string acoustic guitar and mandolin. In 2004, <em>Rolling Stone</em> ranked the song at No. 130 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. We like it too.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>14. Bon Jovi, "Wanted Dead or Alive" <em>Slippery When Wet</em> (1986)</strong></p> <p>Half-inspired by Old West Outlaws and half by Bob Seger's "Turn the Page," Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora managed to craft arguably the most recognizable acoustic guitar riff of a ballad-heavy era in rock music. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>13. The Rolling Stones, "As Tears Go By" <em>December's Children (And Everybody's)</em> (1965)</strong> </p> <p>This was one of the first Jagger/Richards compositions—although producer Andrew Loog Oldham is also credited as a writer. Legend has it that ol' Loog Locked Mick and Keith in a room and told them to come out with an original song, period. This is what they came up with, and they gave it to Marianne Faithfull in 1964 before taking a stab at it a year later.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>12. The Byrds, "Mr. Tambourine Man" <em>Mr. Tambourine Man</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>Even though George Harrison had been recording with his 12-string Rickenbacker for a while, with this song, Jim (later Roger) McGuinn showed the world exactly how cool a 12-string guitar could be. Its jangly sound was the perfect partner to Bob Dylan's ethereal lyrics. The 12-string Rick would be an integral part of the Byrds' sound until they disbanded in 1973.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>11. Led Zeppelin, "Stairway to Heaven" <em>Led Zeppelin IV</em> (1971)</strong></p> <p>With this song, Jimmy Page did for the doubleneck guitar what Roger McGuinn of the Byrds did for the 12-string electric. Or perhaps more fitting, Page did for the doubleneck what Henry Ford did for the horseless carriage.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><a href=",2">See songs 10 through 1.</a><br /> <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>10. Rush, "Closer to the Heart" <em>A Farewell to Kings</em> (1977)</strong></p> <p>Taken from Rush's 1977 album <em>A Farewell to Kings</em>, "Closer to the Heart" begins with a majestic-sounding arpeggio picking pattern played by guitarist Alex Lifeson on a 12-string guitar. This song was also Rush's first hit in the U.K. and has been a staple of their live show ever since.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>09. Ozzy Osbourne, "Mama I’m Coming Home" <em>No More Tears</em> (1991)</strong></p> <p>Zakk Wylde's obvious Southern-rock homage in the opening bar gives way to beautiful, descending riff, which anchored Ozzy Osbourne's only solo Top 40 hit. Rest assured there are plenty of Zakk's patented pinch harmonics to go around, but the sound of the 12-string intro is what makes this song instantly recognizable.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>08. Boston, "More Than a Feeling" <em>Boston</em> (1976)</strong></p> <p>A classic rock radio mainstay and one of the most recognizable 12-string guitar intros in all of rock, "More Than a Feeling" reportedly took Tom Sholz five years to write.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>07. Tom Petty, "Free Falling" <em>Full Moon Fever</em> (1989)</strong></p> <p>Back when the Traveling Wilburys ruled the airwaves, Tom Petty, a Wilbury himself, adopted the band's thick, acoustic sound for <em>Full Moon Fever,</em> his first solo outing. He also took fellow Wilbury Jeff Lynne along for the ride as co-producer. This one features 12-string acoustic on the rhythm and a touch of 12-string Rickenbacker on the mini-solo. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>06. The Byrds, "Turn! Turn! Turn!" <em>Turn! Turn! Turn!</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>Yes, it's The Byrds again. This song is higher up on the list than "Mr. Tambourine Man" because of its beautiful 12-string Rickenbacker solo and the fact that the Byrds are actually playing on it (which is not entirely true for "Mr. Tambourine Man"). </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>05. The Beatles, "Ticket To Ride" <em>Help!</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>Yet another one from '65. This tune, with its crisp 12-string Rickenbacker intro, is one of the many highlights from the Beatles' second feature film, <em>Help!</em> Just play an A on the G string, an open E string, a C sharp on the B string, that A again and then an open B string, and you're on your way. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>04. Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Rude Mood" <em>Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble (Box Set)</em> (1990)</strong></p> <p>It was a little surprising when SRV turned up on MTV's <em>Unplugged</em> in 1990 with a Guild 12-string, tearing through a slew of <em>Texas Flood</em> tunes, including "Pride and Joy," "Testify" and "Rude Mood." Then again, that's also the year he recorded "Life By the Drop" on a 12-string. Perhaps he'd stumbled upon something new that he could've put to greater use in the future. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>03. Pink Floyd, "Wish You Were Here" <em>Wish You Were Here</em> (1975)</strong></p> <p>Recorded to sound like it was being played through an old transistor radio, the 12-string intro of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" never fails to evoke a sense of nostalgia. When David Gilmour plays the overdubbed six-string solo, sounding like a lonely old man playing along with the radio, you get one of the most timeless songs in the back catalog of one of the most timeless bands of all time.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>02. Led Zeppelin, "Over the Hills and Far Away" <em>Houses of the Holy</em> (1973)</strong></p> <p>"Stairway" may be the most revered song on this list, but there's no denying "Over the Hills and Far Away" as the quintessential 12-string guitar song in Led Zeppelin's catalog.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>01. The Eagles, "Hotel California" <em>Hotel California</em> (1976)</strong></p> <p>Yes, it's "Hotel California." What a nice surprise! Admit it: Don Felder's 12-string acoustic guitar intro (and every other note and chord he plays on this song) is, at this point, a part of our collective consciousness. This song, the ubiquitous soundtrack to 37 trillion barbecues, elevator rides and long trips through the desert at 3 a.m., has never gone away—and probably never will.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> Alice in Chains Beatles Bon Jovi Led Zeppelin Rolling Stones The Beatles The Byrds The Eagles The Who Tom Petty Guitar World Lists News Features Thu, 16 Apr 2015 17:17:41 +0000 Josh Hart, Damian Fanelli The 30 Most Badass Guitarists of All Time <!--paging_filter--><p>Guitar players are the coolest creatures on this planet. </p> <p>Don’t believe us? Consider Buddy Holly. Take away his guitar and he might as well be Melvin Poindexter, full-time accountant and part-time carnival geek. Give him a Stratocaster and suddenly he’s dumping Peggy Sue Gerron and shacking up with Maria Elena Santiago, <em>una caliente Latina</em>! </p> <p>In fact, guitarists are on a whole different planet when it comes to defining cool. When you play guitar, you can get away with all kinds of acts normal people could never attempt. Face it: An ordinary dude could not walk down the street wearing a leopard-skin jacket, high-heel cowboy boots, flowing silk scarves and dozens of silver bangles without getting beaten up within minutes. </p> <p>But put a guitar case in that dude’s hands and suddenly grown men want to buy him a drink, and ladies slip him their phone numbers. Or try doing Chuck Berry’s famous duck walk without a guitar; people will think you’re mental. But do it with a guitar and they’ll pelt you with a sea of money and panties. </p> <p>Since guitar players are automatically cool, that means cool guitar players are the coolest of the cool. In this issue, we exalt this elite class of cold — the players who even we would sell our wives and first born just to have some of their mojo rub off on us. Some of them are pioneers who paved a bold, daring path to define new styles of cool, while others are simply the kind of guitarists we want to be when we never grow up (which is part of being cool). </p> <p>These people are the real reason why the guitar remains the world’s most popular instrument, so let’s all raise our headstocks and give them a 21-power-chord salute. </p> <p><strong>JAMES HETFIELD</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> August 3, 1963<br /> <strong>Band</strong> Metallica<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1984 Gibson Explorer<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Leper Messiah” — <em>Master of Puppets</em> </p> <p>Most metal guitarists would kill to have half of the power and precision of James Hetfield’s right hand, not to mention his ability to write the most devastating riffs known to mankind, from “Seek and Destroy” and “Creeping Death” to “Enter Sandman.” Of course, most musicians with skills comparable to Hetfield’s have such big egos that they become the targets of our murderous intentions. That’s not the case with Hetfield. </p> <p>Years of hard-earned success and fame have not changed his down-to-earth attitude. Even though he has become one of the world’s richest rock stars, he hasn’t married a supermodel or become a pompous art collector. Instead, he’s remained true to his working-class roots, spending his spare time building incredibly cool kustom cars and cruising the streets with his car club buddies, the Beatniks of Koolsville. </p> <p>His kustom masterpieces like “Slow Burn” (a 1936 Auburn boat-tail speedster), “Skyscraper” (a 1953 Buick Skylark) and his daily driver known as “The Grinch” (a 1952 Oldsmobile) are drivable works of art that defy the bland Toyota Priuses, Lexuses and Land Rover SUVs of his Northern California environs like a stiff middle-finger salute wearing a skull ring.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JOE STRUMMER</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> August 21, 1952 (died December 22, 2002)<br /> <strong>Band</strong> The Clash, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1968 Fender Telecaster<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> "Train in Vain" — <em>London Calling</em> </p> <p>Joe Strummer was far from the most proficient rhythm guitarist in punk rock, and his tone was often downright wimpy. </p> <p>Yet you’d never find a punk rocker who didn’t want to be just like him. Whereas most punk guitarists found inspiration from the same hard rock and proto-metal players that they pretended to despise, Strummer was influenced by reggae, rockabilly, soul, ska and even early New York rap music when most of the world still hadn’t heard of the Sugarhill Gang. </p> <p>Those influences helped him develop a truly unique rhythm guitar style that no one has been able to duplicate since. Perhaps the coolest thing about Joe Strummer is no one could ever predict what he would do next. In 1981, the Clash played 17 consecutive nights at the 3,500-capacity Bond’s International Casino nightclub in Manhattan, but when they returned to New York the next year they played two sold-out shows at Shea Stadium as an opening act for the Who. </p> <p>Julien Temple’s documentary, <em>Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten</em>, reveals what many would perceive as Strummer’s flaws: from his hippie squatter roots to the way he dissed former bandmates during the Clash’s last gasps. But ultimately, Strummer was a man who simply did wanted he wanted to do without giving a shit what anybody else thought.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>SLASH &amp; IZZY STRADLIN</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>July 23, 1965 (Slash); April 8, 1962 (Izzy)<br /> <strong>Band </strong>Guns N' Roses<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>1985 Gibson Les Paul Standard (Slash); Gibson ES-175 (Izzy)<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Welcome to the Jungle" — <em>Appetite for Destruction</em> </p> <p>Rock music has produced some memorable tandem guitar teams: Keef and Ronnie, Angus and Malcolm, Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing to name a few. </p> <p>But Slash and Izzy Stradlin, with the original lineup of Guns N’ Roses, have to go down as one of the coolest duos ever. Gutter rats Slash and Izzy had just enough yin and yang going on to provide the color and contrast that made them more than the ordinary lead and rhythm guitar team. </p> <p>Both loved similar bands, like Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, but Izzy’s tastes leaned more toward groove-oriented bands like the Rolling Stones and the Doors, with a healthy dose of punk rock thrown in, while Slash loved guitar heroes like Michael Schenker and Jeff Beck. </p> <p>The combination of Slash’s rough-edged pyrotechnic solos and Izzy’s raw power chords and off-kilter rhythms resulted in an unusual mish-mash with massive crossover appeal that metalheads, punks, glam poseurs, pop fans and classic rockers loved alike. Slash and Izzy also made vintage guitars cool again, strapping on Gibson Les Pauls, Telecasters and ES-175 hollowbodies when most guitarists were playing DayGlo superstrats, pointy metal weapons or minimalist headstock-less Stein-bortions. </p> <p>Balding guitar players also have Slash and Izzy to thank for making hats fashionable rocker attire during a time when big hair was all the rage.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JIMI HENDRIX</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>November 27, 1942 (died September 18, 1970)<br /> <strong>Band </strong>The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Band of Gypsys<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Fender Stratocaster<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Machine Gun" — <em>Band of Gypsys</em> </p> <p>Most guitarists view the guitar in terms of scales to master and tones to tame, but Jimi Hendrix viewed the instrument as an open canvas for his imagination, pulling sounds out of his Stratocaster and Marshall stacks that no one previously knew the guitar was capable of making. </p> <p>The first guitarist to chain effect pedals together, Hendrix combined their tones and textures with whammy bar squeals and growls and unorthodox playing techniques to make the guitar sound like a symphony, animals, armies or the far reaches of outer space. While most Sixties psychedelic music was banal bubblegum pop with fuzz-tone guitar hooks, Hendrix made music that actually sounded like a trip after ingesting a cocktail of LSD, mushrooms and THC. </p> <p>What makes Hendrix stand out is how he could play chilling, beautiful music without the sonic bombast as well. Naked, unadorned songs like “Little Wing” and “Red House” still burn with intensity even without sound effects and studio trickery, showing Jimi’s uncanny ability to speak through his instrument. </p> <p>His playing shocked, awed and frightened even Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, who still view Hendrix as some sort of supernatural, mythical being. Of course, they may have also been scared of how Jimi could make even a puffy shirt and a marching band jacket look fashionable.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>EDDIE VAN HALEN</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>January 26, 1955<br /> <strong>Band </strong>Van Halen<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Homemade "Frankenstein" Strat<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Panama"—<em>1984</em> </p> <p>Eddie Van Halen forever changed the way that the guitar is made and played, but that’s not why he’s cool. Sure, he’s single-handedly responsible for the whole hot-rodded guitar and amp phenomenon that brought companies like Jackson and Charvel fortune, techs like Jose Arredondo and Lee Jackson fame and inventors like Floyd Rose immortality. </p> <p>Yes, he perfected the two-handed tapping technique that made the guitar sound like a fucking synthesizer. And, okay, he crafted a legendary sound that guitarists are still trying to duplicate today. But what makes Eddie cool is his attitude—especially how he makes work seem like it takes no effort at all. </p> <p>While he could put out an album of his farts or slap his name on any shitty guitar and still make millions, he is a painstaking perfectionist who spent years agonizing over every minute detail of his EVH Wolfgang guitar and EVH 5150 III amp before offering it to the public and who has refused to release a new Van Halen album until he feels it’s ready. </p> <p>Even after splitting with Valerie Bertinelli after 26 years of marriage, surviving battles with alcohol and cancer and enduring the presence of David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar for most of the last 38 years, nothing has wiped the big, warm, friendly smile off of his face.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>LINK WRAY</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>May 2, 1929 (died November 5, 2005)<br /> <strong>Band </strong>Link Wray and the Ray Men, Robert Gordon<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Supro Dual Tone<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Run Chicken Run" — <em>Rumble: The Best of Link Wray</em> </p> <p>Back in 1958, most guitarists and guitar amp designers tried to avoid distortion. Not Link Wray. When he recorded his instrumental “Rumble,” Wray poked holes in the tweeters of his Premier Model 71 amp to make it sound even more nasty and distorted than it could on its own. </p> <p>A direct line can be drawn from “Rumble” to “My Generation,” “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The song is often credited as the origin of the power chord, but it also heralded the transformation of rock from the music of youth to the soundtrack of juvenile delinquency. Several radio stations banned “Rumble” because they thought it was too sexy, raunchy and violent. Wray even dressed like a juvenile delinquent, embellishing his greasy black pompadour with a leather jacket, jeans and shades at a time when most white rock and rollers still took fashion cues from Perry Como and Bing Crosby. </p> <p>Wray kept the hits coming through the Sixties, issuing singles like “Jack the Ripper,” “Ace of Spades,” the manic “Run Chicken Run,” the appropriately titled “The Fuzz” and the coolest version of the <em>Batman</em> theme ever. Wray rocked hard until the end, playing his last gig only four months before he passed away at the age of 76.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JOHNNY RAMONE</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>October 8, 1948 (died September 15, 2004)<br /> <strong>Band </strong>The Ramones<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Mosrite Ventures II<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Blitzkrieg Bop" — <em>Ramones</em> </p> <p>If ever there were a forensic investigation to identify the true biological father of punk rock guitar, all DNA evidence would point clearly to Johnny Ramone. The guitar style that people most associate with punk—briskly downpicked barre chords executed with blinding precision at breakneck tempos and marshaled in service of concise catchy song structures—is the invention, progeny and proud legacy of the man born John Cummings on Long Island, New York. </p> <p>Johnny was a strange case, a rock and roll outsider who was obsessed with uniformity. And that obsession helped forge the Ramones aesthetic: the identikit leather jackets and ripped jeans worn by each band member, the single surname shared by all four (in the absence of any actual familial kinship) and the terse pacing of the music itself, with not a single excessive note or lyrical utterance. </p> <p>It all added up to a cartoonish minimalism that struck a vital cultural nerve when the Ramones burst out of Manhattan’s Lower East Side CBGB scene in the mid Seventies. They were the perfect antidote to the bloated self-indulgence of Seventies arena rock and the tendency—a hangover from the hippie era—for rock and rock musicians to take themselves way too seriously. The Ramones were passionate about rock, without ever being pompous. </p> <p>Their songs cut right to the melodic and rhythmic core of great rock and roll. Johnny contributed song ideas and slashing guitar arrangements, but he also kept the whole thing on the rails. A straight guy in a world of addicts, perverts, weirdoes and psychos, Johnny’s politics were dubious. But, like Mussolini, he made the Ramones’ rock and roll train run on time for more than two decades. John Cummings passed from this life in 2004 after a five-year fight with prostate cancer. </p> <p>But in the clashing clangor of Green Day, Rancid, Blink-182 and the next bunch of punk rock misfits rehearsing in some basement or garage, Johnny Ramone lives on.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JAMES WILLIAMSON</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>October 29, 1949<br /> <strong>Band </strong>Iggy and the Stooges, Iggy Pop<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Gibson Les Paul Custom<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Search and Destroy"—<em>Raw Power</em> (Iggy and the Stooges) </p> <p>James Williamson was the man who facilitated Iggy Pop’s transition from self-lacerating Stooges frontman to solo artist, icon and all-around elder statesman of punk. In a way, Williamson was the only man for the job. He shared Iggy and the Stooges’ Detroit garage rock roots and was a friend of Stooges founding guitarist Ron Asheton during the mid Sixties. </p> <p>But he also had his act way more together than any of the Stooges during their cataclysmic heyday. By the early Seventies, the Stooges were two albums into their career and starting to come apart at the seams due to myriad drug problems and an overall lack of widespread commercial acceptance of their music. </p> <p>Williamson injected new life into the group, bringing an ideal balance of discipline and frenzy, best heard on the group’s 1973 disc <em>Raw Power</em>, the album that launched thousands of punk and post punk bands. “I’m his biggest fan,” the legendary Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr once said of Williamson. “He has the technical ability of Jimmy Page without being as studious and the swagger of Keith Richards without being sloppy. He’s both demonic and intellectual, almost how you would imagine Darth Vader to sound if he was in a band.” </p> <p>Williamson went on to produce and play on Iggy’s classic solo 1979 album <em>New Values</em>, which features gems like “I’m Bored” and “Five Foot One.” The guitarist also played a key role on the follow-up disc, <em>Soldier</em>, anchoring a punk rock all-star lineup that included ex-Pistol Glen Matlock, Ivan Kral from the Patti Smith Band and Barry Adamson from Magazine. Shortly after <em>Soldier</em>, Williamson took a hiatus from rock to study electronic engineering, becoming Vice President of Technology and Standards for Sony. </p> <p>When Ron Asheton died, Williamson took an early retirement from Sony and returned to his rightful place as the Stooges’ guitarist. Their new album, <em>Ready to Die</em>, came out this year.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>BUDDY GUY</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>July 30, 1936<br /> <strong>Band </strong>Solo, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy &amp; Junior Wells<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>1957 sunburst Fender Stratocaster, polka-dot Buddy Guy signature Fender Strats<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> "The First Time I Met the Blues" — <em>Can't Quit the Blues</em> </p> <p>Buddy Guy is our greatest living link to blues tradition—a man who sat and played with immortals like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Willie Dixon and Otis Spann, and who still climbs up onstage at events like the Crossroads Festival to jam with greats such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana, not to mention newcomers like John Mayer. </p> <p>Clapton himself has repeatedly called Guy “the greatest living guitarist.” Hendrix literally knelt at Buddy’s feet in the late Sixties, the better to study his riffs. Guy’s secret? He combines an old-time blues feel with the technical facility of a modern guitar player. He was a youngster at the legendary Chess Records in early Sixties Chicago. Fresh up from Lettsworth, Louisiana, Guy was some 20 years junior to giants like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, yet old enough and gifted enough to share the studio with them. </p> <p>And when Cream, Hendrix and Led Zeppelin brought amped-up guitar hysteria to the fore, Buddy was still in his prime, ready, able and eager to join the fray. He’s still going strong today, an inspiration—and intimidation—to all who would strap on an electric guitar and dive deep into the mighty river that is the blues.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JOHNNY THUNDERS</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>July 15, 1952 (died April 23, 1991)<br /> <strong>Band </strong>New York Dolls, the Heartbreakers, Gang War<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Gibson Les Paul Jr.<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Chinese Rocks" — <em>Blank Generation: The New York Scene (1975-78)</em> (The Heartbreakers) </p> <p>Johnny Thunders’ snot-nosed New York take on Keith Richards’ cool is one of the pillars on which punk rock was built. An Italian-American guy (birth name John Anthony Genzale Jr.) from Queens, he was born a little too late to be part of the Sixties rock explosion. But the bands of that era were his influences, and he put his own spin on them in the early Seventies as the New York Dolls came together with Thunders on lead guitar. </p> <p>Thunders had the riffs to match the glam-trash group’s mascara. He took rock guitar and cooked it down to its essence, playing open chords and switchblade riffs that laid bare the amphetamine urgency behind the Dolls’ concise, catchy tunes. The Dolls had split up by the time punk rock got underway in New York and London, but their influence was profoundly felt on both shores. </p> <p>Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols has repeatedly cited Thunders as a major influence, Dee Dee Ramone was a friend, colleague and drug brother, and Richard Hell played alongside&nbsp; him in the Heartbreakers. While Thunders shared Keith Richards’ appetite for excess, he sadly was not blessed with Keef’s monumental endurance. </p> <p>Thunders died in New Orleans in 1991 under mysterious, although most likely drug-related, circumstances.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>KEITH RICHARDS</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>December 18, 1943<br /> <strong>Band </strong>The Rolling Stones, the X-Pensive Winos<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>1953 Fender Telecaster <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” — <em>Out of Our Heads</em> </p> <p>Keith Richards has made living on the edge his life’s mission. Grinning blissfully—and blatantly stoned—from mid-Sixties picture sleeves, lean and lanky, swathed in flowing scarves and stylish shades, he defined the look, the attitude and the swagger essential to the vocation of rock guitarist. </p> <p>From day one, his playing asserted the primacy of riffs and rhythm as the structural backbone of rock music. Following his lead, an entire generation discovered the ancient mysteries of the blues and learned to cultivate a little sympathy for the devil. Effortlessness is the key to Keef’s cool. </p> <p>He’s sauntered down through the decades unfazed by stints in jail and hospital, heroin addiction, assorted femmes fatales, copious boozing, rampaging Hells Angels and assaults from fellow icons like Chuck Berry and Peter Tosh. Unconstrained by the grinding gradations of clock, calendar, public morality or legal prohibition, he has defined life on his own terms. </p> <p>The same lawless sense of effortlessness defines his playing. Guitar slung low, cigarette dangling from his lip, he’s never hyper, never tries too hard and always swings free of such limited concepts as lead versus rhythm. This is what enables him to get down to the raw truth of the groove.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>ROY ORBISON</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>April 23, 1936 (died December 6, 1988)<br /> <strong>Band </strong>Solo, the Traveling Wilburys<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Gibson ES-335<br /> <strong>Classic Riff </strong>“Oh, Pretty Woman”—<em>The Essential Roy Orbison</em> </p> <p>Most people think of Roy Orbison as the super-smooth crooner who sang songs like “Crying,” “In Dreams” and “Only the Lonely.” But Orbison was also a wicked guitar player, who ripped out several impressive solos on early Sun Records singles like “Ooby Dooby.” In fact, Sun owner Sam Phillips was more impressed with Orbison’s guitar playing than his singing during the early days of the rocker’s career. </p> <p>Although Orbison’s good friend and Sun Records labelmate Johnny Cash may be known as “the Man in Black,” Orbison habitually dressed from head to toe in black in the early Sixties, a decade before Cash adopted his dark uniform. Even Orbison’s raven hair and impenetrable jet Ray-Bans were blacker than the cover to Spinal Tap’s <em>Smell the Glove</em>, adding to his alluring persona as a mysterious, brooding artiste. </p> <p>By 1964, most of Orbison’s early rock and roll contemporaries were either dead, strung-out on drugs, in jail or making crappy movies, but Orbison’s musical career still hadn’t reached its peak. In between the ballads, he recorded singles like “Mean Woman Blues” (check his wild guitar solo) and “Oh, Pretty Woman” that showed upstarts like the Beatles, the Animals and the Rolling Stones that Americans still could rock harder than any Brit.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>MIKE NESS</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> April 3, 1962<br /> <strong>Bands </strong>Social Distortion, Easter, solo<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>1971 Gibson Les Paul gold top with Seymour Duncan P-90s<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>“Ball and Chain”—<em>Social Distortion </em> </p> <p>Bull necked and heavily tattooed, Mike Ness is not the kind of guy you’d want to mess with. The Southern California guitarist, singer and songwriter has known good times and bad, punching his way out of a serious drug addiction in the mid Eighties. He has funneled these experiences into some of the most hard-hitting, plain-dealing rock songs to come out of the SoCal punk milieu. Ness launched Social Distortion in 1978. </p> <p>Initially a hardcore act—in fact one of the most vital bands on the Orange County beach town/skater hardcore scene—Social Distortion morphed over the years into a vehicle for Ness’ ever-evolving narrative songwriting gift, dedicated to a few simple-but-slamming guitar chords and lyrics that recount life’s hard lessons. </p> <p>An avid skateboarder and hot-rod enthusiast, Ness epitomizes working-class Southern Californian culture. Springsteen comparisons are always dangerous, but the Boss did appear on Ness’ 1999 solo disc <em>Cheating at Solitaire</em>. Springsteen also named Social Distortion’s <em>Heaven and Hell</em> as his favorite record of 1992. Brian Setzer is another kindred spirit and musical collaborator. Ness is one skate punk kid who has stood the test of time.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JAMES HONEYMAN-SCOTT</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>November 4, 1956 (died June 16, 1982)<br /> <strong>Band</strong> The Pretenders<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1980 custom metal-front Zemaitis<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>“Tattooed Love Boys”—<em>The Pretenders </em></p> <p>James Honeyman-Scott’s moment in the spotlight was far too brief. He recorded only two albums with the Pretenders before he died of heart failure, but those tracks revealed incredible talent and versatility that quickly made him the most revered guitarist to emerge during the early days of post-punk new wave. </p> <p>Honeyman-Scott’s solos were concise and economical, getting the point across in only a few measures. His solo on “Kid” is a pop song unto itself that evokes the Beatles’ finest melodic moments, while his three- and four-second bursts on “Tattooed Love Boys” unleash more emotion, fire and style than most guitarists can convey in an extended 15-minute solo. </p> <p>Unlike most new wave guitarists at the dawn of the Eighties, Honeyman-Scott had impeccable fashion sense. He always maintained a timeless detached rocker look, and his aviator shades, medium-length shag haircut, suit jacket and jeans attire never really went out of style, unlike the geometric haircuts and DayGlo suits that many of his contemporaries wore. He always played the coolest guitars onstage as well, from classic Gibson Les Pauls and Firebirds to custom-made Hamers and Zemaitis metal-front guitars. </p> <p>He even married a model with coolest imaginable name for a guitarist’s girlfriend—Peggy Sue Fender.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>BRIAN SETZER</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> April 10, 1959<br /> <strong>Bands </strong>Stray Cats, Brian Setzer Orchestra<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1959 Gretsch 6120<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Runaway Boys”—<em>Stray Cats </em> </p> <p>Most musicians who revive a musical style from the past are like classic-car restorers, refusing to modify it in any way and insisting on keeping it exactly as it was back in the day. Brian Setzer is more like a hot rodder, keeping certain essential elements as a foundation but updating them with a lot more power, speed and style. </p> <p>With the Stray Cats he made rockabilly sound as dangerous as punk, and his fleet-fingered solos impressed even the most technically minded metalheads. He pulled off a similar feat in the Nineties with the Brian Setzer Orchestra, making big-band jazz appealing to rockers. </p> <p>Although Gretsch went out of business and ceased making guitars about the same time that the Stray Cats emerged, Setzer helped bring the company back to life by showing players just how cool Gretsch guitars could sound. As a result, Setzer was the first artist since Chet Atkins to be honored with his own signature-model Gretsch guitar. </p> <p>For those of us who dread Christmas music, Setzer’s holiday collections with the Brian Setzer Orchestra provide relief, giving guitar fans plenty of shredding solos to enjoy in between schmaltzy verses about figgy pudding and some fat, creepy man in red velvet pajamas.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>DJANGO REINHARDT</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> January 23, 1910 (died May 16, 1953)<br /> <strong>Band</strong> Quintette du Hot Club de France<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> Selmer Modèle Jazz<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Mystery Pacific”—<em>The Very Best of Django Reinhardt </em> </p> <p>Electric guitarists like Charlie Christian and T-Bone Walker rightfully get a lot of credit for introducing the concept of the single-string electric guitar solo, but many historians forget that Belgian Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt was shredding the strings a few years before those gents—and he didn’t need electricity. </p> <p>The acoustic solos Reinhardt recorded with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France between 1936 and 1940 are simply astounding displays of virtuosity, melodic taste and speed that left indelible impressions on players throughout several generations, including Les Paul, Jimmy Page and Michael Angelo Batio. Django didn’t even need all four fretting fingers either, using only two left hand fingers to play complicated chords and hyperspeed solos (his third and fourth fingers were badly burned in a fire). </p> <p>Django’s “handicap” later inspired Tony Iommi and Jerry Garcia to keep playing guitar after they permanently injured their fretting hands. Django lived life as hard and fast as he played guitar. A notorious gambler, drinker, gourmand and womanizer, he died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 43, but his solos continue to awe players today.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>T-BONE WALKER</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> May 28, 1910 (died March 16, 1975)<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> Solo, Sebastian’s Cotton Club Orchestra, Freddie Slack’s Orchestra<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> Gibson ES-250<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Strollin’ with Bone”—<em>The Complete Imperial Recordings, 1950–1954 </em> </p> <p>As the first blues guitarist to pick up an electric guitar and play single-string solos in the late Thirties, T-Bone Walker didn’t just lay down the foundation for electric blues and rock and roll—he also built the first three or four floors. John Lee Hooker credits T-Bone Walker with making the electric guitar popular, claiming that everybody tried to copy T-Bone’s sound. </p> <p>That’s not an overstatement, as traces of T-Bone’s influence can be heard in the early recordings of Albert, B.B. and Freddie King, Muddy Waters, and especially Chuck Berry, who adopted many of Walker’s signature licks as his own. A sharp-dressed, flamboyant performer who played the guitar behind his head and did the splits without missing a note, Walker helped reposition the guitar player from the sidelines to center stage, inspiring Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan to copy his impossible-to-ignore moves. </p> <p>Walker’s licks were so fresh and ahead of their time that his solos on the 1942 single “Mean Old World” and his 1947 breakthrough “Call It Stormy Monday” still inspire guitarists today.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JIMMY PAGE</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> January 9, 1944<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, the Firm, Coverdale/Page<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Black Dog”—<em>Led Zeppelin IV </em> </p> <p>Normal people define cool as laid-back, excellent or highly skilled, but most guitarists define cool as Jimmy Page circa 1975 in a black velvet bellbottom suit decorated with embroidered dragons, playing a Les Paul slung down to his knees. As the musical mastermind behind Led Zeppelin, one of the greatest rock bands of all time, Page elevated the guitar riff to an art form, crafting orchestrated overdubbed parts that bludgeoned listeners like the hammer of the gods. </p> <p>Page’s musical contributions with Led Zeppelin are well known to readers of this magazine, but here are some cool facts about him you may not know. As a session musician in the Sixties, Page played guitar on the singles “Gloria” by Them, “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks, “I Can’t Explain” by the Who and “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones. </p> <p>He’s owned homes previously lived in by Richard Harris, Michael Caine and Aleister Crowley, and his guitar collection consists of more than 2,000 instruments. The devil sold his soul to Jimmy to learn how to play the blues. As for that guy in the Dos Equis ads, forget him—Jimmy Page has already won the title of Most Interesting Man in the World.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>BILLY GIBBONS</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> December 16, 1949<br /> <strong>Band</strong> ZZ Top<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, a.k.a. “Pearly Gates”<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Heard It on the X”—<em>Fandango! </em> </p> <p>Bumper-sticker philosophy says that he who dies with the most toys wins. If that’s true, Billy Gibbons would be the hands-down champion. </p> <p>The sharp-dressed ladies man known to his friends as “the Reverend Willie G” owns more hot rods, Harleys, vintage and custom guitars, amps, stomp boxes, museum-quality African art pieces, cowboy jackets, tortoise-shell combs and cheap sunglasses than two dozen sultans of Dubai could ever hope to acquire. </p> <p>Every ZZ Top tour is a treat for guitar geeks, as Gibbons uses the occasions to unveil a six-string surprise. (Last year it was an elusive Gibson Moderne.) But what really makes Gibbons cool is a certain undefinable quality called “vibe.” Anyone who has ever met Billy and gotten to know him—however briefly—has an outrageous story to tell about the encounter. </p> <p>Gibbons has also twisted more than a few towering tall tales in his time, but his life is so surreal that it’s hard to tell where the truth ends and the trip takes over. His colorful manner of speech, known as “Gibbonics,” has made him one of <em>Guitar World</em>’s favorite interview subjects, especially since his poetic ponderings are loaded with insight, wisdom and a unique sense of humor.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>ZACKY VENGEANCE &amp; SYNYSTER GATES</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> December 11, 1981 (Vengeance); July 7, 1981 (Gates)<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> Avenged Sevenfold (both), Pinkly Smooth (Gates)<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitars</strong> Schecter Vengeance Custom (Vengeance); Schecter Synyster Custom (Gates)<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Unholy Confessions”—<em>Waking the Fallen </em> </p> <p>You’d be hard-pressed to find a more distinctive guitar tandem in modern metal than Zacky Vengeance (Zachary Baker) and Synyster Gates (Brian Haner, Jr.). From their sound, to their look, even to their names, the duo routinely go down guitar paths other metal axmen don’t dare travel, spicing up Avenged Sevenfold’s otherwise dark and aggressive attack with, among other things, hooky, major-key melodies, laid-back acoustic picking, buoyant, carnival-esque rhythms and a whole lot of style. </p> <p>They can also shred like nobody’s business: Though Vengeance largely fills the role of rhythm player while Gates handles the majority of the solos, almost every A7X song finds the two locking up for at least one or two rampaging runs of dual-guitar harmony leads. </p> <p>Vengeance and Gates’ ascent to the top of the metal guitar heap did not always seem inevitable. Avenged Sevenfold began life as a somewhat traditional Orange County–style metalcore act, as evidenced on their 2001 debut, <em>Sounding the Seventh Trumpet</em>, for which Vengeance served as the primary guitarist. But the band has been reinventing and refining its sound ever since. By A7X’s third effort, 2005’s <em>City of Evil</em>, they had morphed into a swaggering, thrashy unit with an adventurous edge that showed itself in everything from the grand, instrumentally dense songs to the band’s theatrical image. </p> <p>On 2007’s self-titled effort and the new <em>Nightmare</em>, Avenged Sevenfold have continued to expand their sonic template, leaving Vengeance and Gates plenty of space to explore a range of different styles. At the end of the day, however, metal is metal, and at its essence that means killer riffs and shredding solos, which the duo unleash in abundance. A7X staples like “Bat Country,” “Almost Easy” and the latest single, “Nightmare,” are chock full of blistering rhythms and finger-twisting, speed-of-light leads, while they tread that sweet spot between catchy melodicism and all-out aggression. </p> <p>As metal guitar continues to evolve in even faster and wilder ways, expect Vengeance and Gates to be two of the players leading the pack for a long time to come.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>MUDDY WATERS</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> April 4, 1915 (died April 30, 1983)<br /> <strong>Band</strong> Solo<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1958 Fender Telecaster<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Rollin’ and Tumblin’ ”—<em>The Real Folk Blues</em> </p> <p>The father of electric blues, McKinley Morganfield was born in rural Mississippi, where he absorbed the folk blues stylings of Son House, Big Bill Broonzy and Robert Johnson. But in the Forties, he made the pilgrimage to Chicago, picked up an electric guitar and forged a bold new style all his own. </p> <p>He assumed the stage name Muddy Waters and released a series of historic recordings on the legendary Chess Records label. These discs established the quintessential Muddy Waters persona—the jive-talkin’, sharp-dressed, tough-as-nails, mojo-workin’ Hoochie Coochie Man. Waters’ confident, cocky vocal delivery was augmented by the knife-edge drama of his bottleneck guitar leads. This steely, highly electrified sound galvanized a new rising generation of British rock musicians when Muddy first visited those shores in 1958. </p> <p>A group of blues-crazy Brits even took their name from one of his songs: the Rolling Stones. The blues in general, and the recordings of Muddy Waters in particular, became the “roots music” for the youth counterculture that sprang up in the Sixties. Countless bands, from the Stones on down, have assayed Waters classics like “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” “Got My Mojo Workin’,” “You Shook Me,” “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” and “Mannish Boy.” </p> <p>Leading rock publications Rolling Stone and Mojo also paid proud titular homage to Muddy Waters, who passed away in 1983. It’s no overstatement to say that there would be no rock and roll had Muddy Waters not come along.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>BILLY ZOOM</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> February 20, 1948<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> X, Billy Zoom Band<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> Gretsch Silver Jet<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Johnny Hit and Run Pauline”—<em>Los Angeles </em>(X)</p> <p>As guitarist for the seminal punk band X, Billy Zoom played a key role in launching the L.A. punk scene in the late Seventies. His raw-nerved guitar work with X drew heavily on Fifties rockabilly, spelling out the connection between punk rock and the original rock and roll music. </p> <p>But Zoom also served as the perfect foil for X’s principal songwriters, singer Exene Cervenka and bassist John Doe, who were arty, bohemian denizens of hip L.A. environs like Silverlake and Venice. Zoom was a politically conservative Christian greaser from the notoriously uncool southern L.A. suburbs of Orange County. In the now-classic L.A. punk documentary <em>The Decline of Western Civilization</em>, he is famously shown refusing to get a tattoo. </p> <p>But opposites not only attract—sometimes they also make groundbreaking music together. This is certainly true of Zoom’s collaboration with Doe and Cervenka. Since that band broke up, Zoom has gone on to do session work with everyone from the late John Denver to the Raconteurs. He’s also become semi-legendary as a guitar amp hotrod guru, having tweaked circuitry for Jackson Browne, the Black Crowes, Los Lobos, L7 and Social Distortion, among many others.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>WAYNE KRAMER &amp; FRED "SONIC" SMITH</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> April 14, 1948 (Kramer); September 13, 1949 (Smith; died November 4, 1994)<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> The MC5 (both), Gang War (Kramer), Sonic Rendezvous Band (Smith)<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitars </strong>Custom Strat with American Flag finish (Kramer); Mosrite Ventures (Smith)<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>“Ramblin’ Rose”—<em>Kick Out the Jams</em> (MC5)</p> <p> The MC5 were the nexus where radical politics and proto-punk belligerence first came together. This dangerous mixture touched off an explosion that’s still rocking the world today. The group burst out of Detroit in the cataclysmic year of 1969, with its roots firmly planted in mid-Sixties garage rock, and mutated by injections of inner-city R&amp;B and free-jazz mayhem. </p> <p>The MC5 was founded by guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith, friends since their teen years and veterans of the Detroit garage rock scene. They honed a two-guitar attack that owed much to the heavy rock sounds being popularized at the time by acts like Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Led Zeppelin. But Kramer and Smith laid down their riffs with more reckless abandon and a greater sense of desperate urgency than any of those groups. </p> <p>Many Sixties rock acts made political statements, but the MC5 were among the first rockers to make a serious commitment to revolution, aligning themselves closely with the White Panther Party (a Black Panther offshoot organization) and effectively serving as the White Panthers’ agitprop machine. Their blue-collar Detroit roots lent a certain gritty gravitas to their stance. These weren’t effete rock stars dabbling in left wing chic but working-class guerrillas with ammo belts strapped across their bare chests and guitars brandished as rifles. </p> <p>Kramer served a prison sentence on drug-related charges after the MC5 split up. When he got out, he teamed up with Johnny Thunders to form Gang War and later re-emerged as a solo artist on L.A. punk label Epitaph. Smith went on to lead the punishingly loud Sonic Rendezvous Band and married New York punk rock poet, artist, singer and originator Patti Smith. He passed away in 1994. But from the Clash to Fugazi, Crass and Green Day, the politicized wing of punk rock continues to fly the banner first raised by the Motor City 5.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>CHUCK BERRY</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> October 18, 1926<br /> <strong>Band</strong> Solo<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> Gibson ES-355<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Johnny B. Goode”—<em>Gold </em> </p> <p>Chuck Berry is probably the only man alive who could kick Keith Richards ass, and not only would Keef let him get away with it, he’d thank Chuck afterwards. That’s because Keef knows that without Chuck there would have been no Rolling Stones, let alone the Beatles or Beach Boys. </p> <p>Chuck Berry is the true founding forefather of rock and roll. His guitar playing in the mid Fifties defined the true personality and vocabulary of rock and roll guitar so comprehensively and conclusively that it’s impossible to find any rock player who doesn’t still steal his licks, riffs and tricks today. In fact, Berry doesn’t even tour with his own band; instead, he hires local musicians to back him up, because almost everyone all over the world knows how to play his songs. </p> <p>Berry is also an energetic performer who invented perhaps the ultimate rock and roll stage move: the duck walk. Surprisingly, Chuck still performs this signature move when he plays onstage, even though he’s now in his 80s.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>LOU REED</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> March 2, 1942<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> The Velvet Underground, solo<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitars</strong> Gretsch Country Gentleman (Velvets), Schecter, Klein, Sadowsky and other customs<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Sweet Jane”—<em>Loaded </em>(The Velvet Underground) </p> <p>The dark underbelly is Lou Reed’s comfort zone. Despair and degradation are his muses. Emerging in the mid Sixties at the helm of the Velvet Underground, he offered up a gritty black-and-white alternative to the rainbow-colored pyschedelia of the prevailing rock culture. He brought us along, albeit reluctantly, to meet junkies and hustlers, S&amp;M bondage goddesses and suicidal transvestites. He was one of the first rock guitarists to embrace chaos truly and wholeheartedly. </p> <p>But the avant-garde din of Velvet Underground rave-ups seemed a genteel curtain raiser compared with the full-bore cacophony of Lou’s 1975 solo opus <em>Metal Machine Music</em>. The noise-guitar side of Lou’s legacy set the stage for cutting-edge genres like industrial, art damage, dream pop, grunge and present-day noise exponents, like Wolf Eyes and Yellow Swans. </p> <p>But Lou’s edgy lyrical stance and image spawned something even more fundamental to deviant aesthetics: punk rock. It is with considerable justice that he graced the first cover of <em>Punk</em> magazine in 1976 and was subsequently dubbed the Godfather of Punk. Lou embodied a new kind of rebel hero, an amalgam of two distinctly different but equally vilified social pariahs: the disaffected intellectual and the scumbag street hustler. In recent years, he’s added a third persona: the grumpy old man. </p> <p>And let's not forget his recent album with Metallica ... Still, there can be no underestimating Lou’s immense contribution to rock or the fierceness of his commitment to obtaining guitar tones and lyrical images that cut like a knife and leave a permanent scar.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JOHNNY MARR</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> October 31, 1963<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> The Smiths, Electronic, the Pretenders, The The, Johnny Marr and the Healers, Modest Mouse, the Cribs, solo<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> Rickenbacker 330<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>“What Difference Does It Make?”—<em>The Smiths </em> </p> <p>Johnny Marr is a chief architect of the post-modern rock-guitar aesthetic. As the guitarist for seminal Eighties poetic pop stars the Smiths, he created a tonal palette and crisp stylistic approach that still forms the roadmap for much modern rock guitar playing. It was Marr who created the orchestral guitar soundscapes that enhanced the moody drama of Smiths singer Morrissey’s introspective lyrics and ironically detached vocals. </p> <p>From the low-string riff for “What Difference Does It Make?” to the deep tremolo textures and swooning string bends of “How Soon Is Now,” Marr always seemed to have the notes and the tone to suit the moment perfectly. Marr’s work has been profoundly influential to guitarists of the Nineties and beyond. Noel Gallagher of Oasis dubbed Marr “a fucking wizard,” and Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien has cited Marr as the reason he picked up a guitar. In essence, Marr is a classicist, drawing much of his approach from the guitar sounds of the Sixties British Invasion, yet deftly adapting those influences to rock and roll modernity. </p> <p>He embodies the stylish sideman identity forged by guitar greats like George Harrison and Keith Richards: a neatly trimmed pudding-basin haircut, and a stage presence that never upstages the frontman. Yet, he is intriguing in his own right. Marr’s post-Smiths career has been stellar. He’s worked with everyone from New Order’s Bernard Sumner (in Electronic) to Oasis to John Frusciante, and has been quite active recently with both Modest Mouse and the Cribs. He has an uncanny knack for being around whenever cool music is happening.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>RITCHIE BLACKMORE</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>April 14, 1945<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> Deep Purple, Rainbow, Blackmore’s Night<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Fender Stratocaster with scalloped neck<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>“Smoke on the Water”—<em>Machine Head </em>(Deep Purple) </p> <p>The original dark knight of metal guitar, Ritchie Blackmore boasts a surname that evokes Medieval England and a pedigree that goes back to the beginning of classic rock. Early studies in classical guitar left him with an astounding legato technique that laid the groundwork for the neoclassical and shred movements several decades later. </p> <p>In the early Sixties, Blackmore did sessions with legendary British producer Joe Meek and apprenticed with U.K. session ace (and Jimmy Page mentor) Big Jim Sullivan. Blackmore founded Deep Purple in the late Sixties and led the group through various incarnations. He also spearheaded metal icons Rainbow with the late Ronnie James Dio and has more recently played a role in Blackmore’s Night with his wife Candice Night. </p> <p>The history of metal wends ever onward, but, much like Mephistopheles, Ritchie Blackmore has a way of always turning up.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JOE PERRY</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> September 10, 1950<br /> <strong>BANDS</strong> Aerosmith, Joe Perry Project<br /> <strong>ICONIC GUITAR</strong> Gibson Les Paul<br /> <strong>COOLEST RIFF </strong>“Walk This Way”—<em>Toys in the Attic</em> (Aerosmith) </p> <p>Joe Perry is the American distillation of the good-old Keith Richards/Jimmy Page recipe for sideman/lead guitarist cool. He’s got the look and the licks, and he’s maintained both over the course of three or four decades—despite all odds. Jagger and Richards are the Glimmer Twins, but Perry and Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler went down in history as the Toxic Twins. </p> <p>They took the Sixties formula of sex, drugs and rock and roll to new heights in the decadent Seventies. Yet they also cranked out a steady stream of hard rock gems throughout a career that has known more ups and downs than a roller coaster. What’s perhaps most amazing about Tyler and Perry’s partnership is that Perry is the <em>sensible</em> one. </p> <p>He averages only about one meltdown to Tyler’s every three and keeps the Aerosmith juggernaut anchored with endless heavy guitar hooks. He’s even marketed his own brand of hot sauce. How cool is that?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" 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="/buddy-guy">Buddy Guy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/aerosmith">Aerosmith</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/deep-purple">Deep Purple</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/billy-gibbons">Billy Gibbons</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/jimmy-page">Jimmy Page</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Articles Buddy Guy Chuck Berry Django Reinhardt GW Archive T-Bone Walker ZZ Top Guitar World Lists News Features Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:46:42 +0000 Alan Di Perna, Chris Gill, Richard Bienstock 25 Things Every Guitarist Should Know <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Many people believe that possessing talent alone is enough to guarantee an artist success in the music business. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a perfect world, the best musicians — the best guitarists — would be amply rewarded for their abilities. The music business, however, is far from perfect. </em></p> <p>And unless you're one of the blessed few (such as Eddie Van Halen) who can single-handedly change the course of guitar history, the harsh reality is that killer chops and perfect time impress only other guitarists, not the people who hire you or buy the records.</p> <p>Talent, of course, is any artist's basic bread and butter, but whether you're a fingerpicker or a two-handed tapper, in order to survive the music business and distinguish yourself from the thousands of other guitarists who are after your gig, you must boast some other essential qualities. These range from good people skills to practical, common-sense approaches to your business (Fact it, that's what it is), both of which will help you stand out from the pack — and believe me, there's nothing more frightening that a pack of hungry, feral guitarists. </p> <p>For your edification, I have crunched these qualities — the many do's and don'ts of guitar existence — into 25 hardheaded, clearly wrought maxims. Learn them, memorize them, master them and imbibe. You'll be a better person for it, a better guitarist, and you just may make your way from the garage to the arena stage.</p> <p><strong>01. Nobody likes an asshole</strong></p> <p>Reality check: Most musicians don't give a damn whether you're the second coming of Jimi, Eddie or Buck Dharma. They just want someone with a good attitude who will play the parts correctly. And since most of your time is spent offstage, relating with the other musicians on a personal level becomes as important as relating to them musically. Remember-no one is indispensable. Just ask David Lee Roth.</p> <p><strong>02. Having a great feel is your most important musical asset</strong></p> <p>No one will want to play with you if you have bad time. You must have a great feel-it's that simple. By "great feel" I mean the ability to lock in with the rhythm section and produce a track that grooves. If there's one thing I would recommend you to constantly work on, it's developing your groove. Listen to the greats to learn how grooves should be played: from rock (Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" to 16th-note funk (James Brown's "Sex Machine") to blues shuffle ("Pride and Joy" by Stevie Ray Vaughan). Tape yourself (with a metronome) playing them-you'll be able to isolate and work on your problem areas. Or pick up the excellent JamTrax series (Music Sales), a series of play-along tapes covering everything from blues to alternative to metal, to stay in shape. This is the one area where you should be most brutal in your self-assessment. You'll be a much better player for it.</p> <p><strong>03. Develop your own sound </strong></p> <p>There's no better way to learn how to play than to cop licks from your favorite guitarists. The problem to watch out for is when you start sounding too much like your favorite player. Remember, rules, especially musical rules, are made to be broken.</p> <p><strong>04. Be on time</strong></p> <p>You wouldn't believe how many musicians don't believe that punctuality is important. It is crucial.</p> <p><strong>05. Listen, listen, listen!</strong></p> <p>When you're on stage or in the studio, don't be in your own world-listen and interact with the other musicians you're working with. React to what they're playing. Don't play too loud or get in the way when someone else is soloing. Put their egos ahead of yours-your number will always be called if the other musicians feel that you made them sound better.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>06. Know what you want to be</strong></p> <p>The most successful people in the music business are totally focused-they have specific goals in mind and do whatever is necessary to achieve them. The simple realization that you don't have to be a musician to be a rock star and don't have to be a rock star to be a musician can spare you years of cynicism and bitterness.</p> <p><strong>07. Play for the song, not for yourself</strong></p> <p>It's imperative to play what's idiomatically correct. For example, don't play Yngwie licks on Bush's "Glycerine" or a noodly jazz solo on Soundgarden's "Outshined," no matter how much it impresses you. I learned this the hard way while auditioning for a punk singer. I thought I'd show her what a good, well-rounded musician I was and ended a thrash song in A with an Am(add9) chord, instead of a more appropriate A5. I was promptly shown the door.</p> <p><strong>08. Play with musicians who are better (and better known) than you</strong></p> <p>There's no faster way to improve and jump up to the next level than to play with great musicians. You'll learn the tricks of the trade, and pick up on their years of experience in the trenches, as well. But if you want to be a star, there's no better way to kick-start your career than by ingratiating yourself with someone famous and be seen sycophantically swilling drinks with him or her at the coolest bar in town.</p> <p><strong>09. Less is more</strong></p> <p>Most players you hear or read about pay lip service to what has become the guitardom's ultimate cliché. The fact is, though, what's glibly easy to say is not necessarily easy to do. I learned this on a gig backing up a singer on a cruise ship (It was the actual "Love Boat!"). Back then, I couldn't read music or play over changes very well, so during the first show, in abject fear, I played very sparsely-only what I was sure would work. After the show, the singer told me she had never worked with so sensitive an accompanist.</p> <p><strong>10. Image does matter</strong></p> <p>This is one of the sad truths about the music business. The good news, however, is that not every musical situation calls for the same image. So use some common sense-if you're going to be auditioning for a wimpy jangle band, don't come dressed like a Marilyn Manson cast-off.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>11. It's essential to have a great touch, or vibrato</strong></p> <p>There are players who say it took them 10-15 years to develop a great vibrato. They're the lucky ones-most never find it. Your touch is like your fingerprints-it's what distinguishes your blues playing, for instance, from that of countless other guitarists. Think of B.B. King or Jimi Hendrix-they are instantly recognizable. There are two main types of vibrato: one generated by the wrist (a la Hendrix and B.B. King) and the other from the fingers (favored more by classical guitarists). To determine which type works for you, check out your favorite guitarists' vibratos and try to imitate them. You can also pick up B.B. King's video <em>Bluesmaster</em> (Volume 1) to see his unique "bee-sting" vibrato demonstrated in-depth.</p> <p><strong>12. Get your sound/tone together</strong></p> <p>I can't emphasize enough how important this is. Know your gear well enough so that it works for you, not against you. For example, if you're looking for a Stevie Ray tone, you won't get it with a Les Paul going through a Marshall. You'll need a Strat running through a Fender Bassman (with an Ibanez Tube Screamer for extra punch). Unless you're a studio tech-head, a great guitar and amp (with an overdrive or chorus pedal) will probably sound 10 times better than a refrigerator full of rack-mounted shit (believe me, I've been there).</p> <p><strong>13. Practice what you don't know, not what you do know</strong></p> <p>In order to improve, you must practice. That sounds frightening, but let me reassure you that good practicing doesn't necessarily entail sitting grimly in a basement (while the other kids are outside playing), mindlessly running scales and arpeggios-you can get all the technique you need by learning licks from your favorite guitarists. For example, Eric Johnson's intro to "Cliffs of Dover" is a veritable lexicon of minor-pentatonic ideas. Here are the three axioms of good practicing:</p> <p>A. Master small bits of music first (no more than four to eight notes at a time), then connect them to form longer passages.<br /> B. Start out playing new ideas at a slow tempo (this builds muscle memory), then gradually work up to speed. It's much better to play slow and clean than fast and sloppy.<br /> C. Always practice with a metronome</p> <p><strong>14. Get your business chops together</strong></p> <p>Business chops are just as important as musical ones, if not more so. If you want to make money as a musician, you have to start seeing yourself as a business and your music as a product. Acting against the stereotype of a musician (you know — stupid, drunk and gullible), as hard as that may be, will show club owners and record execs that you're not a pushover.</p> <p><strong>15. Be fluent with both major and minor pentatonic scales</strong></p> <p>In rock, pop, blues or country situations, knowing these scales will enable you to get by 80 percent of the time. I heartily recommend my book <em>Practical Pentatonics</em> (Music Sales)-a nifty little volume that covers just about all you need to know to be comfortable using the pentatonic scale in real-life gigging situations.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>16. As soon as you learn something cool, apply it immediately to a real-life musical situation</strong></p> <p>Many guitarists learn tons of licks that sound great when played in the practice room. But the minute they get on stage, they have a hard time integrating this new material into their playing. Before you learn something new, you should have an idea where you could fit it in.</p> <p><strong>17. Learn as many melodies as you can</strong></p> <p>Not only does learning melodies to tunes (any tunes) increase your repertoire, it also (subconsciously) gives you an incredibly distinct edge in developing your phrasing. Ideally, you should be able to duplicate any melody you hear.</p> <p>A. Listen to how singers interpret melodies and try to mimic their phrasing on the guitar.<br /> B. Try to play back any, and I mean any, melody you hear-be it a TV commercial, nursery rhyme or the Mister Softee ice cream truck theme.<br /> C. Always learn a melody on more than one place on the guitar neck. You want to play the melody, not have the melody play you.</p> <p><strong>18. Know your place</strong></p> <p>When a bandleader asks you to play something a certain way, smile and do it! Don't argue. Don't pout. Don't think you know better. Don't be an asshole. You'll have plenty of time to be in charge when your three-disk epic rock opera adaptation of The Jeffersons gets picked up.</p> <p><strong>19. Contrary to popular belief, taking lessons and listening to other styles of music doesn't hurt</strong></p> <p>It never hurts to broaden your scope, no matter how great a player you already are or how much you think you've already learned all there is to know. Opening your mind to other styles and techniques makes you a better, more well-rounded musician. Period. A great teacher can inspire and enable you to develop as a creative, exciting player.</p> <p><strong>20. Learn as many tunes as possible, from start to finish</strong></p> <p>It doesn't matter what style you like to play in, the more tunes you know, the easier it is to get a gig or kick ass on a jam session. And there's no excuse for not doing it-even if you're not at the point where you can learn tunes off the recording, you can avail yourself of the hundreds of transcription books out there. Heck, you can learn five new tunes a month just by reading <em>Guitar World</em>!</p> <hr /> <p><strong>21. Develop authority as a player</strong></p> <p>You have to get to the point where you feel as creatively comfortable in front of hundreds of people as you do in front of your sister and the dog. And the only way you can attain that authority is by putting in the time. Playing at home only gets you so far-it's imperative that you play out as soon as you can. Attend jam sessions. Take less-than-ideal gigs, just for the experience. Take any gigs, for that matter-it's the experience that counts!</p> <p><strong>22. Hang out with other musicians</strong></p> <p>The best way to get contacts and gigs is to be seen and heard. How can anyone recommend you if they don't know who you are? As unpleasant and greasy as this may sound, do your best to befriend other guitarists. Though there's intense competition amongst players, most of your work will come as a result of recommendations made by other guitarists.</p> <p><strong>23. Know the fundamentals</strong></p> <p>Being able to hear common chord changes will help you learn tunes off the radio faster. Knowing a little basic theory will help you with your songwriting and your ability to intuitively come up with rhythm parts. For example, knowing that the harmonic structure of most blues tunes is I-IV-V (C-F-G) and that early rock ballads were usually built on I-vi-IV-V progressions (C-Am-F-G) will help you to play just about any tune in those genres or compose one of your own. One more plug: you also might want to check out my book <em>The Advanced Guitar Case Chord Book</em> (Music Sales) to get an idea of how to apply cool chord voicings to common progressions in all types of music.</p> <p><strong>24. Be careful out there</strong></p> <p>As soon as you or your band become somewhat popular, all sorts of characters are going to start crawling out of the gutter with designs on you. Have fun, but don't go overboard. And always keep an eye on your equipment-it's your life's blood. And try to save some cash.</p> <p><strong>25. Don't shit where you eat</strong></p> <p>Don't fuck the singer. Don't fuck the drummer's girlfriend. Don't fuck the drummer's dog. Don't fuck the drummer. Don't backstab your bandmates. Don't pocket tips. Don't be an asshole!</p> GW Archive Guitar World Lists News Features Magazine Fri, 10 Apr 2015 16:07:14 +0000 Askold Buk 10 Things You Didn't Know About Black Sabbath <!--paging_filter--><p>It’s been nearly 46 years since Black Sabbath emerged out of Birmingham, England, and defined the genre of heavy metal with detuned guitar riffs, occult themes and monolithic heaviness. </p> <p>Think you know everything there is to know about the pioneering metal band? </p> <p>Click through the gallery below to test your Sabbathian knowledge!</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="/black-sabbath">Black Sabbath</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Black Sabbath Guitar World Lists Galleries News Features Tue, 07 Apr 2015 19:27:18 +0000 Jeff Kitts E.C. Listening: Eric Clapton's 50 Greatest Guitar Moments <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Guitar World<em> celebrates the 50 greatest guitar moments of Eric Clapton's five-decade career—from the Yardbirds to Cream to Derek and the Dominos and beyond.</em></strong></p> <p>There was a time when the name Eric Clapton meant one thing and one thing only: guitar god. </p> <p>His incendiary six-string exploits with the Yardbirds, followed by a pair of mind-blowing 1966 albums—<em>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton</em> and <em>Fresh Cream</em>—briefly put the passionate young Clapton atop the U.K.’s, if not the world’s, guitar hierarchy.</p> <p>By the late Sixties, he was sharing the spotlight with such rock deities as Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Significantly perhaps, it was around this time that Clapton began incrementally distancing himself from the flashy, lengthy solos of his wild youth, as he segued from Cream to Blind Faith, and then from Derek and the Dominos to a successful solo career. </p> <p>He eventually fell under the mellow spell of J.J. Cale and the Band, put more emphasis on singing and songwriting, and dabbled in country rock, reggae, acoustic music and ultra-slick pop tunes. </p> <p>Today, Clapton, who turns 70 on March 30, enjoys an enviable spot as one of the most respected elder statesmen in rock and blues. And although he happily handed over the guitar-god mantle decades ago, he’s not averse to melting a few faces when the opportunity arises.</p> <p><em>Guitar World</em> looks back at Clapton’s 50-plus-year career and pinpoints what we consider to be the 50 greatest guitar moments—thus far. Our list digs deep into his six-string artistry, putting the emphasis on the playing and not necessarily the hits. We hope you enjoy this guide to Clapton’s cream of the crop.</p> <p>Honorable Mention: <strong>"Go Back Home"</strong><br /> <strong>Stephen Stills—<em>Stephen Stills</em> (1970)</strong></p> <p>Let's start things off with an honorable mention—a suggestion from several readers (and we happen to approve of their choice). It's a track from Stephen Stills' self-titled debut album from 1970. It features Clapton in all his 1970 pointy-Strat-sound glory!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> 50. <strong>"Cocaine"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—<em>Slowhand</em> (1977) </strong></p> <p>While Clapton was certainly no stranger to the song’s titular substance, “Cocaine” was actually written by American singer/songwriter and frequent Clapton collaborator J.J. Cale. The infectious main riff, in E, is a bit reminiscent of that other Clapton classic “Sunshine of Your Love” and provides an equally amiable vehicle for some tasty soloing on Clapton’s part. </p> <p>His approach is understated and funky but with occasional flashes of fire. A second overdubbed solo improvisation joins the main line midway through, and Clapton adorns the outro with some more Strat leads. Despite the enduring appeal of “Cocaine” as a party song, Clapton has claimed it is actually an anti-drug number. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>49. <strong>"A Certain Girl"</strong><br /> <strong>The Yardbirds—<em>For Your Love</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>This track has a great New Orleans R&amp;B pedigree, having been written by the legendary Allen Toussaint and originally recorded by Ernie K-Doe, best known for his 1961 hit “Mother in Law.” </p> <p>The Yardbirds’ somewhat whimsical British Invasion treatment of “A Certain Girl” is probably a prime example of the group’s pop direction that made Clapton so uncomfortable at the time, but he nevertheless claims the track as his own with a bluesy lead guitar intro and a ripping little solo midway through. </p> <p>His Tele tone here is nothing less than searing.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>48. <strong>"Got to Hurry"</strong><br /> <strong>The Yardbirds—<em>Crossroads</em> (1964)</strong></p> <p>This track is an early—if not the earliest—example of the magic Eric Clapton could work with a 12-bar blues, even at the tender age of 19. It originally appeared as the B-side to the Yardbirds’ third single, and first big hit, “For Your Love.” </p> <p>Instrumentals were typical B-side fodder at the time, but this one, in all its reverby over-compressed glory, has enduring value. </p> <p>While the song is clearly a group improvisation, it was credited to the Yardbirds’ producer Giorgio Gomelsky (originally using his nom de plume O. Rasputin), who claimed to have hummed the main riff to Clapton. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>47. <strong>"After Midnight"</strong><br /> Eric Clapton—<em>Eric Clapton</em> (1970)</p> <p>At the dawn of the Seventies, following stints in several legendary British bands, Clapton launched his solo career with a new American sound and a switch from Gibson guitars to the Fender Stratocaster, the guitar with which he would shape the sonic signature of his latter-day career. </p> <p>“After Midnight” is the first song he recorded by American singer/songwriter J.J. Cale, whose work Clapton had been introduced to by Delaney Bramlett, one of his musical collaborators at the time. </p> <p>With its frenetic tempo and gospel-inflected backing vocals, the recording was a major success for the newly reinvented Clapton. His guitar solo for the track is simple, yet effective. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>46. <strong>"Cat’s Squirrel"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Fresh Cream</em> (1966) </strong></p> <p>A free adaptation of a song originally recorded in 1961 by bluesman Doctor Ross, “Cat’s Squirrel” was a largely instrumental highlight of Cream’s 1966 debut album. </p> <p>Repeated restatements of the main motif, lifted from the Dr. Ross record, alternate with bouts of riffing on guitar and harmonica and, in one break, a few lines of scat singing. The guitar tone is a bit thin, compared to Clapton’s earlier work with Mayall and what would come later, but it’s nonetheless compelling. </p> <p>A frequent Sixties jam vehicle, the song was later covered by Jethro Tull on their 1968 debut album, <em>This Was</em>. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>45. <strong>"Double Trouble"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—<em>Just One Night </em>(1980)</strong></p> <p>Recorded in Japan in December 1979, <em>Just One Night</em> isn’t exactly a firecracker of a live album. </p> <p>Although the band is tight and gritty, the material is spotty, since the tour was supporting Clapton’s low-spark 1978 album, <em>Backless</em>. Meanwhile, Clapton’s tone can best be described as “Strat into amp. The end.” </p> <p>However, all of the above can’t keep a good song down, and Clapton shines on his extended cover of Otis Rush’s “Double Trouble.” This minimalist masterpiece in C minor spotlights Clapton’s dynamic monolog of a solo, one punctuated by pinch harmonics and a nearly flawless choice of notes.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>44. <strong>"Those Were the Days"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Wheels of Fire</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>This up-tempo track features Clapton performing some “Crossroads”-like high-register wailing (in the key of A, as on that song) over Ginger Baker’s and Jack Bruce’s bombastic double-time groove. </p> <p>His solo is noteworthy for the way he keeps his phrasing coherent and his bends and vibratos smooth at such a brisk tempo and with such a busy accompaniment. </p> <p>Distractions like those could easily cause a less seasoned guitarist to get ahead of himself rhythmically and lose his composure, in terms of touch and feel.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>43. <strong>"SWLABR"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Disraeli Gears</em> (1967)</strong></p> <p>A solid track from Cream’s game-changing 1967 <em>Disraeli Gears</em> album, “SWLABR” is one of several compositions on the album by bassist Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. </p> <p>The title is an acronym for either “She Walks Like a Bearded Rainbow” or “She Was Like a Bearded Rainbow” (accounts vary). Clapton’s lead work on the track exemplifies his Gibson SG-driven “woman tone,” rich in sustain and low-frequency detail. </p> <p>His solo employs the Mixolydian mode (major third, minor seventh), which was very popular in psychedelic music at the time, owing in part to its similarity to the tonalities used in a number of Indian ragas.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>42. <strong>"Lay Down Sally"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—<em>Slowhand</em> (1977)</strong></p> <p>With its laidback “white-guy funk” groove and infectious chorus, this track was tailor-made for late-Seventies radio and became a major hit for Clapton in 1977. </p> <p>The interlocking, dual rhythm guitars—performed by Clapton and the song’s co-author, George Terry—establish a shuffling, gently propulsive groove that tugs against the minimal bass and drum patterns. </p> <p>Country overtones abound, and the tasteful, clean-tone Strat solo is perhaps the closest Clapton’s ever come to anything like chicken pickin’. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>41. <strong>"Stone Free"</strong><br /> <strong>Various—<em>Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix</em> (1993)</strong></p> <p>Clapton’s interpretation of this Jimi Hendrix’s composition was the title track of a 1993 Hendrix tribute album that included contributions from guitar heroes like Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and Slash. </p> <p>Clapton plays it close to Hendrix’s original, cowbell groove and all, but he takes the guitar solo in his own direction and even sneaks in a quotation from “Third Stone from the Sun.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>40. <strong>"Motherless Children"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—<em>461 Ocean Boulevard</em> (1974)</strong></p> <p>By 1974, Clapton’s guitar playing started to take a back seat to his singing and songwriting, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t still have fun. </p> <p>“Motherless Children,” one of the strongest opening tracks on a Clapton album since Cream’s <em>Wheels of Fire</em>, features Clapton on slide guitar, and it burns from the get-go. The song, which finds the guitarist delivering a playful variation of the melody during the twin guitar solos, was arranged by Clapton and his Derek and the Dominos band mate bassist Carl Radle. </p> <p>The song also features fine playing by second guitarist George Terry and drummer Jamie Oldaker.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>39. <strong>"Deserted Cities of the Heart"</strong><br /> Cream—<em>Wheels of Fire</em> (1968)</p> <p>Clapton tunes his acoustic and electric guitars down a whole step (low to high, D G C F A D) and plays this song as if it were in E, although it sounds in the key of D. </p> <p>Using full barre-chord voicings and vigorous, Pete Townshend–style strumming, he creates a deep, powerful accompaniment to Jack Bruce’s vocals. </p> <p>Clapton’s solo, beginning at 1:51, is fiery and aggressive, and the string slack from the detuning makes for some unusually fast finger vibratos, creating a shimmering sound that might otherwise be attained by speeding up the recording. As always, Clapton’s phrasing is tight and in the pocket, and his interplay with the bass and drums creates a powerful musical statement.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>38. <strong>"She’s Gone"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—<em>One More Car, One More Rider</em> (2001)</strong></p> <p>This spirited live rendition of a track that originally appeared on Clapton’s 1998 studio album, <em>Pilgrim</em>, outstrips the original on several fronts. </p> <p>What had been a fairly lackluster electronic-tinged pop track in the studio becomes a full-blown lead guitar free-for-all in concert. Clapton bursts out of the gate like a steroid-crazed racehorse, strafing the audience with a rubato flurry of bluesy leads before the main riff and funk groove kicks in. </p> <p>The track’s two extended solo sections contain some of the most urgent playing in his catalog, and his overdriven Strat tone is harmonically rich with full-bodied sustain. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>37.<strong>"Just Like a Prisoner"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—<em>Behind the Sun</em> (1985)</strong></p> <p>The last minute and a half of “Just Like a Prisoner” might represent Clapton’s mid-Eighties high-water mark, at least from a shred perspective. </p> <p>The song features what could easily be considered one of his “angriest” solos. He even keeps playing long after the intended fade-out point, until the band stops abruptly. </p> <p>Maybe he was upset about the overpowering Eighties production, ridiculous synthesizers and obtrusive, way-too-loud drums that threaten to hijack the song at any moment. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>36. <strong>"Old Love"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—<em>24 Nights</em> (1991)</strong></p> <p>This quintessential live performance of the soulful R&amp;B-style ballad from Clapton’s 1989 album, <em>Journeyman</em>, finds the guitarist in top form, as he seems to effortlessly improvise phrase after phrase of perfectly timed licks and runs. </p> <p>Clapton varies his touch from delicate to ferocious and coaxes a wide dynamic range out of his Strat while judiciously using holes of silence between long, fast runs, allowing the groove to breathe. </p> <p>This track is also a great and rare example of Clapton using the Aeolian mode—specifically A Aeolian (A B C D E F G)—in this case over the repeating chord sequence Am-Dm7-Gsus4-G.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>35. <strong>"5:01 AM (The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Part 10)"</strong><br /> <strong>Roger Waters—<em>The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking</em> (1984)</strong></p> <p>Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters’ first solo album abounded with something that Clapton’s early Eighties albums sorely lacked: screaming guitar solos. </p> <p>The title track features a mini masterpiece of a solo, a composition within a composition, much like his work on “Badge,” another blues-driven pop gem. </p> <p>For the album’s most generous serving of Clapton, check out “4:41 AM (Sexual Revolution),” which finds the guitarist dishing out a nonstop array of blues riffs in E minor using a compressed, crystal-clear Strat tone. Clapton’s contributions to <em>Pros and Cons</em> and George Harrison’s <em>Cloud Nine</em> stand out as highlights of his bountiful Eighties session work. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>34. <strong>"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"</strong><br /> <strong>The Beatles—<em>The Beatles</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>On September 6, 1968, Clapton entered Abbey Road Studios to overdub a solo on a new Beatles song, George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Clapton played Lucy, Harrison’s red 1957 Gibson Les Paul, which was a gift from Clapton. </p> <p>In a sense, his presence in the studio was another gift to Harrison, since it forced John Lennon and Paul McCartney to take his song seriously. Clapton originally wasn’t all that into the idea, saying, “Nobody ever plays on the Beatles’ records.” “So what?” Harrison replied. “It’s my song.” </p> <p>As it turns out, the Fabs were on their best behavior that day.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>33. <strong>"That’s the Way God Planned It (Parts 1 and 2)"</strong><br /> <strong>Billy Preston—<em>That’s the Way God Planned It</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>In early 1969, when Cream were history and the Beatles were quickly heading in that direction, George Harrison invited Clapton to sit in on sessions for Billy Preston’s fourth studio album, which Harrison was co-producing. </p> <p>Clapton’s brilliance is best represented on the album’s powerful title track. While the verses and chorus feature Clapton’s sympathetic fills, things take off during the song’s final two and a half minutes. It’s as if Preston and Harrison pulled Clapton aside and said, “Okay, go nuts, man!” </p> <p>Maybe he was inspired by the presence of Cream/Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker, who also plays on the track.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>32. <strong>"All Your Love"</strong><br /> <strong>John Mayall &amp; the Bluesbreakers—<em>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton</em> (1966)</strong></p> <p>John Mayall’s cover of this 1958 Otis Rush song showcases Clapton’s tasteful, competent handling of a minor blues progression set to a medium-tempo, quasi-cha-cha groove. </p> <p>Using his 1960 Les Paul Standard, with the bridge pickup on, plugged into his cranked-up Marshall JTM45 2x12 combo, Clapton kicks things off in the arrangement’s opening 12-bar chorus by authoritatively digging into and bending notes within the A minor pentatonic scale, demonstrating a refined touch and excellent pitch control over his bends and vibratos. </p> <p>When the tempo, feel and backing progression abruptly change to a faster shuffle and dominant-seven chords at 1:50, Clapton leads the way with stinging, B.B. King–style A major- and minor-pentatonic licks, pausing in just the right places so as to let his phrases sink in and the groove breathe.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>31. <strong>"Five Long Years"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—<em>From the Cradle</em> (1994)</strong></p> <p>Clapton’s reading of this slow 12/8 blues standard showcases the guitarist tearing it up on his signature-model Strat, using a thick yet biting high-gain tone, and doing some impassioned “crammed” phrasing à la Buddy Guy. </p> <p>Playing in the key of A, Clapton relies predominantly on two scales—A minor pentatonic (A C D E G) and A blues (A C D Ef E G)—and occasionally touches upon the major third, A, so as to acknowledge the one chord, A7. </p> <p>This is some of Slowhand’s fastest blues shredding, yet it is characteristically polished, devoid of bad notes and embellished with finger vibratos that are fierce but never manic.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>30. <strong>"Tribute to Elmore"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton &amp; Jimmy Page—<em>Immediate All Stars</em> (1965)</strong></p> <p>Often credited to either the Immediate All-Stars (named for the Immediate label, on which the tracks first appeared), Cyril Davis’ All-Stars or the All-Stars, “Tribute to Elmore” is one of seven tracks recorded by Clapton and Jimmy Page alone at Page’s home studio. </p> <p>The “Elmore” in the title refers to blues legend Elmore James, and the track serves as a tribute to his essential blues-shuffle recordings, such as “Dust My Broom,” “I Believe,” “Sweet Home Chicago” and “Anna Lee.” </p> <p>Backed simply by Page’s rhythm guitar, Clapton adds deft soloing representative of his work during this period.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>29. <strong>"I'm So Glad"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Fresh Cream</em> (1966)</strong></p> <p>Cream’s reworking of this old blues tune features Clapton performing some deft hybrid picking (pick-and-fingers technique) as he starts off the song with a turbocharged turnaround lick in E. </p> <p>He picks chromatically ascending and descending sixth intervals on the G and A strings in conjunction with the open B and high E strings to create a shimmering, banjo-esque waterfall of notes. </p> <p>His solo, beginning at 1:26, is noteworthy for the way Clapton harnesses the elusive power of controlled harmonic feedback from his cranked, reverberant Les Paul/100-watt Marshall rig and takes the time to allow notes to swell and sing, making his instrument work for him as opposed to just slavishly playing lick after lick without pause.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>28. <strong>"Bernard Jenkins"</strong><br /> <strong>John Mayall &amp; the Bluesbreakers—<em>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton</em> (1966)</strong></p> <p>The B-side of the second single ever issued by John Mayall &amp; the Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton, this swinging instrumental in G offers a perfect glimpse into Clapton’s playing in 1965, with his 1960 Les Paul Standard plugged into his JTM 45 Marshall combo, creating the sound that would change the face of blues and rock guitar. </p> <p>His smooth and effortless phrases depict the influence of B.B. King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy and T-Bone Walker, but even at 20 years of age, Clapton has already found a truly distinct and uniquely signature voice as a soloist. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>27. <strong>"Can’t Find My Way Home"</strong><br /> <strong>Blind Faith—<em>Blind Faith</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>Steve Winwood’s gorgeously wistful composition was a highlight of Blind Faith’s one-and-only album. </p> <p>He and Clapton both play acoustic guitars on this elegiac track, which can be read as a swansong for the Sixties—the comedown after the party. Clapton was hitherto known for his explosive electric playing, and his sensitive, supportive acoustic guitar work on this track was a revelation and a harbinger of Clapton ballads to come. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>26. <strong>"Tales of Brave Ulysses"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Live Cream Volume II</em> (1972) </strong></p> <p>This live version of a key song from Cream’s 1967 breakthrough album, <em>Disraeli Gears</em>, was recorded in 1968 and released in 1972, long after Cream split up. </p> <p>It exemplifies the group’s intensely creative way of using its studio recordings as vehicles for extended bouts of fierce freeform improvisation in concert. When Clapton’s wicked wah-pedal leads aren’t taking the spotlight, they’re providing support for Jack Bruce’s equally wild bass riffing, which edges perilously close to avant-garde atonality. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>25. <strong>"Ramblin’ on My Mind"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—E.C. Was Here (1975) </strong></p> <p>Clapton first assayed this song by his seminal influence, bluesman Robert Johnson, on the 1966 <em>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton</em> album, delivering it in a bare-bones piano/guitar duet that marked the guitarist’s vocal debut on record. </p> <p>Nine years later, he revisited the song on his live album <em>E.C. Was Here</em>, this time with a full band backing him. The tempo is slower than the earlier track, and Clapton’s vocal sounds more relaxed. </p> <p>The solo section modulates through a series of key changes (E, Fs, A, D, then back to E), as Clapton fluidly alternates eloquent legato passages with the terse bursts of notes that by this point had become a Slowhand trademark. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>24. <strong>"N.S.U."</strong><br /> <strong>Cream-<em>Live Cream</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>Though it lasts only 2:48 on the studio album <em>Fresh Cream</em>, this Jack Bruce composition would usually be stretched to 10 minutes and beyond in concert, centered around a long jam in A (based on an A7 tonality). </p> <p>Clapton's ingenious opening guitar figure here is executed with hybrid picking (a combination of flatpicking and fingerpicking). </p> <p>While fretting a C root note (fourth string/10th fret) and G a fifth above (second string/eighth fret), he sounds the open G and open high E strings within an alternating-picking pattern. Additional mystery is added to this deceptive riff via the occasional pull-off on the B string from A (10th fret) to G (eighth fret). </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>23. <strong>"Had to Cry Today"</strong><br /> <strong>Blind Faith—<em>Blind Faith</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>Though Blind Faith lasted barely long enough to record a single studio album, this disc captures Clapton at an essential stage in his development as a musician. </p> <p>A photo inside the album shows Clapton playing his 1963 ES-335 through a blonde Fender Showman “piggyback” combo, which was likely used for the recordings. He plugged straight into the amp and used no effects, achieving his full-bodied tone and rich sustain by cranking the amp. </p> <p>His rhythm parts are double-tracked, offering exquisite chordal counterpoint as well as harmonized single-note figures, while his initial solo is as perfectly constructed and melodic as the very best of his recorded solos. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>22. <strong>"I Shot the Sheriff"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—<em>461 Ocean Boulevard</em> (1974)</strong></p> <p>In 1974, Clapton had a Number One hit with his reggae-influenced cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff,” a recording that doesn’t even feature a guitar solo. </p> <p>Wasn’t this guy playing 17-minute versions of “Spoonful” just six years earlier? That’s the point: the song represents Clapton’s evolution as an artist and guitarist, kicking off a stretch of seven studio albums where he morphed from guitar god to hit maker who just happened to play guitar. </p> <p>Ironically, the song evolved into a vehicle for extended soloing. Check out his explosive version of it from the <em>2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival</em> DVD.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>21. <strong>"Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right"</strong><br /> <strong>Various Artists—<em>Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration</em> (1993)</strong></p> <p>Although Johnny Winter and Neil Young contributed their share of electric guitar fireworks to Bob Dylan’s 30th anniversary tribute concert in October 1992, the undisputed guitar highlight of the show was Clapton’s scorching rendition of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” </p> <p>Clapton—who transformed Dylan’s bouncy, fingerstyle acoustic masterpiece into a breezy electric country blues—left no doubt that he could still deliver intense, emotional solos that sent listeners’ hearts skyrocketing. </p> <p>The performance—and Clapton’s crunchy, overdriven Strat tone—foreshadowed his long-awaited, if temporary, return to the blues, 1994’s <em>From the Cradle.</em></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>20. <strong>"Sleepy Time Time (alternate)"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005</em> (2005)</strong></p> <p>Why would Cream’s live reunion album include an extra, “alternate” version of “Sleepy Time Time”? The answer might lie in Clapton’s exhilarating guitar solo. </p> <p>In the Sixties, this Fresh Cream track was a live highlight and vehicle for inspired soloing (See <em>Live Cream</em>). In 2005, Clapton didn’t disappoint. The second half of the solo in particular is full of fireworks—emotion-fueled bends that land in just the right spot, notes that subtly blend major and minor, even an off-the-rails moment when he unintentionally strikes several open strings. </p> <p>From 3:57 to 4:25, close your eyes and it’s 1968 all over again.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>19. <strong>"Steppin’ Out"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Live Cream Volume II</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>One of the many standout tracks from 1966’s <em>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton</em>, “Steppin’ Out” was a staple of Cream’s live shows, as evidenced by this 13:39 version recorded March 10, 1968, at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom. </p> <p>Clapton kicks off his solo by quoting the saxophone solo heard on the 1959 original by Memphis Slim featuring Chicago blues guitarist Matt Murphy, and he incorporates elements of Murphy’s guitar solo phrasing as well. </p> <p>At the four-minute point, bassist Jack Bruce drops out as the song breaks down to a guitar/drum duet, one that will provide endless fascination to those interested in a deep study of Clapton’s soloing style.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>18. <strong>"Groaning the Blues"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—From the Cradle (1994)</strong></p> <p>In a 2011 poll, <em>From the Cradle</em> was voted Clapton’s fourth-best guitar album, sandwiched between Cream’s <em>Wheels of Fire</em> (5) and <em>Disraeli Gears</em> (3). </p> <p>One of From the Cradle’s many guitar highlights is the dramatic and greasy “Groaning the Blues,” a Willie Dixon song recorded by Otis Rush in 1957. Sometime in the Eighties, Clapton began infusing his solos with wild “in the moment” bends. It’s an approach that’s put to effective use on “Groaning the Blues.” </p> <p>His solo, which is peppered with Gatling gun flurries of notes, also features repetitive staccato bends, including one particularly “out there” bend at 3:38. And it all works.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>17. <strong>"Stormy Monday"</strong><br /> <strong>John Mayall &amp; the Bluesbreakers—<em>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (Deluxe Edition)</em> (2009)</strong></p> <p>T-Bone Walker’s signature blues composition, with its jazzily modulated ascent from the I to the IV chord of the standard blues progression, provides a vehicle for some of Clapton’s most explosive soloing ever. </p> <p>This version, recorded live at a Mayall club gig in 1966, fades in on the guitar solo, and it’s clear that Clapton is on fire. The track pairs the guitarist with bassist Jack Bruce, a classic match-up that laid the groundwork for the formation of Cream. This historic audio document reveals what all the excitement was about. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>16. <strong>"The Core"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—<em>Slowhand</em> (1977)</strong></p> <p>At the core of “The Core,” an often-overlooked track from Clapton’s popular <em>Slowhand</em> album, is a crunchy killer of a riff in A. One can’t help but wonder if the song, an almost-nine-minute-long duet with Marcy Levy, would have been a hit had it been edited down and released as a single. </p> <p>It has a lot going for it: a catchy bridge, lyrical depth, a kick-ass sax solo by Mel Collins and one of Clapton’s most exciting guitar solos from his “laid-back” mid-Seventies period. </p> <p>At the 4:13 mark, he unleashes a furious barrage of notes that recalls the Slowhand of 10 years earlier.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>15. <strong>"Sitting on Top of the World"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Goodbye</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>Cream first tackled this venerable blues classic in a studio recording on their <em>Wheels of Fire</em> album, in 1968. </p> <p>But this live version from <em>Goodbye</em>, released shortly after the group split up in 1969, offers a great opportunity for more extended soloing on Clapton’s part. </p> <p>By approaching the time-honored 12-bar structure with a degree of rhythmic freedom bordering on reckless abandon, bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker coax inventive phrases of remarkable fire and fluidity from Clapton and his ax. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>14. <strong>"Sunshine of Your Love"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Disraeli Gears</em> (1967)</strong></p> <p>Perhaps the most artistic and certainly the most famous example of Clapton’s “woman tone,” this song features the guitarist wailing on his 1964 Gibson SG with its volume cranked and tone control rolled all the way off to produce a thick, dark, sustaining tone.</p> <p>Clapton milks the tone for all it’s worth in his solo by spending just as much time bending and smoothly shaking notes as he does burning though D major and minor pentatonic licks. </p> <p>He begins what would become one of his most memorable solos by quoting the melody to the old standard “Blue Moon,” cleverly juxtaposing it over this song’s sinister D blues-scale bass riff. His finger vibratos in the intro/verse riff and solo are laudable for their consistently even amplitude and width, and they serve as a great example of what it means to be a seasoned rock lead guitarist.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>13. <strong>"Hideaway"</strong><br /> <strong>John Mayall &amp; the Bluesbreakers—<em>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton</em> (1966)</strong></p> <p>This tour de force reading of the classic Freddie King instrumental established Clapton as Britain’s foremost blues guitarist. </p> <p>It’s also one of the tracks that made guitarists everywhere covet a sunburst Les Paul Standard and Marshall Model 1962 “Bluesbreaker” combo amp, the setup responsible for Clapton’s blistering guitar tone on the record. </p> <p>Clapton is often at his best in the 12-bar idiom, and this is one of his strongest performances ever. The band breaks out of the composition’s main shuffle groove for a number of rhythmic change-ups, including a quotation of Elmore James’ signature “Dust My Broom” riff.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>12. <strong>"Have You Ever Loved a Woman"</strong><br /> <strong>Derek and the Dominos-<em>Layla</em> (1970)</strong></p> <p>This 1961 Freddie King song is a Clapton staple, one that he has performed at nearly every concert since 1970, the year that he cut this version of it with Derek and the Dominos. </p> <p>Within the first five seconds of his intro solo, we hear blazing virtuosity combined with deep feeling and pure originality. </p> <p>Through both his intro and two-chorus solo, Clapton floats over the beat with beautifully free phrases, with his “Brownie” Stratocaster plugged straight into a tiny Fender tweed Deluxe cranked to 10. It is simply one of the greatest and most inspired electric blues solos ever recorded. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>11. <strong>"Presence of the Lord"</strong><br /> <strong>Blind Faith—<em>Blind Faith</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>Backed by a powerhouse, dream-team rhythm section of drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Ric Grech, Clapton kicks this soulful, gospel-flavored ballad into high gear during the double-time solo/interlude section that he initiates midway through the arrangement with a Hendrix-style, wah-inflected A minor pentatonic riff. </p> <p>This ushers in a rhythmically charged, psychedelic jam at 2:42, for which Clapton ran his Gibson Firebird’s signal through a Leslie rotary-speaker cabinet, set on slow to produce a swirly, phasing sound that ebbs and flows around his scorching melodic phrases. </p> <p>Clapton masterfully uses the wah and rotary speaker effects to accentuate the peaks and valleys in his licks and plays with a flowing, articulate touch, balancing quick bursts of 16th notes with held bends and vibratos, displaying his trademark spot-on control over both his timing and pitch.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>10. <strong>"Sleepy Time Time"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Live Cream</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>Cream’s initial inspiration grew from their dedication to a trailblazing, group-improvisational reinvention of blues forms, including Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” and Skip James’ “I’m So Glad.” </p> <p>This track, which they originally cut in the studio for their late-1966 debut, <em>Fresh Cream</em>, offers bassist Jack Bruce’s singularly twisted view of a swinging 12/8 “modern” blues in a more condensed but no less cutting-edge form, as compared to the 15-plus-minute jams that highlighted Cream’s performances. </p> <p><em>Live Cream</em> combines four tracks recorded March 7–10, 1968, in San Francisco at the Fillmore West and Winterland Ballroom, plus one studio outtake, “Lawdy Mama.” Cream played a staggering 200 shows in 1967 and, after just two weeks off, resumed an equally grueling schedule from the very start of 1968. </p> <p>This LP captures them during their 223rd to 226th performances in just 14 months, so it’s no wonder they achieve the purely magical in-sync group improvisation displayed on this track and in evidence throughout this album.</p> <p>Playing through a pair of 100-watt Marshall stacks (using the 1960A and 1960B “tall” 4x12 bottom cabinets), Clapton produced a massive sound. There is debate over which guitar he used on specific live recordings, as he alternately played his 1964 “The Fool” Gibson SG, 1964 Firebird I and 1963 ES-335 during this period, though some photos from the 1968 tour show him with a Les Paul.</p> <p>Clapton’s soloing here evokes the influence of B.B. King as he moves deftly between phrases based on C minor pentatonic (C Ef F G Bf) and C major pentatonic (C D E G A). His lightning-fast hammer-pulls and heavenly “floating” vibrato illustrate why the 23-year-old Clapton was called God during this period. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>09. <strong>"Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?"</strong><br /> <strong>Derek and the Dominos—<em>Live at the Fillmore</em> (1994)</strong></p> <p>In 1969, following the implosion of Cream and the short-lived Blind Faith, Clapton found himself at a career crossroads. </p> <p>Disillusioned and directionless, he joined the powerhouse husband/wife-led Delaney &amp; Bonnie and Friends as a sideman, and by that summer he appropriated Delaney Bramlett (with his entire band in tow) to produce his first solo release, Eric Clapton. </p> <p>Three musicians from this lineup—bassist Carl Radle, keyboardist and singer Bobby Whitlock and drummer Jim Gordon—formed the nucleus of Clapton’s next band, Derek and the Dominos, who recorded the seminal <em>Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs</em> in the summer of 1970 and toured as a four-piece through August. </p> <p>The Dominos’ live shows were filled with long jams, and at nearly 15 minutes, “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?” was one of the longest, opening with an extended wah-infused funk workout. With stellar high-harmony vocals added by Whitlock, this four-piece emits a huge sound. </p> <p>Clapton’s first solo has all the fire, fury and melodicism of his greatest playing, his 1956 “Brownie” Stratocaster screaming pure virtuosity and conviction. The second half of the song is a seven-plus-minute D major jam during which the 25-year-old guitarist displays inspired chordal and single-line inventiveness.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>08. <strong>"Badge"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Goodbye</em> (1969)</strong></p> <p>Much like “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (see entry 34), Cream’s “Badge” is the result of a strong and ultimately long-lasting friendship between Clapton and the Beatles’ George Harrison. </p> <p>When Cream decided to call it quits in late 1968, each member of the band, including Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, was required to come up with a new song for the group’s final album, <em>Goodbye</em>, the remainder of which would be filled with live cuts. </p> <p>Clapton called on Harrison for assistance. “I was writing the words down, and when we came to the middle bit, I wrote ‘Bridge,’ ” Harrison said. “And from where [Eric] was sitting, opposite me, he looked and said, ‘What’s that—Badge?’ ” Clapton wound up calling the song “Badge” because it made him laugh. For the session, which took place only a month after “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” Harrison played rhythm guitar. </p> <p>Clapton, playing a shimmering, Beatles-inspired arpeggio riff through a Leslie rotary-speaker cabinet, enters the song at 1:06 and plays the rest of the way through. His guitar solo was overdubbed later. </p> <p>The brilliant solo, which lasts a cozy 33 seconds, is a prime example of a “composition within a composition.” It finds Clapton sending his considerable blues chops through a pop-rock funnel, something he’d do on and off for the next 45-plus years.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>07. <strong>"Spoonful"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Fresh Cream</em> (1966)</strong></p> <p>Just as “Crossroads” introduced a new generation of music fans to the mystique of Robert Johnson, Cream’s “Spoonful” brought extra exposure to Willie Dixon, who wrote the song, and Howlin’ Wolf, who originally recorded it in 1960. </p> <p>And while Howlin’ Wolf’s stark-and-dark version is haunting in its own right, Cream’s take on the song—driven by Clapton’s guitar and Jack Bruce’s heavy bass—moves it several steps further along. </p> <p>Clapton’s solo, which starts at 2:23, seems almost playful at first, as if he’s toying with the listener, but at 2:46, things take a sudden and profound turn toward the dramatic. He plays a series of notes—virtual howls and moans—high on the neck, punctuating them with several perfectly timed cracks at his low E string. </p> <p>At 3:31, he launches into a completely new melody, taking Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker along for the ride. Clapton’s tone on the track, a unique dense, reverb-drenched sound that only a Gibson humbucker could produce, stands alone in Cream’s canon and in Clapton’s entire discography. </p> <p>At Cream’s live shows, “Spoonful,” like several other songs, gave the band members plenty of room to stretch out, as can be heard on the sensational, nearly 17-minute-long version on Cream’s <em>Wheels of Fire.</em></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>06. <strong>"Layla"</strong><br /> <strong>Derek and the Dominos—<em>Layla</em> (1970)</strong></p> <p>Having played with several of the most influential bands of the Sixties, Clapton launched the Seventies with a new group of his own devising, Derek and the Dominos. </p> <p>He wrote this tune—the title track of their debut album—to express his unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, who was George Harrison’s wife at the time but would leave Harrison for Clapton later in the Seventies. The song’s killer main riff was something Clapton cooked up with legendary guitarist Duane Allman, who guested on the Derek and the Dominos sessions at the suggestion of producer Tom Dowd. </p> <p>The unusual half-step downward modulation from the D minor main riff/chorus key signature to the verses, which are in D flat minor, enhances the despairing mood of Clapton’s lovelorn lyric. </p> <p>There’s a deep sense of musical telepathy in the way his bluesy Strat lines interweave with Allman’s eerily spectral slide guitar improvisations during the song’s extended solo over the main riff structure. This gives way to the track’s stately piano-driven coda, penned by Dominos drummer Jim Gordon and affording Allman and Clapton even more real estate over which to stretch out. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>05. <strong>"Let It Rain"</strong><br /> <strong>Eric Clapton—<em>Eric Clapton</em> (1970)</strong></p> <p>This tastefully arranged song from Clapton’s debut solo album begins with the guitarist overdubbing a sweet-sounding mini choir of three harmony-lead guitars with perfectly synchronized finger slides and vibratos. </p> <p>Together they create the effect of one instrument playing a melody harmonized in triads, but with the brightness and clarity that can only be achieved by three separate single-note lines, or “voices.” Clapton recorded this song on Brownie, his Fender Stratocaster, using its bright single-coil bridge pickup for his lead parts to achieve a brilliant tone and crystal-clear note definition.</p> <p>Clapton’s solo over the song’s outro features his signature polished finger vibrato and use of parallel major and minor pentatonic scales (both in the key of A in this case). He begins by riding out on the high A root note on the high E string’s 17th fret with alternate-picked 16th notes. </p> <p>Clapton then proceeds to travel down the string through the A Mixolydian mode (A B C# D E F# G)—a distinctly different approach to position playing—before gravitating toward A major pentatonic box shapes, using multiple hammer-ons and pull-offs to create a succession of repetition licks with syncopated “threes on fours” rhythmic phrasing that creates an almost banjo-like country feel. </p> <p>While Clapton’s lead tone here is markedly brighter than what he used earlier in his career, his unique style, as determined by his phrasing, string bending and vibrato, remains his signature. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>04. <strong>"Steppin’ Out"</strong><br /> <strong>John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers—<em>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton</em></strong></p> <p>“Steppin’ Out” is one of Clapton’s best-known Bluesbreakers tracks, and with good reason. Along with “Hideaway” (see entry 13), it delivers the heftiest dose of Clapton’s solid, mind-blowing tone and ferocious playing. </p> <p>This upbeat, straightforward blues instrumental in G finds him borrowing bits and pieces from Memphis Slim’s original 1959 version. Clapton (along with John Mayall on keyboards) plays the figure from Slim’s piano intro and then references the track’s tenor sax solo.</p> <p>At the 54-second mark, he incorporates an ingenious “scraping” technique from the original guitar solo, which was played by Matt “Guitar” Murphy, who would go on to join the Blues Brothers Band in the late Seventies. </p> <p>But there’s a lot more going on here. Clapton incorporates some serious finger vibrato on the 12th fret of the G string—which only adds to the sustain produced by his overdriven Marshall amp—and he uses finger slides as he shifts between several positions of the G minor pentatonic scale. </p> <p>The well-paced solo ends with Clapton, much like his idols B.B. King and Buddy Guy, bending high on the neck before returning to the intro figure. It’s worth noting that he recorded other versions of “Steppin’ Out” with his short-lived 1966 supergroup the Powerhouse and with Cream, including the knockout 14-minute version on <em>Live Cream Volume II</em>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>03. <strong>"White Room"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Wheels of Fire</em> (1968)</strong></p> <p>Penned by Cream bassist Jack Bruce and Swinging London poet Pete Brown, “White Room” provided a suitably glorious opening track for Cream’s third album, 1968’s <em>Wheels of Fire</em>. </p> <p>From the first notes of the song’s 5/4 bolero intro, it’s clear that this is a landmark recording. Clapton’s mysteriously evocative layered guitar textures set a mood of high drama before the main 4/4 groove kicks in with an irresistible invitation to some serious hippie-era proto-head banging. </p> <p>The descending D minor verse progression is reminiscent of Cream’s earlier epic track “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” which is said to have been based on the chord pattern in the Lovin’ Spoonful’s 1966 hit “Summer in the City.”</p> <p>“White Room” contains some of Clapton’s finest wah-pedal artistry. He employs the device to create fluttery, aquatic magic in the choruses and to answer Bruce’s verse vocal lines with incandescent leads that match the fevered intensity of Brown’s lyrical imagery.</p> <p>Breaking with the time-honored tradition of putting a guitar solo in the middle of a song, “White Room” waits for the outro fade to unleash the full fury of Clapton’s slashing, psychedelic blues-wah frenzy. Clearly, they saved the best for last.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>02. <strong>"Have You Heard"</strong><br /> <strong>John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers—<em>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton</em> (1966)</strong></p> <p>Quite frankly, if Clapton’s “Have You Heard” guitar solo doesn’t cause heart palpitations, shortness of breath or at least a mild case of goose bumps, you might want to seek medical help. </p> <p>The dramatic, 73-second pentatonic masterpiece is hands down the most frenetic, passionate solo of the guitarist’s 51-year career. The solo, which bursts out of the starting gate at the 3:25 mark, strings together a series of spectacularly intense, incendiary bends, hammer-ons, strategically timed position shifts, and slides. </p> <p>Clapton caps it off with a bevy of climactic high notes, an earmark of his solos on <em>Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton</em>. All of it is delivered via his groundbreaking new sound, a solid, sustained, overdriven tone that he forged by plugging a 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard into a 42-watt Marshall 2x12 combo and cranking it up to ear-splitting levels.</p> <p>On the album, Clapton burns and bedazzles like a futuristic amalgam of his many influences, including Freddie King, Otis Rush, Hubert Sumlin and Buddy Guy. Amazingly, Clapton was only 21 (about to turn 22) when <em>Blues Breakers</em> was recorded in March 1966. </p> <p>Even if he had simply vanished or faded away after the release of the album that summer (much like his stolen and still-missing 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard), he still would have earned a respected place in the annals of electric blues guitar. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>01. <strong>"Crossroads"</strong><br /> <strong>Cream—<em>Wheels of Fire</em> (1968)
</strong></p> <p>“Crossroads” has long been regarded as Eric Clapton’s most inspired and well-crafted lead guitar performance, and with good reason. </p> <p>This live, highly reworked cover of Robert Johnson’s “Cross Road Blues” features him and band mates Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker performing some intense—and extended—interactive jamming on a 12-bar blues in A, set to an uptempo, double-time groove with a driving even-, or “straight-,” eighths feel. </p> <p>The high point comes during the arrangement’s second, prolonged guitar solo, when the group engages in a rhythmically dense improvisation that represents the exhilarating apex of blues-rock freeform jamming. Conjuring a killer creamy tone with his 1964 Gibson SG Standard and stacks of 100-watt Marshall amps, Clapton exploits the rig’s available sustain, using his signature vocal-like finger vibrato technique to make his guitar sing.</p> <p>Particularly noteworthy is Clapton’s consistently wide and impeccably intonated bend vibratos (bent notes that are then shaken), especially during his upper-register second solo, which he plays mainly in the 17th-position A minor pentatonic (A C D E G) “box” pattern. </p> <p>He combines notes from this scale with those from the parallel A major pentatonic (A B C# E F#) to create varying hues of melodic “light and shade,” more so during his first solo, and seamlessly shifts/drifts from one position to the next by using legato finger slides. </p> <p>The result is a performance that ably supports the then-popular declaration that Clapton is God. “Crossroads” may be a song about striking a deal with the Devil, but this recording shows Clapton in supreme command of his divine powers. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" 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="/eric-clapton">Eric Clapton</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/cream">Cream</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Cream Damian Fanelli Derek and The Dominoes Eric Clapton GW Archive GWLinotte March 2014 The Yardbirds Guitar World Lists News Features Magazine Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:57:17 +0000 Damian Fanelli, Alan di Perna, Jimmy Brown, Andy Aledort The Top 10 Biggest Hair Bands ... Literally <!--paging_filter--><p>Face it: They weren’t called “hair” bands for nothin’. In fact, the copious coifs of the artists on this list were so high, the FAA had to adjust flight patterns whenever these bands hit town.</p> <p>And don't just take our word for it. Check out the photo gallery after the list!</p> <p><strong>10. Whitesnake</strong> Most people think that Tawny Kitaen married Whitesnake singer David Coverdale for his big, um, white snake. Truth is she fell for his massive head ... of hair.</p> <p><strong>09. Cinderella</strong> The cover of their debut, <em>Night Songs</em>, depicts the four members of Cinderella standing in a dark alley. Insider secret: It wasn’t really dark — their hair was just blocking the sun.</p> <p><strong>08. Britny Fox</strong> The duties of a guitar tech are many and various, and this was particularly true for guitarist Michael Kelly Smith’s tech. Let’s see — cleaning, polishing, maintenance. Oh, and when he was done with Smith’s hair, he’d work on his guitars, too.</p> <p><strong>07. Firehouse</strong> These guys finally found the love of a lifetime, and her name was Aqua Net. Unfortunately for Firehouse, their debut record came out the same year as Nirvana’s <em>Nevermind</em> — and for hair metal, that was all she wrote.</p> <p><strong>06. Mötley Crüe</strong> If you had the vinyl version of <em>Shout at the Devil</em>, you’ll recall it was a fold-out cover featuring Vince, Nikki, Mick and Tommy in living color, with four of the biggest heavy metal hairdos of all time. Makes you wonder if the band was standing in a pool of water when they came in contact with a “live wire.”</p> <p><strong>05. Winger</strong> When your name is Kip Winger, you’re pretty much doomed to a life of ridicule, so big hair can only help. But when a respected stick man like Rod Morgenstein, formerly of the Dixie Dregs, buys into the bigger-is-better philosophy of money-making hair, something’s terribly wrong.</p> <p><strong>04. Twisted Sister</strong> It’s rather appropriate that the <em>now</em> ponytailed <a href="">Dee Snider</a> hosts the weekly <em>House of Hair</em> radio gig. In 2001, his famous curls made a comeback when he performed “Lady Marmalade” with Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink. Oh wait, that was Christina Aguilera.</p> <p><strong>03. Stryper</strong> Michael and Robert Sweet possessed feathered ’dos that even a peacock would envy, but guitarist Oz Fox takes top prize for monumental moptop. What would Jesus say?</p> <p><strong>02. Vixen</strong> Soft rocker (and big-hair farmer) Richard Marx helped kickstart this all-female band by co-writing their signature hit, "Edge of a Broken Heart." We can't confirm whether or not he also co-styled their bountiful hair for that song's music video.</p> <p><strong>01. Poison</strong> Only Vixen could hang with Poison in the Aqua Net marathon, except they weren’t nearly as pretty as Bret, C.C., Bobby and Rikki.</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="/twisted-sister">Twisted Sister</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/motley-crue">Motley Crue</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Dee Snider Motley Crue Twisted Sister Guitar World Lists News Features Wed, 25 Mar 2015 15:42:23 +0000 Guitar World Staff Pedal to the Metal: The 25 Greatest Wah Solos of All Time <!--paging_filter--><p>Since the guitar's inception, there have been countless talented players who could make the instrument sing, but it wasn't until the mid-Sixties and the arrival of the wah pedal that guitarists could make it cry.</p> <p>Perhaps because it entered the collective consciousness at the hands—or feet, rather—of guitar gods like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, the wah pedal has been a vital part of the rock and roll lexicon since it was introduced by Vox, finding favor with guitarists who wanted to bring a whole new level of expressive possibilities to their playing. </p> <p>More than any other effect pedal, the wah has played a key role in some of modern guitar's shining moments, from Slash's epic, ascending run in "Sweet Child O' Mine" to Eddie Hazel making wah synonymous with funk in the Seventies to Hendrix simply doing that voodoo that he did so well. </p> <p>In honor of its place in rock history, the <em>Guitar World</em> staff recently picked out the very best wah solo moments of all time, each a snapshot of a great guitarist letting his voice be heard through a truly rock and roll pedal. Of course, we considered the quality of the solo itself and the song's iconic status in the world of rock and roll.</p> <p><strong>25. "1969" — The Stooges (<em>The Stooges</em>, 1969)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Ron Asheton </p> <p>Raw, visceral and distorted to the max, Ron Asheton's solo on this Stooges classic may not win any composition awards, but it was the perfect compliment to Iggy Pop's gutteral snarl.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>24. "Walk Away" — James Gang (<em>Thirds</em>, 1971)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Joe Walsh</p> <p>It comes in just at the end of the song, but Joe Walsh's solo spot on "Walk Away" is a bit of a late-in-the-game show-stealer. Since 2007, Walsh has had his very own <a href=",3">signature wah</a> made by Real McCoy Custom.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>23. "Cult of Personality" — Living Colour (<em>Vivid</em>, 1988)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Vernon Reid</p> <p>"Cult of Personality" was the song that instantly made Vernon Reid a household name in the alt metal community, combining manic use of the wah with a stream-of-conscious flurry of notes straight from the mind of a true guitar junky. Even more impressive, Reid stated in a 1988 <a href=""><em>Guitar World</em> interview</a> that the solo was a first take.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>22. "25 or 6 to 4" — Chicago (<em>Chicago</em>, 1970)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Terry Kath</p> <p>On the second half of a lengthy guitar solo on this Chicago classic, Terry Kath introduces a distortion-drenched, wah-driven guitar line that melds incredibly well with the song's horn section. Fun fact: Kath was once referred to as "the best guitar player in the universe" by Jimi Hendrix.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>21. "Maggot Brain" — Funkadelic (<em>Maggot Brain</em>, 1971)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Eddie Hazel</p> <p>On the opposite end of the the spectrum from the ultra-tight, ultra-clean guitar sounds many listeners identify with funk is Eddie Hazel's tone on this 10-plus-minute track from Funkadelic, which features no vocals and serves primarily as a vehicle for Hazel to explore the deepest reaches of space in his wah-wah-powered mothership.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>20. "Stop" — Jane's Addiction (<em>Ritual de lo habitual</em>, 1990)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Dave Navarro</p> <p>Written all the way back in 1986, it would take four years for this <em>Ritual de lo habitual</em> cut to be unleashed upon the music world as large, climbing to No. 1 on the <em>Billboard</em> Modern Rock Tracks behind the strength of a high-energy performance from vocalist Perry Farrell and a muscular, wah-driven lead from Dave Navarro.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>19. "The Needle and the Spoon" — Lynyrd Skynyrd (<em>Second Helping</em>, 1974)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Allen Collins</p> <p>A clear tip of the hat to Eric Clapton's solo from "White Room," Allen Collins pulls out the wah to blend Sixties psychedelia seamlessly into a bona-fide Southern-rock classic.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>18. "If You Have to Ask" — Red Hot Chili Peppers (<em>Blood Sugar Sex Magik</em>, 1991)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> John Frusciante</p> <p>On this cut from 1991's mega-selling <em>Blood Sugar Sex Magik</em>, Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante turns in a sparse, stop-start wah solo fitting for the song's funk-rock minimalism. Fun fact: On the studio version, you can hear the band and production crew applauding Frusciante's guitar work as the song comes to an end.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>17. "Whole Lotta Love" — Led Zeppelin (<em>Led Zeppelin II</em>, 1969)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong></p> <p>While much of the bizzare, alien soundscape in the middle section of "Whole Lotta Love" is directly attributable to Jimmy Page's groundbreaking use of backwards tape echo and Page and engineer Eddie Kramer "twiddling every knob known to man," the wah pedal does make an appearance, adding a valuable, extra dimension to Page's most otherworldly guitar work this side of the <em>Lucifer Rising</em> soundtrack.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>16. "The Joker" — Steve Miller Band (<em>The Joker</em>, 1973)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Steve Miller</p> <p>Perfect for all those midnight tokers out there, Steve Miller's laid-back lead work on "The Joker" doesn't go overboard on the wah, opting instead for the tasteful, restrained approach. Fun fact: This song shot back to the top of the charts in 1990, thanks to a popular ad for Levi's jeans.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>15. "I Ain't Superstitious" — Jeff Beck Group (<em>Truth</em>, 1968)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Jeff Beck</p> <p>On the debut album from the Jeff Beck Group, Beck uses this wah-laden take on a Howlin' Wolf tune to show off his mastery of the multitude of sounds one can coax out of a guitar. Somehow, he still continues to baffle us with this skill.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>14. "Blue on Black" — Kenny Wayne Shepherd (<em>Trouble Is ...</em>, 1997)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Kenny Wayne Shepherd</p> <p>Kenny Wayne Shepherd burst into the mainstream consciousness with this cut off his 1997 album, <em>Trouble Is ...</em> Any questions over who he was hoping to channel are laid to rest with the inclusion of a cover of "Voodoo Child" as the single's B-side.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>13. "Pain and Sorrow" — Joe Bonamassa (<em>So, It's Like That</em>, 2002</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Joe Bonamassa</p> <p>Another blues-rock revivalist, Joe Bonamassa lays out some fiery wah work on this deep cut from his sophomore album, <em>So, It's Like That</em>. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>12. "Blinded by the Light" — Manfred Mann's Earth Band (<em>The Roaring Silence</em>, 1976)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Dave Flett</p> <p>This tune may have originally been written by Bruce Springsteen, but it didn't become a hit—and eventually a classic—until guitarist Dave Flett and the rest of Manfred Mann's Earth Band got a hold of it for 1976's <em>The Roaring Silence</em>. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>11. "Gets Me Through" — Ozzy Osbourne (<em>Down to Earth</em>, 2001)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Zakk Wylde</p> <p>Split between powerful melodies and a heaping helping of shred, the solo from "Gets Me Through" sees Zakk Wylde take his Hendrix Cry Baby to the edge and back on this standout track from Ozzy's 2001 comeback record. </p> <p>Zakk would eventually merit his <a href="">very own wah pedal, complete with the Fasel inductor that was responsible for some of the classic wah sounds of the Sixties.</a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>10. "Surfing with the Alien" — Joe Satriani (<em>Surfing with the Alien</em>, 1987)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Joe Satriani</p> <p>"Surfing with the Alien" sees Joe Satriani put the pedal to the metal in every conceivable sense, not the least of which is his stunning work with the wah pedal. </p> <p>Paired with a Tubedriver and a classic Eventide 949, the wah provides just enough control over his alien tone for Satch to weave his way in and out of an asteroid belt of notes.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>09. "Turn Up the Night" — Black Sabbath (<em>Mob Rules</em>, 1981)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Tony Iommi</p> <p>It's a rare occasion when Tony Iommi brings out the wah, but on this <em>Mob Rules</em> cut, the Godfather of Heavy Metal uses it too great effect, upping the aggression level one step further on what may be his most furious studio solo.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>08. "Telephone Song" — Vaughan Brothers (<em>Family Style</em>, 1990)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Stevie Ray Vaughan</p> <p>Were you expecting to see the long-winded instrumental "Say What!" from Vaughan's <em>Soul to Soul</em> album? Not a chance, not when this mini-masterpiece of a wah solo exists. </p> <p>Even without the wah, it's one of his best-constructed, catchiest solos. This track comes from SRV's first full album with his brother, Jimmie Vaughan—which, sadly, turned out to be his last record.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>07. "Bad Horsie" — Steve Vai (<em>Alien Love Secrets</em>, 1995)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Steve Vai</p> <p>Like Hendrix before him, Steve Vai wanted to take the wah pedal to its limits, and he accomplished just that on his 1995 EP, <em>Alien Love Secrets</em>. </p> <p>And in all due fairness to the remaining songs on the list, "Bad Horsie" remains the only track in this whole feature to have its own wah <a href=",2">named after it</a>. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>06. "Even Flow" — Pearl Jam (<em>Ten</em>, 1991)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Mike McCready</p> <p>"That's me pretending to be Stevie Ray Vaughan," Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready told <em>Guitar World</em> of his classic solo from "Even Flow" back in 1995. </p> <p>A fitting tribute to the late SRV, the solo saw McCready break out the wah and churn out perhaps the most iconic solo of the grunge era.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>05. "A New Level" — Pantera (<em>Vulgar Display of Power</em>, 1992)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Dimebag Darrell</p> <p>Dimebag Darrell is among those guitarists that utilized the wah pedal more subtly, using it as a tone control in most cases. This isn't one of those cases. </p> <p>Darrell's use of the wah on his "A New Level" solo is as surgically precise as one comes to expect from the master craftsman, lending an all new connotation to the phrase, "on a Dime."</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>04. "Enter Sandman" — Metallica (<em>Metallica</em>, 1991)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Kirk Hammett</p> <p>We're going to let Kirk take this one: "There's something about a wah pedal that really gets my gut going! </p> <p>People will probably say, 'He's just hiding behind the wah.' But that isn't the case. It's just that those frequencies really bring out a lot of aggression in my approach." (Read the full 1991 interview with James and Kirk <a href="">here</a>)</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>03. "Sweet Child O' Mine" — Guns N' Roses (<em>Appetite for Destruction</em>, 1987)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Slash</p> <p>Known to break out the wah and fiddle around with "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" as a live lead-in for "Civil War," Slash forged his own piece of rock and roll history with his unforgettable ascending run into one of the shining moments in Eighties guitar rock. </p> <p>Bookended by the feral yowl of frontman Axl Rose, Slash makes this would-be ballad anything but with a fierce lead made possible by a stock Cry Baby wah.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>02. "White Room" — Cream (<em>Wheels of Fire</em>, 1968)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Eric Clapton</p> <p>A masterful performance on "Tales of Brave Ulysses aside," with "White Room," Eric Clapton virtually wrote the book on how the wah pedal would be used in the context of rock guitar for decades to come. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>01. "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" — The Jimi Hendrix Experience (<em>Electric Ladyland</em>, 1968)</strong><br /> <strong>Soloist:</strong> Jimi Hendrix</p> <p>The go-to song of any guitarist trying out a new wah pedal at Guitar Center, "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" stands as a mammoth moment in rock history, setting a mark that has yet to be breached by any ambitious guitarist with a Cry Baby and a dream. </p> <p>Of the song's recording, engineer Eddie Kramer recalls that the track "was recorded the day after Jimi tracked 'Voodoo Chile,' the extended jam on <em>Electric Ladyland</em> featuring Traffic’s Stevie Winwood on organ and Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady. </p> <p>Basically, Jimi used the same setup — his Strat through a nice, warm Fender Bassman amp. Jimi’s sound on both tracks is remarkably consistent, leading some to think they were recorded at the same session.” Stevie Ray Vaughan's version is no slouch either, by the way. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" 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="/jimi-hendrix">Jimi Hendrix</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/eric-clapton">Eric Clapton</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stevie-ray-vaughan">Stevie Ray Vaughan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/jeff-beck">Jeff Beck</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/steve-vai">Steve Vai</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Cream Eric Clapton Guns N' Roses Jimi Hendrix Metallica Slash Stevie Ray Vaughan Guitar World Lists News Features Fri, 20 Mar 2015 14:30:40 +0000 Guitar World Staff, Intro by Josh Hart The 100 Greatest Metallica Songs of All Time <!--paging_filter--><p>Metallica are undeniably the most influential rock band of the past 30 years. That fact can be perceived simply by looking at the numbers. </p> <p>They are on the exclusive list of music artists who have sold more than 100 million records, and each of their albums has enjoyed multi-Platinum status, an achievement that even AC/DC, the Rolling Stones and U2 haven’t matched. </p> <p>And while they’ve never really had a bona fide pop hit, dozens of Metallica songs — including “Seek and Destroy,” “Master of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman” — have become vital landmarks on the vast landscape of music history, inspiring new generations of music fans and aspiring guitarists much the same way “Johnny B. Goode,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Stairway to Heaven” inspired previous generations.</p> <p>In that respect, Metallica’s influence can be observed simply by tuning into the very culture of modern music. To put it simply, Metallica redefined metal music. During the early Eighties, bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest were considered heavy metal. But after Metallica burst out of the underground and into mainstream awareness, the terms heavy and metal didn’t quite seem to fit those bands any more. </p> <p>Metallica’s sonic signatures — extreme high-gain distortion, rapid-fire down-picked riffs and jackhammer double–bass drum rhythms — became the new vernacular for metal. Since Metallica’s arrival in 1983, thousands of bands—including industrial groups like Ministry, nu-metal newcomers like Korn and unabashed Metallica clones like Trivium—have adopted those characteristics as their own. </p> <p>Having deep influences has certainly helped Metallica hone their craft. Drummer Lars Ulrich’s vast collection of Seventies Euro metal, punk rock and NWOBHM records provided a bottomless well of inspiration during Metallica’s early days, when the band consisted of Ulrich, guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett (who replaced founding guitarist Dave Mustaine) and bassist Cliff Burton. </p> <p>The band members never stopped searching for new inspirations, discovering unlikely muses like Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western scores, Tom Waits’ lowlife junkyard blues and Nick Cave’s gothic post-punk swamp rock. Along the way they lost members: Burton died in 1986 and was replaced by Jason Newsted, who left in 2001 and was later replaced by Robert Trujillo. But even as Metallica evolved from progressive thrash epics in the Eighties to shorter and more melodic songs in the Nineties, they never lost the essence of their personality — an indefinable intensity that makes Metallica songs as recognizable as any classic from the Beatles or Led Zeppelin catalogs.</p> <p>Considering the band’s lasting and ever-growing influence, we felt an examination of its contributions was long overdue. The following 100 songs are significant mileposts that have shaped and defined much of the hard rock and metal music made today, and they’re also the source of some of the coolest riffs ever written for the guitar. No wonder Metallica remain a powerful force to be reckoned with.</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="/metallica">Metallica</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> GW Archive Metallica Guitar World Lists News Features Magazine Wed, 18 Mar 2015 15:22:52 +0000 Guitar World Staff Need for Speed: The 50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time <!--paging_filter--><p>From Les Paul to Paul Gilbert, Johnny Winter to Johnny Hiland, and Paco De Lucia to Al Di Meola, fleet-fingered guitarists have made their mark in every genre throughout the modern history of the guitar. </p> <p><em>Guitar World</em> exceeds the legal limit with this roundup—in alphabetical order—of the 50 fastest masters of the fretboard.</p> <p><strong>Trey Azagthoth</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Summoning Redemption”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Gateways to Annihilation</em> (MORBID ANGEL)</p> <p>When a guitarist cites Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen and Mozart as influences, you could probably bet your life savings he’s a shredder.</p> <p>But guitarist Trey Azagthoth is not the typical fret burner, preferring the brute force and bludgeoning energy of death metal over the more rarified air of instrumental rock. </p> <p>Azagthoth’s rough and raw solos sound completely spontaneous, eschewing the technical precision of a prewritten solo for sheer emotion that comes directly from the gut.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Mick Barr</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Part 1”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Annwn</em> (OCRILIM) <p>He may look like some geek from a Tolkien fest who has an unhealthy obsession with Gollum, but precious few players can match Mick Barr’s intensity and speed, which has reportedly been clocked at up to 24 notes per second. </p> <p>The music that Barr records under the pseudonyms Octis, Ocrilim, Or:12r3 and Orthrelm is challenging, to say the least, for its avant-garde atonal melodies. But although it may sound like noodling to the untrained ear, Barr’s bizarre scales and lack of repetition prove that he’s working on another level altogether. </p> <p>It’s rock, Jim, but not as we know it.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Michael Angelo Batio</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Full Force”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Lucid Intervals and Moments of Clarity</em> <p>Michael Angelo Batio encompasses everything a shred guitar hero should be. </p> <p>Renaissance-inspired name? Check. Insanely fast, overthe- top (literally) ambidextrous technique? Check. Wacky, unconventional dual- and quad-neck instruments? Check and check.</p> <p>Casual music fans may consider Batio little more than an oddity or cult figure ( didn’t even bother writing a bio for him or rating any of his seven albums), but real guitar fans know and appreciate him as the shred god he truly is. As generous as he is gifted, Batio has revealed the secrets of his incredible technique to players like Tom Morello and Mark Tremonti as well as to readers of his old <em>Guitar World</em> columns. </p> <p>Even with his help, we still can’t figure out how he plays so friggin’ fast.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Jason Becker</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Seranna”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Perspective</em> <p>A titan of neoclassical shredding, Jason Becker’s astounding arpeggios made him a youthful champion of the Shrapnel Records stable in the late Eighties. </p> <p>He went on to play with David Lee Roth but was stricken with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) while working on Roth’s 1991 album, <em>A Little Ain’t Enough</em>. The condition has left him almost completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but he continues to compose music via a computer program that can track the movements of his eyes and head. </p> <p>His courage, determination and continued creativity in the face of extreme difficulty are every bit as inspiring as the dazzling virtuosity of his youthful guitar work.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Jimmy Bryant</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “China Boy”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Swingin’ on the Strings</em> (JIMMY BRYANT &amp; SPEEDY WEST) <p>Jazz legend Barney Kessel once called Jimmy Bryant “the fastest and the cleanest guitar player I have known.” </p> <p>Listening to Bryant’s timeless instrumental duos with pedal steel guitarist Speedy West, one instantly realizes that Kessel wasn’t complimenting Bryant’s punctuality and hygiene. </p> <p>Bryant played a wild fusion of country and jazz equally influenced by Django Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz and Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys western swing, and he became an important figure on the West Coast studio scene, accompanying country artists like Tennessee Ernie Ford and Tex Williams as well as pop artists like Bing Crosby and Spike Jones. </p> <p>Bryant’s work with Speedy West recorded in the Fifties showcases his talents at their unrestrained peak.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Buckethead</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Nottingham Lace”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Enter the Chicken</em> <p>He may wear a KFC bucket on his noggin, but that ain’t no chicken pickin’ emanating from Buckethead’s amps. </p> <p>The guitarist known to his parents as Brian Carroll is one of the most eccentric players to ever master the six-string, one whose playing can shift in a 32nd-note triplet from downright weird computer meltdown noises to hauntingly beautiful arpeggios. </p> <p>While he’s become known to the general public through his soundtrack work on major films like <em>Saw II</em> and his collaborations with Guns N’ Roses and actor Viggo Mortensen, Bucket’s three dozen or so solo albums remain the best source for experiencing his mad genius.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Dimebag Darrell</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Cowboys from Hell”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Cowboys from Hell</em> (PANTERA) <p>Dimebag grabbed the baton from players like Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads and proceeded to shove it up the ass of pretentious neoclassical guitarists with his incredibly heavy, unapologetically raw pentatonic shredding. </p> <p>The solos Dimebag recorded with Pantera and Damageplan are impressive, but his true talents exploded on the concert stage, where he could let loose with wild abandon, inspired by hell-raising crowds and shirt-raising hotties. </p> <p>While most thrash bands did away with solos during the Nineties, Dimebag kept the shred flag flying like the stars and bars over the South Carolina State House.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Paco de Lucia</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Rio Ancho”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Almoraima</em> <p>Born into a family of Spanish flamenco performers, the late Paco de Lucia came to the international guitar arena with a background rich in colorful history, artistic passion and centuries of mesmerizing guitar technique. </p> <p>A traditional flamenco performer from the mid Sixties to the late Seventies, he crossed over to fusion, jazz and world music audiences via virtuoso collaborations with Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell. </p> <p>What De Lucia brought to the party was the rhythmic fire of flamenco, a stunning five-finger picking style and a dizzying repertoire of rasgueados, picados and other flamenco techniques. His forays into jazz, classical and other genres have also enriched his expressiveness within the flamenco idiom. </p> <p>In any genre, Paco de Lucia made those nylon strings burn like molten lava.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Al Di Meola</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG “Race with Devil on Spanish Highway”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Elegant Gypsy</em> <p>A blizzard of dotted 32nd notes in the shape of an Italian-American guy from New Jersey, Al Di Meola was one of the premier guitar architects of the jazz rock fusion genre that started in the Seventies. He’s responsible for bringing the rich guitar heritage of Spain and Latin America into the fusion arena. </p> <p>His lightning-fast left hand is complemented by distinctive right-hand palmmuting techniques that some Seventies wags were fond of describing as “that rubberband sound.” </p> <p>Di Meola’s work with Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, his solo efforts and collaborations with fellow guitar legends John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia have considerably raised the standard of excellence for both acoustic and electric guitar performance.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Marty Friedman</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Hangar 18”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Rust in Peace</em> (MEGADETH) <p>Marty Friedman played dueling neoclassical leads with Jason Becker in Cacophony before going on to make thrash metal history as the lead guitarist for Megadeth on their classic albums <em>Rust in Peace, Countdown to Extinction, Youthanasia</em> and <em>Risk</em>. </p> <p>His shredded arpeggios, hyperactive sweep picking and winning way with exotic scales have stood him in good stead, both in his Megadeth work and his current incarnation as an American expatriate who is definitely big in Japan.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Cliff Gallup</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Race with the Devil”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Capitol Collectors Series</em> (GENE VINCENT) <p>Cliff Gallup recorded only 35 songs as a member of Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps before he quit the band to focus on life as a family man, but that was enough to leave an indelible impression on players like Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. </p> <p>With a jazzy style that fused the influence of Chet Atkins and Les Paul, Gallup developed a sophisticated sound that made most blues-influenced rock and rollers sound downright primitive in comparison. </p> <p>Gallup’s cascading triplets and chromatic lines still inspire the same awe as when listeners first heard his solos more than 50 years ago. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Frank Gambale</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “6 .8 Shaker”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Passages</em> <p>In the Eighties Gambale proved that sweep picking wasn’t just for neoclassical rockers, using the technique to great effect on his progressive jazz fusion solo recordings and performances with jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and keyboardist Chick Corea. </p> <p>A graduate of GIT, Gambale returned there to teach for four years, sharing the secrets of his speed-picking technique with students. </p> <p>His unique approach to sweep picking along with his aggressive tone has helped him gain an audience beyond jazz fusion fans. Gambale remains an innovator, having recently developed an alternate tuning he calls “Gambale tuning,” which he says gives him greater liberty to voice any chord, including closevoiced chords.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Synyster Gates</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Eternal Rest”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Waking the Fallen</em> (AVENGED SEVENFOLD) <p>It’s easy for critics to dismiss Avenged Sevenfold because they look like a bunch of emo-punk kids who raided Axl Rose’s wardrobe, but no other band has done as much to introduce Generation Y to the shock and awe of a brilliant guitar solo. </p> <p>Justin Timberlake may be bringing sexy back, but Synyster Gates brought almighty shred to the forefront with his numerous extended no-holds-barred solos on A7X’s albums. </p> <p>A GIT graduate, Gates is a surprisingly versatile guitarist influenced by players ranging from Django to Dimebag.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Danny Gatton</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Elmira Street Boogie”<br /> ALBUM: <em>88 Elmira Street</em> <p>It was always a treat to watch the late Danny Gatton’s stubby fingers dance like fire on the maple fretboard of his battered Telecaster. </p> <p>The “Telemaster” fused country, blues, rockabilly and jazz into a blue-collar virtuoso style that the man himself once called “Redneck Jazz.” </p> <p>His unique combination-picking technique (plectrum plus fingerstyle) propelled chicken-pickin’ riffs, muscular jazz chords, blue notes and open-string banjo runs, all of which he made dance gracefully side by side. Gatton took his own life in 1994, opting out of a world where instrumental prowess is no guarantee of commercial success. </p> <p>His legend and legacy live on.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Paul Gilbert</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Scarified”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Second Heat</em> (RACER X) <p>Paul Gilbert has always been a reluctant guitar hero. He’s humble, good humored, polite and obliging, but when he straps on that guitar, he becomes the biggest, baddest monster in the entire shred forest. </p> <p>Gilbert’s Eighties work with Racer X and Mr. Big paved the way for a varied and compelling solo career. </p> <p>His fleet and flawless fretwork has always been tempered by highly developed harmonic sensibilities born of his abiding love for pop music.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Maestro Alex Gregory</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Heavy Metal Mandolin Boogie”<br /> ALBUM: <em>12 Jokes for Heavy Metal Mandolin</em> <p>Maestro Alex Gregory probably earned more enemies than fans in his time. </p> <p>He sued Ibanez over the seven-string guitar (he patented and developed a seven-string Strat with Fender in 1987, three years before the Ibanez Universe hit the market), took the title of “Maestro” (allegedly bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth in 1983) and released an album depicting himself pissing on the graves of Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. </p> <p>Even so, he’s earned the respect of many heavy friends, including drummer Matt Bissonette, bass player Dave LaRue and guitarist Albert Lee, all of whom have participated in musical projects with the Maestro. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Johnny Hiland</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Orange Blossom Special”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Johnny Hiland</em> <p>Ten years after the untimely death of Danny Gatton, Johnny Hiland emerged with an album released by Steve Vai’s Favored Nations label chock full of impressive country/rockabilly/blues/jazz/rock performances that rivaled those of the Telemaster himself. </p> <p>Hiland has since broken into the extremely competitive Nashville studio scene, playing on sessions for high profile A-list artists like Toby Keith, Ricky Skaggs and Randy Travis. </p> <p>Like Gatton, Hiland’s playing is as tasteful as it is flashy, displaying an uncanny knack for melody even as he burns up the fretboard at light speed.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Allan Holdsworth</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Fred”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Believe It</em> (TONY WILLIAMS LIFETIME) <p>Allan Holdsworth developed a cult following of jazz fusion and progressive rock fans for his work with Tony Williams Lifetime and Bill Bruford’s side project U.K., but his name became a household word in the guitar community in the early Eighties when Eddie Van Halen cited him as one of his main influences. </p> <p>Holdsworth’s flowing legato lines are inspired by the sound of the saxophone and violin, and in his quest for the perfect tone he’s experimented frequently with guitar synthesis systems like the SynthAxe. </p> <p>The blinding speed of Holdsworth’s left hand is truly mind boggling, but even more impressive is his ability to perfectly improvise over incredibly complex and unorthodox chord changes.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Chris Impellitteri</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “17th Century Chicken Pickin’ ”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Screaming Symphony</em> <p>It’s easy to dismiss Chris Impellitteri as another in a long line of Yngwie clones, especially since he plays neoclassical metal on a Stratocaster with a scalloped fretboard and he hired former Alcatrazz singer Graham Bonnet to front his band. </p> <p>But anyone who looks past Impellitteri’s hyperspeed sweeppicked harmonic minor scales will notice incendiary chromatic lines rivaling the precision and intensity of Steve Morse and bluesy phrasing that gives his playing distinct character. </p> <p>Impellitteri enjoys an impressive devoted following in Japan, where he still appears on the cover of guitar magazines.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>John 5</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “The Washing Away of Wrong”<br /> ALBUM: <em>The Devil Knows My Name</em> <p>It takes a sick and twisted mind to be able to play guitar with Marilyn Manson, David Lee Roth and country singer k.d. lang. </p> <p>But John 5 has exhibited more than enough warped imagination and dazzling dexterity to shine in all these wildly diverse musical settings.</p> <p>Whether it’s a barn dance or a ritual virgin sacrifice to the Lord of Darkness, count on Mr. 5 to turn up with all the right licks, and the clothes to match.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>The Great Kat</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “The Flight of the Bumble Bee”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Beethoven on Speed</em> <p>It’s hard to know whether the Great Kat’s thrash metal interpretations of classical music compositions are meant to be taken seriously—especially when her albums have titles like <em>Beethoven on Speed, Bloody Vivaldi</em> and <em>Rossini’s Rape</em>—but when this Juilliard-trained virtuoso plays it’s certainly no joke. </p> <p>With a heavy leather dominatrix persona so over the top that she makes Yngwie Malmsteen seem like Tony Randall, the Great Kat would make a fine role model for young ladies who want to shred if she didn’t scare the living shit out of them.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Richie Kotzen</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “You Can’t Save Me”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Into the Black</em> <p>Richie Kotzen made his debut at the tender age of 19, quickly establishing himself as one of the fastest young guns in the whole Shrapnel Records corral. </p> <p>From the start, his style has been admirably fluid, incorporating techniques like tapping and sweeping to create extended legato passages of daunting complexity. </p> <p>Kotzen has lent these skills to Poison and Mr. Big. In recent years, he’s emerged as an all-around classic rock talent, adding a soulful Paul Rodgers/Rod Stewart/Steve Marriott–influenced vocal style to his considerable resources as the Winery Dogs' guitarist.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Alexi Laiho</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Needled 24/7”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Hate Crew Deathroll</em> (CHILDREN OF BODOM) <p>An incredibly prolific guitarist who is the member of several bands—Children of Bodom, Sinergy and Kylähullut—as well as a frequent guest performer with bands like Annihilator, Godsplague and Pain, Alexi Laiho has probably recorded more notes than Bach ever wrote down on paper over his entire lifetime. </p> <p>Laiho has mastered the same sweep, tapping and precision picking techniques and neoclassical scales that placed his Scandinavian predecessors on the map, but unlike his cohorts he’s never shown any ambition to record a guitar concerto or metal opera.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Shawn Lane</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Savitri”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Good People in Times of Evil</em> (HELLBORG, LANE AND SELVAGANESH) <p>Many guitarists pursue speed for its sheer ability to impress others. </p> <p>For Shawn Lane, it was merely one of numerous avenues of expression that he discovered on a strange and twisted path to musical enlightenment that started when he joined southern rockers Black Oak Arkansas at 14 and culminated in his mastery of Indian music in the years before he passed away at age 40. </p> <p>Few, if any, guitarists can play faster than Lane could, and his arpeggio sweeps and precision-picked lines blasted more rapid-fire notes than the average human mind could comprehend, blending into a hypnotic blur that leaves listeners feeling intoxicated and disoriented.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Albert Lee</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Country Boy”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Heads, Hands and Feet</em> <p>One of the all-time greatest country guitar pickers comes not from America’s sunny deep South but from rainy, gray England. </p> <p>Albert Lee developed his own greased-lightning combinationpicking technique (plectrum plus third, fourth and fifth fingers) and a masterful command of country licks, open-string runs, B-bender gymnastics and all things that go twang in the night. </p> <p>He can unleash cascades of crystalline notes that fall on the ear like a gentle country rain and execute tear-jerking string bends that slither and slide like a moonshiner’s wagon down an icy stretch of road. Lee has played with everyone from Emmy Lou Harris to Eric Clapton to the Everly Brothers. Now 70-ish, he shows no sign of slowing down.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Alvin Lee</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “I’m Going Home”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Woodstock</em> <p>Circa 1969, Alvin Lee was the fastest gun in all of guitardom. </p> <p>He wowed Woodstock with 11 minutes of fretboard frenzy called “I’m Going Home” and was duly rewarded with a large watermelon—presumably an organic hippie tribute to the unmitigated ballsiness of Lee’s playing. </p> <p>Lee and his band, Ten Years After, were among the cream of the mid-Sixties British blues boom—contemporaries and, some would say, co-equals of groups that featured Clapton, Beck and Page. </p> <p>More than just 10 itchy-fast fingers, the late Lee always balanced his six-string mastery with a strong singing voice, charismatic center stage presence and solid songwriting skills, making him not just another speed demon but an all-around classic rock contender.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Jeff Loomis</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Born”<br /> ALBUM: <em>This Godless Endeavor</em> (NEVERMORE) <p>Leave it to Dave Mustaine to light a fire under a guitarist’s ass. </p> <p>When Jeff Loomis auditioned for Megadeth at the tender young age of 16, Mustaine told him that he’d become a great guitarist one day but he was too inexperienced for Megadeth. Instead of giving up, Loomis persevered, and six years later he formed the band Nevermore with two ex-members of Sanctuary, with whom he had briefly played as well. </p> <p>Loomis’ trick bag is deep and diverse, including sweep arpeggios, atonal tapping, whammy pedal effects and tremolo picking, and his solos are like mini compositions within the songs. </p> <p>He may never find a spot in Megadeth’s ever-rotating second guitar spot, but he’s already established himself as a worthy player.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Yngwie Malmsteen</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: "Far Beyond the Sun"<br /> ALBUM: <em>Rising Force</em> <p>When Yngwie Malmsteen released his debut solo album, <em>Rising Force</em>, in 1984, he unleashed the fookin' fury of guitarists, who were already having enough trouble keeping up with Eddie Van Halen. </p> <p>Malmsteen's all-encompassing mastery of speed techniques like sweep-picked arpeggios, tremolo picking, legato, string skipping, tapping and more inspired guitarists to either woodshed or use their guitars as firewood. </p> <p>Although countless imitators have challenged Yngwie's speed-king crown, none can match the impeccable precision with which he plays each note and how he makes absolutely every one count from a melodic perspective. </p> <p>Even more frustrating is how easy he makes everything look when he plays onstage, performing kung-fu kicks and acrobatically flinging his guitar without ever missing a note. Bastard.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Guy Mann-Dude</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Legend of the Loch Ness”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Sleight of Hand</em> <p>Mann-Dude was the ultimate big-hair Hollywood Eighties shredder, but unlike the bulk of preening poodle boys who clogged the classrooms at GIT, he always seemed to have his tongue planted firmly in his cheeks (instead of sucking them in to highlight his cheekbones). </p> <p>Mann-Dude certainly had the pedigree to prove he wasn’t just a joke. </p> <p>He had previously played drums on a post-Zappa Steve Vai project and was one of only a handful of guitarists who released instrumental shred albums on a major record label (MCA). Ever since stonewashed jeans and K-Swiss high-tops went out of style, Mann-Dude has been missing in action. Dude!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Larry Collins and Joe Maphis</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Flying Fingers”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Flying Fingers</em> (JOE MAPHIS) <p>The modern-day shred guitar duos of Dragonforce, Trivium and Avenged Sevenfold have nothing on the furious pace and precision of the performances by Larry Collins and Joe Maphis in the Fifties. </p> <p>Even more impressive is the fact that Collins was only 10 years old at the time, yet he could keep pace with virtuosos like Maphis and Merle Travis without missing a note. </p> <p>Check out the videos of “Flying Fingers” and “Wildwood Flower” from vintage broadcasts of the program <em>Ranch Party</em> to witness some of the craziest playing you’ll ever witness, including Maphis and Collins attacking a single double-neck Mosrite at the same time.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>John McLaughlin</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: "Birds of Fire"<br /> ALBUM: <em>Mahavishnu Orchestra</em> <p>Mahavishnu Orchestra guitarist John McLaughlin was the first guitarist to play jazz riffs with all the fierce intensity and brute volume of rock guitar. </p> <p>The world has never been the same since. McLaughlin's Seventies recordings with Mahavishnu pioneered the jazz fusion genre and rocketed electric guitar instrumental music into the Hot 100. His later acoustic work with Shakti was equally influential in forging the world fusion genre. </p> <p>The clarity, precision, profound conviction and blinding speed of McLaughlin's guitar work has always reflected the emotional depth of his lifelong spiritual devotion and the arduous discipline involved in serious spiritual practice. His dense note clusters propel us toward realms of bliss far beyond this mundane existence.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Vinnie Moore</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Lifeforce”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Mind’s Eye</em> <p>Vinnie Moore was one of the first contenders to challenge Yngwie Malmsteen for the speed-king throne, releasing the stunning solo effort <em>Mind’s Eye</em> on the Shrapnel label in 1986. </p> <p>While Moore sold respectable amounts of his solo albums, he never reached much of an audience beyond aspiring shred guitarists, who eagerly purchased Moore’s instructional videos in which he revealed the secrets behind his immaculate technique. </p> <p>Moore persevered as a solo artist through the Nineties, but in 2003 he took over the lead guitarist spot in UFO vacated by Michael Schenker.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Steve Morse</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: "Cruise Control"<br /> ALBUM: <em>Free Fall</em> (DIXIE DREGS) <p>People laughed back in the Seventies when Steve Morse first sought to combine fusion and Southern boogie with his band, the Dixie Dregs. </p> <p>Fans of the two respective genres here hardly on speaking terms back then, but the last laugh belongs to Morse, who is still going strong today. </p> <p>He has plied his lightning licks and tenacious technique in the service of numerous genres and bands, including latter-day lineups of Deep Purple and Kansas.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Jimmy Olander</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG “The Ballad of Conley and Billy (The Proof is in the Pickin’)”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Diamond Rio</em> <p>Originally a banjo player, Jimmy Olander quickly shifted his attention to guitar when he realized he’d get more gigs, adapting his advanced five-string banjo playing techniques for the six-string guitar. </p> <p>In addition to mastering rapid flatpicked bluegrass lines and chicken pickin’ Tele twang, Olander performs amazing pedal steel imitations using a guitar equipped with Joe Glaser string-bending devices on the G and B strings. </p> <p>Although Diamond Rio’s radio-ready tunes rarely give him enough room to truly let rip, when the spotlight shines on him he never fails to impress with his taste and technique.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Cary and Larry Parks</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “You Really Got Me”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Welcome to Howdywood</em> (BOY HOWDY) <p>Even the most diehard country music fan has probably forgotten the band Boy Howdy, which is best known for the hit ballad “She’d Give Everything,” but the sibling dual-guitar team of Cary and Larry Parks recorded several impressive dueling-guitar solos that deserved a much bigger audience. </p> <p>The sons of bluegrass fiddler Ray Parks, Cary and Larry grew up in the crossfire of Los Angeles’ country rock scene and the more traditional sounds they heard at home. </p> <p>As a result, their unique playing styles blend the chickenpickin’ twang of the Bakersfield sound, the clean cross picking of Kentucky bluegrass and the rowdy attitude of Hollywood rock, best heard on their blazing countrified cover of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” which comes across like Van Halen and Bill Monroe jamming at a Buck Owens concert. </p> <p><strong>SORRY: NO VIDEO AVAILABLE!</strong></p> <hr /> <strong>John Petrucci</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: "Pull Me Under"<br /> ALBUM: <em>Images and Words</em> (DREAM THEATER) <p>There are those who swear that prog-metal pioneer John Petrucci has a few extra fingers on both hands that he craftily keeps hidden during photo shoots. </p> <p>How else can one explain the man's ability to make six- and seven-string electric guitars generate quantum-shifted note clusters exceeding the speed oflight? </p> <p>Maybe it's the six daily hours of practice he put in during his formative years, and his rigorous studies at Berklee, where he mastered the intricacies of sweep and alternate picking. Petrucci's guitar work with Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment and as a solo artist exemplify the present-day ideal of extreme guitar discipline.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Les Paul</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Lover (When You’re Near Me)”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Best of Capitol Masters</em> <p>The Wizard of Waukesha’s technological contributions to the electric guitar and multitrack recording are so great that people sometimes overlook his accomplishments as a guitarist. </p> <p>His recordings with the Les Paul Trio in the Thirties and Forties helped establish the jazz guitar lexicon, but he was equally handy with a cornball melody for a Top 40 pop hit. </p> <p>A formidable fretsman and crafty stylist, his highly active brain always seemed to be a little bit ahead of the next chord change, and his nimble fingers knew how to follow. Les’ “New Sound” recordings of the late Forties and early Fifties were the perfect merger of technique and technology.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Django Reinhardt</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “After You’ve Gone”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Djangology</em> <p>A dapper Belgian gypsy with a pencil thin mustache and a miraculously nimble left hand, Django set the Twenties and Thirties alight via incendiary guitar performances with the legendary Hot Club of France Quintet and other jazz ensembles. </p> <p>It was a time when the very notion of the guitar solo was just being invented, and Django set a pace that guitarists today are still struggling to match. </p> <p>The astounding thing is that he did all this with just the index and middle fingers of his left hand—his third finger and pinkie had been seriously maimed in a caravan fire. Yet Django did it all: lightning-fast diminished scale runs, frisky double-stop passages and the most lyrical finger vibrato in all of guitardom. </p> <p>There’s a plaintive undertone in even the most jaunty Django passages, and likewise a playful wink lurking just behind his most heartbreakingly romantic playing. </p> <p>Django remains the original and ultimate gypsy king.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Randy Rhoads</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Crazy Train”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Blizzard of Ozz</em> (OZZY OSBOURNE) <p>Metal’s martyred boy-child, Randy Rhoads embraced the tapping, divebombing innovations of Edward Van Halen and brought these techniques to a new plateau in the early Eighties. </p> <p>He came out of Quiet Riot and the Hollywood hair-band scene to find fame with Ozzy Osbourne, but his life was cut tragically short before he had time to realize his full potential. </p> <p>During his brief yet stellar career, he played with the blazing intensity of a man who somehow knew he only had a few short years to share his gift with the world.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Uli Jon Roth</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Sails of Charon”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Taken By Force</em> (SCORPIONS) <p>Although Ritchie Blackmore gets most of the credit as a guiding light of the Eighties shred phenomenon, Uli Jon Roth established the blueprint for neoclassical metal through his highly sophisticated guitar playing with the Scorpions and with his own band, Electric Sun. </p> <p>Roth undoubtedly has the playing and compositional skills to dominate as a shred guitar hero, but he pursued loftier goals in the Eighties and Nineties by devoting his ambitions to performing and composing classical music instead. </p> <p>In 2003, Roth recorded an interpretation of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” and since 2005, he has frequently made surprise guest appearances with the Scorpions and Smashing Pumpkins.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Joe Satriani</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Satch Boogie”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Surfing with the Alien</em> <p>Shred was born in 1987 on the day Joe Satriani released <em>Surfing with the Alien</em>. </p> <p>Satch took all the rock guitar virtuosity that had gone before—Hendrix, Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, etc.—and brought it all a giant step further, adding a few new tricks to the lexicon of hot guitar moves and upping the land speed record for notes-per-nanosecond. </p> <p>But where earlier ax heroes employed techniques like tapping and dive bombing to dazzle and astound, Satriani’s mastery lies in his ability to subsume daunting technical maneuvers into beguiling, seemingly effortless melodic statements that appeal to guitar geeks and the general public alike. </p> <p>His secret? Satch is one guitar virtuoso who never lost touch with his rock and roll heart.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Chuck Schuldiner</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Pull the Plug”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Leprosy</em> (DEATH) <p>Chuck Schuldiner passed away in 2001, but were he alive, he would almost certainly be amused by the new legion of metal guitarists inspired by him that emerged in his absence. </p> <p>During the rise of his band Death, Schuldiner’s outstanding solos—which featured playing as melodic and precise as that of anyone who put out a record on the Relativity or Shrapnel labels—were often overshadowed by Death’s jackhammer rhythms and dark lyrics. </p> <p>However, anyone taking a look back at his work would instantly realize that Schuldiner could tap as tastefully as Eddie Van Halen and rip up a fretboard as well as anyone else. Eleven other guitarists shared the spotlight with Schuldiner in Death, including James Murphy and Andy LaRocque, but none shined more brightly.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Alex Skolnick</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Practice What You Preach”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Practice What You Preach</em> (TESTAMENT) <p>You simply have to admire Alex Skolnick’s dedication to the guitar. </p> <p>Right when Testament were ready to hit the big time, Skolnick bailed to pursue his love of jazz, preferring to make music in San Francisco clubs with players like bassist Michael Manring and eventually making his way to New York City to study jazz at the New School. </p> <p>Most players have trouble mastering one style of music, but Skolnick impresses whether he’s blasting out thrash metal solos with Testament (which he has since rejoined) or tearing up the fretboard with his jazz band, the Alex Skolnick Trio.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Timo Tolkki</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG; “Speed of Light”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Episode</em> (STRATOVARIUS) <p>Maybe the harsh Scandinavian winters are the reason why Europe’s northernmost countries boast the most neoclassical shredders per capita. </p> <p>Finland’s Timo Tolkki and his band Stratovarius released their first album in 1989, about the time that shred mania reached its peak, and fortunately for them they established a huge following in—where else—Japan by the time grunge took over in 1992. </p> <p>Like Malmsteen, Tolkki’s ambitions reach far beyond power metal into classical music, and his precision fretwork is inspired more by virtuoso violinists than other guitarists. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Herman Li &amp; Sam Totman</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Through the Fire and Flames”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Inhuman Rampage</em> (DRAGONFORCE) <p>When the first Dragonforce album came out in 2003, critics were convinced that Herman Li and Sam Totman’s outrageously fast guitar solos were the product of studio trickery. </p> <p>However, Li and Totman later proved that they were the real deal both onstage and under the scrutiny of skeptical editors right here at <em>Guitar World</em> headquarters. </p> <p>Individually, Li and Tottman boast jaw-dropping speed and precision, but when they lock horns in tightly synchronized harmonies they can make heads explode from sonic overload. Who needs amphetamines? Just put on a Dragonforce’s <em>Inhuman Rampage</em> to jumpstart your day.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Steve Vai</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “For the Love of God”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Passion and Warfare</em> <p>Steve Vai can do things with a sustainer and twang bar that surely ain’t natural and certainly indicate a high tantric mastery of all documented and undocumented alien love secrets. </p> <p>Discovered by Frank Zappa and fostered by David Lee Roth and Whitesnake, Vai emerged in the Nineties as a solo artist and guitar hero of major stature. </p> <p>His astounding technique defies categorization. In his graceful hands, the guitar becomes a cosmic antenna, channeling other dimensions and parallel universes. His best work combines the swagger of a lifelong rock and roller with the romantic soul of a poet. As if this weren’t enough, he’s also a first-rate composer and has great cheekbones.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Eddie Van Halen</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “Eruption”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Van Halen</em> <p>Though numerous players have surpassed Eddie Van Halen’s speed and precision, Ed deserves credit for developing and perfecting the techniques that have become essential elements of the shredder’s vocabulary ever since Van Halen’s debut in 1978. </p> <p>Eddie’s tapped triplets helped players with sloppy picking technique double and triple their speed, but his incredibly precise tremolo picking showed that you still needed excellent right- and left-hand coordination if you truly wanted to impress. </p> <p>Although players like Night Ranger’s Jeff Watson took tapping to ludicrous eight-finger extremes, no one ever sounds as good as Eddie when he’s in the groove.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Ben Weinman</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG: “43% Burnt”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Calculating Infinity</em> (DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN) <p>Who says that hardcore punks can’t shred? </p> <p>Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist Ben Weinman pioneered a style known as mathcore, which isn’t as nerdy as the name suggests but certainly requires an IQ above 100 to be fully appreciated for its unique blend of punk intensity, technical precision and the anomalous jazz melodicism. </p> <p>Still think punks can’t shred with the best of them? We dare you to try and figure out one of Weinman’s solos. </p> <p>Go ahead, tough guy.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <strong>Johnny Winter</strong><br /> SIGNATURE SONG “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo”<br /> ALBUM: <em>Johnny Winter And</em> <p>Long before Stevie Ray, Johnny Winter was the original white-guy-from-Texas blues guitar demon. </p> <p>Critics have often remarked on the irony that a pale-skinned, crosseyed albino turned out to be one of the greatest interpreters of America’s seminal black musical idiom. </p> <p>Winter has the hardlivin’ outsider’s perspective that it takes to play the blues for real, but it’s matched with the rockera chops of a guy who came up alongside immortals like Eric Clapton and Mike Bloomfield. </p> <p>The best of Winter’s phenomenal playing is imbued with both fire and fluidity. Flurries of notes crawl all over the 12-bar grid at every conceivable angle, like a hoard of spiders fanning out in search of prey. In the whole vast river that is the blues, nothing quite possesses the eerie intensity of Winter’s best work.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>HONORABLE MENTIONS</strong> </p> <p>Our list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a few other speed demons, most notably Eighties neoclassical shredder Tony MacAlpine, Outworld guitarist and shred instructor Rusty Cooley, Gary Moore ("White Knuckles," anyone?), Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt, Australia's Tommy Emmanuel and, of course, Zakk Wylde.</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="/joe-satriani">Joe Satriani</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/les-paul">Les Paul</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/paul-gilbert">Paul Gilbert</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Albert Lee Alvin Lee Diamond Rio GW Archive Joe Satriani Polls Steve Vai Guitar World Lists News Features Magazine Wed, 11 Mar 2015 16:40:13 +0000 Guitar World Staff Austin Power: Stevie Ray Vaughan's 30 Greatest Recordings <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Guitar World<em> celebrates the 30 greatest recordings of Stevie Ray Vaughan—from “Texas Flood” to “Riviera Paradise”…from “Couldn’t Stand the Weather” to “The Sky Is Crying.”</em></strong></p> <p>For someone who spent a mere seven and a half years as a heavy player on the world stage, Texas guitar-slinger Stevie Ray Vaughan left behind a wealth of recorded material—and one hell of a legacy.</p> <p>In that blink of an eye between his incongruous appearance on David Bowie’s <em>Let’s Dance</em> in 1983 and his death in a freak helicopter crash in 1990, Vaughan unleashed four indispensable studio albums that hijacked the trajectory of modern blues guitar. </p> <p>Without the aid of light shows, edgy haircuts and goofy rock-star posturing, he introduced the MTV generation to passion-fueled guitar music—not to mention the work and importance of Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Buddy Guy and Howlin’ Wolf.</p> <p>He even had time to star in his own mini rock-star drama of drug and alcohol addiction, breakdown, recovery and triumphant return.</p> <p>In honor of what would have been Vaughan’s 60th birthday (It’s about as difficult to picture SRV at 60 as it is to picture Hendrix at 72), <em>Guitar World</em> looks back at what we consider his 30 greatest guitar moments. Our list digs deep into his six-string artistry, while taking historical importance and other factors into account. </p> <p>In terms of material, we’ve considered everything, including his official studio work and numerous posthumous studio and live releases—basically everything that will be included on Legacy Recordings’ recently released 13-disc box set, <em>Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble: The Complete Epic Album Collection.</em></p> <p>We also considered his DVDs and videos available on YouTube—pretty much everything and anything he recorded with a Fender Strat, a guitar that, as reported elsewhere in this issue, also happens to be celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. — <em>Damian Fanelli</em></p> <p><strong>30. “Texas Flood” (<em>Live at Montreux 1982 &amp; 1985</em>, 2001)</strong></p> <p>Sure, there are scores of stellar live versions of “Texas Flood” online, but there’s simply something magical about this raw performance from July 17, 1982, at the Montreux Jazz and International Music Festival. </p> <p>The extended, dynamics-filled rollercoaster ride finds SRV reaching into his bag of King-meets-Hendrix licks—not to mention behind his back, where his Strat rested for the final third of the song. SRV floored everyone that night, except for a handful of blues purists who can be heard (and seen in the video) booing loud and clear. </p> <p>“We weren’t sure how we’d be accepted,” Vaughan told <em>Guitar World</em> in 1983. But he knew it went well when David Bowie appeared backstage and an important alliance was born. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>29. Love Struck Baby (<em>Live at the El Mocambo</em>, 1991)</strong></p> <p>“Love Struck Baby,” the opening track on <em>Texas Flood,</em> is an SRV original, a straightforward rocker in the style of rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry. </p> <p>This explosive live version from SRV &amp; Double Trouble’s July 20, 1983, performance at El Mocambo clearly illustrates Vaughan’s incredible touch, tone and phrasing from the very first note. </p> <p>The rhythm guitar parts are built from Berry’s signature alternating root-fifth/root-sixth style, and Vaughan’s solos borrow from both Berry and T-Bone Walker, Stevie’s great influence. During his first and second solos, Vaughan leans heavily on an Adim7 voicing fretted on the top three strings that is slowly bent up one half step and vibrato-ed in the style of Walker. </p> <p>At the end of his second solo, he employs an unusual A7add2 chord voicing—made popular by blues great Freddie King on his instrumental hit “Hide Away”—sliding down the fretboard from this voicing and jumping into unison bends played on the third and second strings, with the ring finger used to bend the third string and the index finger used to fret the second string.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>28. Say What! (<em>Soul to Soul</em>, 1985)</strong></p> <p>The opening track on SRV and Double Trouble’s third album, “Say What!” is a swinging 12/8 instrumental that features intense, virtuoso guitar work drenched in echo and heavy wah-wah. </p> <p>“ ‘Say What!’ had been a jam, like Hendrix's ‘Rainy Day, Dream Away,’ ” Tommy Shannon recalls. </p> <p>Rumor has it that, for this track, Vaughan used a wah that had formerly belonged to Jimi Hendrix. </p> <p>Allegedly, the wah was acquired by brother Jimmie Vaughan in a trade with Hendrix when the two played a show together in Forth Worth, Texas, in 1969. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>27. “Let's Dance” (David Bowie, <em>Let’s Dance</em>, 1983)</strong></p> <p>It’s crazy enough that, in the synth-happy early Eighties, newcomer Vaughan had a top-20 hit with a Strat-fueled, 12-bar-blues shuffle called “Pride and Joy.” </p> <p>Even more bizarre is that, the same year, his raunchy Albert King–inspired bends graced a bona-fide mega-hit, David Bowie’s jittery “Let’s Dance,” which spent a solid three weeks at the top of the charts. </p> <p>The song—and the album of the same name—is notable because it served as the world’s introduction to Vaughan’s dynamic fretwork, a fact lost on most of Bowie’s newer, younger audience. </p> <p>For a heftier serving of SRV, check out the seven-plus-minute version of this track, plus “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” and “China Girl.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>26. Ain’t Gone ’n’ Give Up on Love (Capitol Theater, 1985)</strong></p> <p>Cut originally for 1985’s <em>Soul to Soul</em>, “Ain’t Gone ’n’ Give Up on Love” is a great slow blues in A with some interesting twists and turns found in the bridge chord progression. </p> <p>This smoldering version, cut on September 21, 1985, at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey, is one of the many great examples of Stevie’s pure and complete mastery of the slow blues idiom. Throughout the song, his soloing style leans heavily on his Albert King influence, blended masterfully with his incredibly precise articulation and powerfully emotional execution. </p> <p>Although he performs increasingly complex improvised phrases as the solo progresses, his rhythmic sense is sharp and he retains total control throughout.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>25. Superstition (<em>Live Alive</em>, 1986)</strong></p> <p>Stevie Wonder originally wrote this fantastic riff rocker for Jeff Beck before reclaiming it as his own and making it a Number One smash in 1972. </p> <p>A decade later, SRV wrestled it back on his 1986 <em>Live Alive</em> and made it the monstrous guitar song it always wanted to be. The only demerit is that Stevie—the undisputed king of corny music videos—used the track as an excuse to make yet another hilariously bad promotional clip.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>24. Change It (<em>Soul to Soul</em>)</strong></p> <p>Arguably Stevie’s best single. </p> <p>He sounds like the big bad wolf threatening to blow down some girl’s door—and if that won’t do it, his snarling guitar solo will. Although the lyrics are generally positive, his vocals are menacing as all hell. Another terrible video, though. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>23. Blues at Sunrise (<em>In Session,</em> 1999)</strong></p> <p>Stevie Ray Vaughan and his hero and mentor Albert King convened on December 6, 1983, to perform for the <em>In Session</em> live music television series produced by the Canadian television station CHCH-TV in Hamilton, Ontario. </p> <p>Vaughan, whose debut release <em>Texas Flood</em> had been out for only a few months, was largely unknown to most viewers at that time. In fact, King didn’t know him by name and initially refused to perform with Vaughan—until King realized he was the same Austin, Texas, guitar prodigy that King had already played with many times before, known to him as “Little Stevie.” </p> <p>The show features King’s band and consists mostly of his material, aside from a scorching version of Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy.” The two guitarists “battle” back and forth beautifully, King often laughing as he is tickled pink by Vaughan’s virtuosity.</p> <p>“Blues at Sunrise” is the high point of a session that many consider to contain some of the greatest playing SRV ever recorded. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>22. Crossfire (<em>In Step</em>, 1989)</strong></p> <p>“When Stevie first heard ‘Crossfire,’ it reminded him of ‘Shotgun’ by Junior Walker,” bassist Tommy Shannon recalls of Vaughan’s only Number One hit. </p> <p>Shannon, one of the song’s composers, actually wrote the butt-shaking bass line that serves as its primary riff, but according to keyboardist Reese Wynans, the track had a somewhat difficult birth. </p> <p>“We put it together little by little, and it wasn’t easy,” he says. “But in the end it came out just right.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>21. “The House Is Rockin'” (<em>In Step</em>)</strong></p> <p>We’re suckers for a killer guitar riff, and “The House Is Rockin’,” the lead single from Vaughan’s 1989 comeback album, <em>In Step,</em> is built around a doozy. </p> <p>Actually, the riff—a Chuck Berry–inspired E power chord shape played on the seventh fret (tuned down a half-step, of course)—is fairly basic. It’s Vaughan’s pinky gymnastics on the fifth and sixth strings that give it its own chugging, barrelhouse flavor. </p> <p>“Doyle [Bramhall] wrote that part,” Vaughan told <em>Guitar World’s</em> Andy Aledort in 1989. “He writes these great songs.” With this track, Vaughan once again managed to bring a tasty piece of roots rock to the Top 20.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>20. Tin Pan Alley (<em>Montreux,</em> 1985)</strong></p> <p>When Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble played the Montreux Jazz Festival for the second time on July 15, 1985 (almost three years to the day from their first appearance), Stevie joked with the adoring crowd: “First time here, we got booed… First time we got a Grammy!” </p> <p>The 1985 performance included Reese Wynans on keyboard, whicih led Vaughan to dub the group Serious Trouble. </p> <p>“Tin Pan Alley” is a very slow, emotive minor blues that had been in SRV’s live set for years by the time he first cut it in the studio in January 1984 for <em>Couldn’t Stand the Weather</em>. </p> <p>This version includes legendary Texas guitarist Johnny Copeland sitting in on vocals and guitar, and Stevie’s guitar work throughout—performed on the white Charlie Wirz Strat with Dan Armstrong “lipstick tube” pickups—is absolutely astonishing. </p> <p>His tone, his touch, his feel and his phrasing are just phenomenal. Electric blues guitar just does not get any better than this. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>19. Come On (Part III) (<em>Soul to Soul</em>) </strong></p> <p>Every Stevie Ray album had to have a little Hendrix on it somewhere, and his third album, <em>Soul to Soul</em>, was no different. </p> <p>While he stays pretty faithful to Jimi’s <em>Electric Ladyland</em> version of “Come On,” Vaughan outsings and outplays the original in every way. Hey, it was bound to happen. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>18. “The Sky Is Crying” (<em>Blues at Sunrise</em>, 2000)</strong></p> <p>Although the officially released version of this Elmore James cover, from 1991’s <em>The Sky Is Crying</em>, features welcome embellishment courtesy of keyboardist Reese Wynans, Vaughan’s tame and somewhat predicable solo owes a bit too much to “Texas Flood.” </p> <p>This three-piece version, recorded earlier (during sessions for <em>Couldn’t Stand the Weather</em>) and released nine years later on <em>Blues at Sunrise</em>, captures the band at its live-in-the-studio best. </p> <p>SRV slides up and down the neck with abandon, laying into a solo so fluid and tasty that it makes you wonder why it hadn’t been released during his lifetime.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>17. Telephone Song (<em>Family Style,</em> 1990)</strong></p> <p>Released a month before Stevie’s death, this track is just one of the many highlights from the vastly underrated 1990 <em>Family Style</em> album, recorded with his older brother, Jimmie. </p> <p>If Stevie had a fault, it was that he was a little too earnest, but with his bro and producer Nile Rodgers onboard, he sounds like he’s loose and having a blast. </p> <p>“Telephone Song” is surely the funkiest studio track of his career, and his improvised rap at the end is a hoot.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>16. Look At Little Sister (<em>Soul to Soul</em>)</strong></p> <p>To think of “Look At Little Sister” as a somewhat inferior follow-up to “Pride and Joy” is to miss its many virtues. </p> <p>Sure, it features less guitar, but Stevie’s lascivious vocals are fantastic, and the track’s superior sound and production add substantial heft to its grinding stripper chug. It’s dirty in a way that the blues should be. </p> <p>You can’t help but imagine what this sweet thing looks like when SRV spies her “shakin’ like a tree” and “rollin’ like a log.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>15. “May I Have a Talk with You” (<em>The Sky Is Crying,</em> 1991)</strong></p> <p>This cover of a Howlin’ Wolf tune stands out as one of the rare polished-sounding studio recordings where Vaughan actually flubs a note. </p> <p>The (let’s call it) tiny imperfection occurs at the 4:01 mark, when SRV is coming back for a landing after a series of bends high on the neck. But the error plays only a bit part in this particularly exciting and majestic slow-burn solo and reminds us that Vaughan was, occasionally, mortal. </p> <p>Well, mortal-ish.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>14. Scuttle Buttin’ (<em>Couldn’t Stand the Weather</em>)</strong></p> <p>Composed as a tribute to Lonnie Mack, who is among rock’s first virtuoso lead guitarists, this 1:52 shot of pure adrenaline opens with one of Stevie’s flashiest and most imitated licks.</p> <p>Featuring a series of quick—and relatively easy—open-string pull-offs, “Scuttle Buttin’ ” is the song for guitarists to learn when they want to impress skeptical parents, buddies and girlfriends.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>13. Cold Shot (<em>Rockpalast</em>, 1984)</strong></p> <p>Originally included on SRV’s brilliant sophomore release, 1984’s <em>Couldn’t Stand the Weather</em>, “Cold Shot” is a swinging shuffle with a dark, heavy blues feel. </p> <p>The song was written by keyboardist Mike Kindred, who was part of the Triple Threat group that preceded the formation of Double Trouble. Stevie loved “Cold Shot” and kept it in the repertoire for his entire career. </p> <p>At the time of this performance, which took place on August 25, 1984, at Freilichtbühne Loreley, St. Goarshausen, Germany for the <em>Rockpalast</em> television broadcast, SRV and Double Trouble were still performing as a trio, and the band’s pure power at this stage of its development is simply incredible. </p> <p>With his Fender Vibratone cranked to the max, Stevie rips through his first solo, relying on hybrid-picked non-adjacent double-stops played on the third and first strings. </p> <p>Notes on the high E string are fingerpicked, while notes on the G string are sounded with the pick. SRV’s solid fret-hand strength allows him to execute the many bends and hammer-ons played on the G string while simultaneously fretting the high A root note on the E string at the fifth fret. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>12. Tightrope (<em>Austin City Limits</em>, 1989)</strong></p> <p>When Stevie cut 1989’s<em> In Step</em>, his last studio effort with Double Trouble, he showcased more of an R&amp;B/soul approach than ever before, evidenced by the hit tracks “Crossfire” and “Tightrope.”</p> <p> “Tightrope” is a straightforward 4/4 groover with a James Brown–meets–Albert King type of feel. Shot on October 10, 1989 for<em> Austin City Limits</em>, Stevie’s performance is extraordinary, displaying a combination of raw power, deep emotion and technical brilliance in perfect measure. </p> <p>His Fuzz Face–drenched solo is crushing in its power while also beautifully melodic and precise. The intense multistring bent vibratos at the start of his outro solo (3:42–3:46) are just the tip of the iceberg as he closes out this truly masterful performance.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>11. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (<em>Austin City Limits</em>, 1989)</strong></p> <p>“When I go out and play [“Mary Had a Little Lamb”], I can hear people say, ‘Oh, that's Stevie's number,’ ” Buddy Guy once said. </p> <p>“So I say, ‘Okay man, that's Stevie's number.’ But Stevie knows whose number it was.” </p> <p>“Mary,” the first Guy composition to be recorded by Vaughan, was the perfect canvas for Vaughan and keyboardist Reese Wynans to slather with their mad skills. </p> <p>Like the rest of this priceless 1989 <em>Austin City Limits</em> broadcast, Vaughan is simply on fire. Between the song’s funked-up sections, he delivers a series of stellar, note-perfect solos that careen and soar with the aid of some nifty whammy-bar action.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>10. Testify (<em>Texas Flood</em>)</strong></p> <p>The idea of Stevie Ray covering a funky song by the great R&amp;B band the Isley Brothers might seem bizarre until you consider that rhythm and blues was a big part of the Double Trouble playbook. </p> <p>Besides, his choice of “Testify” makes perfect sense when you realize that the guitarist on the Isley’s original 1964 version was none other than his hero, Jimi Hendrix. </p> <p>More a tip of the hat than a cover, Stevie pays respects to Hendrix’s original opening riff before ditching the rest of the song and heading into parts unknown. It’s just as well. “Testify” wasn’t very good in the first place, and Vaughan carves a much more exciting path while ripping a total of seven—count ’em, seven—electrifying solos, each more intense than the one before it. </p> <p>But what really makes this one of Stevie’s very best performances is the variety of sounds he gets by using his wah pedal to subtly color his sound, as it gradually shifts from silky smooth to full-on banshee wail. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>09. “Couldn't Stand the Weather” (Capitol Theatre, 1985)</strong></p> <p><em>Couldn’t Stand the Weather</em>, Vaughan’s 1984 sophomore album, featured impressive guitar work and sold well, two factors that confirmed SRV and Double Trouble weren’t a mere flash in the pan. </p> <p>Still, many critics and fans at the time couldn’t help but notice that the album was something of a letdown. With its combination of originals and covers and heavy reliance on the blues, the eight-song collection had a “more of the same” feel about it. </p> <p>Thirty years later, however, one can’t help but notice that <em>Couldn’t Stand the Weather</em> is where a Texas-sized portion of Vaughan’s most essential recordings live. These include “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return),” “Cold Shot,” “Tin Pan Alley” and the funky title track, which—contrary to the “more of the same” criticism—finds Vaughan working hard to break out of the blues mold of <em>Texas Flood</em>. The song features several fine guitar parts, from its free-form intro to its funky figures to its Albert King–Jimi Hendrix stew of a solo. </p> <p>One of the most inspiring performances of the song—from September 1985 at New Jersey’s Capitol Theatre—can be found on YouTube (below), courtesy of the Music Vault. It’s all there: Vaughan’s power, intensity, focus and mammoth stage presence, plus a new-for-1985 breakdown section that gave keyboardist Reese Wynans a chance to shine. This version also scores bonus points for its choreography! (<em>P.S.: I was in the audience that night! — Damian Fanelli</em>)</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>08. Riviera Paradise (<em>In Step,</em> 1989)</strong></p> <p>Stevie called it “The King Tone”—the bell-like, crystalline timbre of a Fender Strat played clean, warm and in the in-between (out-of-phase neck-middle and bridge-middle) pickup positions. </p> <p>And he put it to extraordinary use on In Step’s “Riviera Paradise,” one of his rare but unforgettable forays into the world of Wes Montgomery–inspired jazz blues. Done in one magic take, the recording session was the stuff of legends.</p> <p> “Stevie told me he had an instrumental he wanted to try, and I said that I only had nine minutes of tape left,” producer Jim Gaines recalls. “He said, ‘Don’t worry, it’s only four minutes long.’ We dimmed the lights and the band started playing this gorgeous song, which went on to six minutes, seven minutes, seven-and-a-half… The performance was absolutely incredible, totally inspired, dripping with emotion—and here we were, about to run out of tape. </p> <p>“I was jumping up and down, waving my arms, but everyone was so wrapped up in their playing that no one was paying me any mind. I finally got Chris’ attention and emphatically gave him the cut sign. He started trying to flag down Stevie, but he was hunched over his guitar with his head bent down.</p> <p> Finally, he looked up, and they brought the song down just in time. It ended, and a few seconds later the tape finished and the studio was silent, except for the sound of the empty reel spinning around.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>07. Rude Mood (<em>Texas Flood</em>)</strong></p> <p>Along with “Testify” and “Lenny,” “Rude Mood” is another of the three instrumental tracks recorded for SRV’s debut release.</p> <p>Written by Vaughan and inspired by the Lightning Hopkins song “Hopkin’s Sky Hop,” this barn-burning track serves as a tour de force display of Stevie’s mastery of a great many different guitar techniques, including fast alternate picking, complex sections devised of fingers-plus-pick hybrid-picking techniques, and seamless transitions from hard-driving rhythm playing to blazing single-note solos. </p> <p>As a composition, it is perfectly constructed into distinct and individual 12-bar choruses, each of which brings the intensity of the song to a new and higher level. </p> <p>Says Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton, “In early ’79, [country DJ] Joe Gracey made early recordings of Double Trouble while Lou Ann [Barton], Jack Newhouse and Johnny Reno were still in the band. That was blues stuff like, 'Ti Na Nee Na Nu,’ ‘Scratch My Back’ and ‘Sugarcoated Love,’ along with an early version of ‘Rude Mood.’ Those recordings were done in the tiny basement of KOKE, a country station. Gracey recorded us on a four-channel mixer with a reel-to-reel, with everything done totally live using just four microphones.”</p> <p>It’s fascinating to hear the recording of “Rude Mood” from that period, because the <em>Texas Flood</em> version, which is much faster, is a note-perfect recreation of it. There is virtually no improvisation whatsoever. It is almost unheard of for a blues guitar player to compose something that lengthy and complicated, and perform it note-perfectly for years and years, just as Stevie did. </p> <p>He displays incredible attention to detail on this song, and this is even more obvious when you compare the two studio versions, recorded four years apart.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>06. Lenny (<em>Live at the El Mocambo</em>)</strong></p> <p>“Lenny” is a beautiful, Hendrix-inspired ballad that Stevie wrote for his wife, Lenora. </p> <p>The solo section is made up of alternating bars of Emaj13 and Amaj9. Stylistically, the song is very similar to Jimi Hendrix’s classic ballad, “Angel.” For this El Mocambo performance, Stevie chose to play a guitar he dubbed Lenny, a 1963/1964 guitar that Lenny bought for Stevie in the early Eighties. </p> <p>It was stripped down to the natural wood and features a light-brown stain as well as a butterfly tortoiseshell inlay in the body. The guitar originally had a neck with a rosewood fretboard, but Stevie soon replaced it with a maple neck that was a gift from his brother, Jimmie. </p> <p>In true Hendrix style, Stevie treats the arpeggiated bridge section (the B6-D6-G6-Bb6-A6 chord progression) with subtle whammy bar manipulations. His improvised lines are based primarily on E major pentatonic (E F# G# B C#), with brief use of the minor third, G, as a passing tone into the major second, F#. </p> <p>Of great importance is the subtle use of hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides throughout, which serve to provide a liquid feel to his well-articulated and melodic phrases. When playing these lines, Stevie sticks with the index and ring fingers of his fret-hand. Of note is the smooth and effortless way he moves from playing straight 16th notes to playing lines articulated in 16th-note triplets. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>05. “Leave My Girl Alone” (<em>Austin City Limits</em>, 1989; released on <em>The Real Deal: Greatest Hits 2</em>, 1999)</strong></p> <p>One of the most frustrating things about Vaughan’s tragic death in August 1990 was the fact that, in the last two years of his life, his playing had somehow improved. </p> <p>Vaughan’s (and the rest of the band’s) coke-induced distractions were snuffed out, and his portal—that magical gateway that connected the guitarist to his unique source of inspiration, divine or otherwise—was wide open. </p> <p>A perfect example is this live 1989 version of Buddy Guy’s “Leave My Girl Alone,” recorded on the <em>Austin City Limits</em> TV show. Eric Clapton has mentioned how Jeff Beck “pulls” notes from his guitar; in this case, Vaughan is clearly “pushing” the notes out of his Strat, all in relentless, lightning-fast bursts that make you wonder what you’ve been doing with your life. </p> <p>His ominous groans between phrases underscore the passion and excitement he felt during every performance, especially when he was able to experience his surroundings as a clean and sober guitar god. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>04. Little Wing (<em>Live at the El Mocambo</em>, 1991)</strong></p> <p>Stevie Ray Vaughan’s electrifying performance of Jimi Hendrix’s timeless ballad during his July 20, 1983, performance at the El Mocambo Club in Toronto, Canada, is one of the best live versions he ever performed, beautifully filmed and captured at what was the very beginning of his rapid ascent to stardom. Stevie always played the song as an instrumental. </p> <p>Six months after this performance, he would record an instrumental version of “Little Wing” in the Power Station studio in NYC while working on his sophomore release, <em>Couldn’t Stand the Weather</em>. </p> <p>Without mimicking any of Jimi Hendrix’s licks, Stevie expresses his own distinct musicality—as well as complete and utter mastery of the guitar—while beautifully and faithfully emulating Jimi’s style. He relies on specific elements, such as strong and wide vibratos, razor-sharp string bending and expressive legato techniques, delivered with a swinging 16th-note triplet feel. </p> <p>Throughout, Stevie focuses his formidable technique on emotionally expressive phrases, as each new improvised melody balances perfectly against the last.</p> <p> Jimi’s original studio take may have been a mere 2:24 in length, but SRV uses “Little Wing” as a vehicle for extended improvisation, as this stellar version stretches out to just over seven minutes long. A huge plus for all guitarists is that the DVD of this concert, <em>Live at the El Mocambo</em>, stays focused on his hands virtually the entire time, allowing for close scrutiny of just about every blazing lick, bend and vibrato that he performs.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>03. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) (<em>Couldn’t Stand the Weather</em>, 1984)</strong></p> <p>It’s ballsy when any guitarist attempts to cover a Jimi Hendrix song, let alone a masterpiece like “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return).” And even though SRV was no ordinary guitarist, he labored long and hard over the decision to include his version of the tune on his second album, <em>Couldn’t Stand the Weather.</em></p> <p> “I love Hendrix’s music,” Vaughan told <em>Guitar World</em> in 1985, “and I just feel it’s important for people to hear him. I know if I take care of his music that it will take care of me. I treat it with respect—not as a burden. See, I still listen to Hendrix all the time, and I doubt I’ll ever quit.”</p> <p> In many ways Stevie was a perfect envoy for Jimi, as witnessed by his electrifying studio take on “Voodoo.” His uncanny ability to smooth out some of Hendrix’s weirder edges without losing any of the music’s power or excitement allowed him to credibly deliver Jimi’s avant-garde blues to a whole new generation of guitar fanatics.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>02. “Pride and Joy” (<em>Texas Flood</em>)</strong></p> <p>Imagine what radio listeners in 1983 thought when they first heard the fat, droning Eb notes that kick off Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy.” </p> <p>After their steady diet of Irene Cara, Flock of Seagulls and Human League, did they even know it was a guitar? Regardless, the notes—which quickly morphed into a rollicking Texas shuffle—underscored the return of heart-felt guitar music as a viable artistic force. </p> <p>Part of what makes “Pride and Joy” stand out from, well, pretty much everything else is its reliance on heavy-gauge open strings, including the high E (.13, tuned to Eb), B (.15, tuned to Bb) and low E (.58, tuned to Eb). Throw in Vaughan’s trademark “Number One” Strat, an Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer, a Roland Dimension D Chorus and a Dumble amp (which belonged to Jackson Browne), and you’ve got something truly unique. </p> <p>“Stevie wrote ‘Pride and Joy’ for this new girlfriend he had when he was inspired by their relationship,” Layton said. “Then they had a fight and he turned around and wrote ‘I’m Cryin’,’ which is really the same song, just the flip side, lyrically.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>01. “Texas Flood” (<em>Texas Flood,</em> 1983)</strong></p> <p>Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble—bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton—didn’t walk into Jackson Browne’s Down Town Studio in Los Angeles in late 1982 with highfalutin plans about recording their monster debut album. </p> <p>In fact, their sites were set much lower. “We were just making a tape,” Layton said. “We hoped maybe we were making a demo that would actually be listened to by a real record company.” Browne had offered them 72 hours of free time, and the group recorded 10 songs over its last two days at the studio. </p> <p>The last tune to be tracked was “Texas Flood,” an obscure slow-blues tune recorded in 1958 by Texas bluesman Larry Davis (with Fenton Robinson on guitar) that had been a staple of Vaughan’s live shows for years. Vaughan’s version, which borrowed heavily from Davis’ arrangement and singing style, was recorded in a single take—live—just as the clock ran out. According to Nick Palaski and Bill Crawford’s <em><a href="">Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire</a></em>, there were only two overdubs, both covering mistakes made when Vaughan broke strings. </p> <p>Listening to Vaughan’s ferocious Albert King–on-steroids two-string bends, it’s a miracle another three or four E and/or B strings didn’t self-destruct every few bars. </p> <p>The stark, five-and-a-half-minute recording is a composite of everything that made Vaughan great, from the note choices to the intensity to his ability to learn from, yet build upon, the groundwork laid by his influences.</p> <p><iframe width="360" height="365" 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="/stevie-ray-vaughan">Stevie Ray Vaughan</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> best Damian Fanelli geatest GW Archive GWLinotte October 2014 Stevie Ray Vaughan top 30 Guitar World Lists Videos News Features Magazine Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:28:44 +0000 Damian Fanelli, Brad Tolinski, Andy Aledort Top 10 Weirdest Guitar Sounds Ever Recorded <!--paging_filter--><p>Electricity can do strange things. </p> <p>When it was added to the guitar, some years ago, it opened up new possibilities for players of the old box o’ six strings. </p> <p>The following sonic scientists, using varying proportions of technique and effects, set out to discover just what these possibilities were. </p> <p>The result? Guitars that don’t sound like guitars! </p> <p><strong>10. Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago”</strong></p> <p>This is a rare occasion—Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck playing guitar together in the Yardbirds. </p> <p>Before the solo kicks in, the two guitar heroes, in tandem, unleash 15 seconds of controlled feedback that sounds like an air-raid siren. Think context: this was the 1960s, before everyone started using signal processing. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>09. Johnny Marr “How Soon is Now?”</strong></p> <p>What is that pulsing sound in the Smiths' coolest song? Marr cranking the tremolo setting on his Fender Twin to make his one-chord riff sound like an automated machine. </p> <p>Actually, the effect was studio enhanced: he re-recorded the part with <em>five</em> twins.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>08. Eddie Van Halen, “Eruption”</strong></p> <p>Again, it’s the context, mang. In 1978, Eddie’s fingerboard tapping and whammy-bar divebombs were like the shape of video-game soundtracks for years to come. </p> <p>Then, of course, every guitarist in L.A. jumped on the bandwagon, and before long things got much more sophisticated than Space Invaders.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>07. Paul Gilbert, “Solo” from <em>Live Extreme, Vol. 1</em></strong></p> <p>Some players use effects as tools. Paul Gilbert uses tools as effects. </p> <p>One pick wasn’t enough to get the tremelo-picking sound he wanted. The solution? A cordless drill, on whose bit were mounted <em>three</em> picks. This produces overtones that make it sound as if he’s playing in unison with himself, if that makes sense.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>06. Tom Morello, “Revolver”</strong></p> <p>The intro sounds like R2D2 on a bad trip, while the start of the solo calls to mind a factory treadmill. </p> <p>It just goes to show that if you give a man a DigiTech Whammy pedal, an Ibanez Talman with a sturdy toggle switch and few Allen wrenches, he can make all the same noises as a turntablist—and then some.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>05. Buckethead, “Dead Man Walking”</strong></p> <p>From Praxis <em>Transmutation</em>, this is the next level of video-game soundtracks played by electric guitar. The masked man’s hyper-frenetic tapping here out-blips a computer in heat.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>04. Jimi Hendrix, “The Star Spangled Banner”</strong></p> <p>Jimi performed this at the height of the Vietnam War, and his revolutionary use of feedback and tremolo bar was the perfect musical correlative to “bombs bursting in air.” </p> <p>When you first listened to this, did your mom come into the room and ask if the stereo was broken?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>03. Steve Vai, “Next Stop Earth”</strong></p> <p>From his solo-debut, <em>Flex-Able</em>, this gem finds Vai imitating the inflections of a human voice via finger slides, micro-bends and a wah pedal. Can you tell he used to play with Zappa?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>02. Fred Frith, “Should Old Arthur”</strong></p> <p>On his 1974 album, <em>Guitar Solos</em>, this former member of obscure prog-rockers Henry Cow pioneered the concept of “preparing” guitars: tuning them to unorthodox pitches, attaching alligator clips to the strings, and playing them by any means other than picking. </p> <p>This particular track sounds like a drunken ghost talking.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>01. Adrian Belew, “Elephant Talk”</strong></p> <p>When Belew joined Robert Fripp’s reformed King Crimson for 1981’s <em>Discipline</em>, he stunned guitarists by harnessing the effects in his rack to sound like a herd of animals. </p> <p>In this case, an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff running into a Deluxe Electric Mistress flanger helps transform a guitar into a roaring elephant.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" 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="/paul-gilbert">Paul Gilbert</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/steve-vai">Steve Vai</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> GO October 2006 Guitar One Guitar World Lists News Features Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:15:09 +0000 Guitar World Staff The Fab 50: The Beatles' 50 Greatest Guitar Moments <!--paging_filter--><p>In 2014, 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> celebrated 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 F# 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 (7#9) 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)-b7-#9. 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 Gb7#9 chord (voiced, low to high, Gb Db Bb 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 <em>Help!,</em> 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 <em>Revolver</em>. 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 <em>Revolver</em>, 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> <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 GWLinotte January 2014 John Lennon Paul McCartney The Beatles Guitar World Lists News Features Magazine Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:36:46 +0000 Christopher Scapelliti, Jimmy Brown, Damian Fanelli