Hole Notes: Monitoring the Pulse of Nancy Wilson’s Awe-Inspiring Acoustic Work

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Seattle-based rockers Heart had been through numerous name and personnel changes by 1974, when Nancy Wilson joined her older sister, lead singer Ann, in the lineup.

Nancy was enlisted to help expand the act’s sonic palette with her acoustic guitar playing. A fan of Paul Simon, the Beatles, Jimmy Page and Steve Howe, among others, Nancy brought to the band her mastery of fingerpicking, thumb-/hybrid-picked styles and colorful open chords, which added a Led Zeppelin–like folk edge to Heart’s sound, as heard on early Wilson-sister songs like “Crazy on You,” from the band’s debut album, Dreamboat Annie.

The record, which also featured the smash hit “Magic Man,” gave the band its first taste of success and was soon followed by a string of now-classic albums, like Little Queen (featuring “Barracuda”), Magazine (“Heartless”), Dog and Butterfly (title track) and Bebe Le Strange (“Even It Up”).

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Dale Turner

A singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/film composer, Musician's Institute instructor, and author of 50+ transcription/instructional books, Dale Turner is also Guitar World's "Hole Notes"/"Acoustic Nation" columnist, and the former West Coast Editor of Guitar One magazine. Some of Dale’s old, weird, rare, and/or exotic instruments are featured in his score for WEEDS, the first animated short completed within the Filmmakers Co-op at Disney Feature Animation. His most recent CD, Mannerisms Magnified, was praised by Guitar Player magazine for its "Smart pop tunes that are crammed with interesting guitar parts and tones ... Like what the Beach Boys might do if they were on an acid trip that was on the verge of getting out of control. Yeah!"