The secrets behind Steve Miller's tone on Jet Airliner

(Image credit: Joey Foley/WireImage)

Sometimes something that seems simple isn’t as simple as it seems. A good example is the guitar tracks on Steve Miller’s Jet Airliner, which sound like an electric guitar plugged straight into an amp playing a progression of three open chords, some octave overdubs on a melodic Crossroads-style line, and a handful of overdriven rhythm guitar accents. 

But anyone who has paid close attention to the recording while trying to learn the song or duplicate the tones has likely found those tasks more elusive than they initially imagined.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.