You know that feeling when you come across an example of stellar electric guitar playing, and you just can’t imagine yourself listening to anything else for the foreseeable future? Well, if you haven’t, chances are you’ll experience it for the first time today, courtesy of Eric Gales.
The blues master recently sat down with Sweetwater for an episode of Raw Riffs to demo his newly announced MXR Raw Dawg overdrive pedal with a series of quick-fire covers of a number of classic tracks from Jimi Hendrix, Billy Gibbons and Robin Trower. The results? Something quite spectacular.
"I'm super-excited to be part of GearFest at Sweetwater for 2021," commented Gales. "Just for a brief moment, I'd like to give some insight on a couple of the riffs that really touched me and really inspired me as a kid and a young guitarist coming up in the world."
There’s a lot to behold in the seven-minute video. Gales’s tone, fueled by the bite-y grit of the Raw Dawg via a PRS McCarty 594, is the quintessential blues sound, dripping with elite clarity, yet blurring into an almost fuzz-y cloud of gain when pushed.
Take his quick-fire cover of Purple Haze, for example, which opens the video in style. The customary dissonant stabs precede the iconic lick, which Gales decorates with a series of oversized string glides.
The verse section, while staying true to Hendrix’s original blueprint, sees Gale flex his improvisational prowess, as he successfully curates a blend of string-skipping licks, vibrato-drenched hammer-ons and open-string chord-based constructions.
Billy Gibbons’s Just Got Paid, Robin Trower’s Bridge of Sighs and Hendrix’s Red House all receives similar treatments, and showcase Gales's almost unrivaled command of the fretboard. In reality, words don’t quite do it justice, so make sure you check out the video above to understand what we’re waxing lyrical about.
Of course, we shouldn’t be too surprised by the caliber of Gales’s playing. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that Mark Tremonti was theorizing the blues ace was actually the best guitar player on the earth.
Now the music industry is making its way back after its long Covid-induced hiatus – see Back to Live for everything relating to that – here’s hoping that the long-awaited, hugely anticipated album Gales is making with Joe Bonamassa shows up in the near future.
In the meantime, we’ll probably be coming back to this video for our daily fix of Gales guitar goodness.