EX­TREME GUI­TAR Stretch your bound­aries

Are you tired of play­ing mid­dle-of-the-road blues, rock or pop? Then let’s get ad­ven­tur­ous and take things to ex­tremes, says Mil­ton Mer­mikides.

Guitar Techniques - - Contents -

Take your gui­tar play­ing be­yond the realms of stan­dard so­los, licks and chord pro­gres­sions. Mil­ton Mer­mikides shows you how.

All mu­sic de­vel­op­ment hap­pens through the as­sim­i­la­tion of new ideas, and what might have been rad­i­cal in the past can be­come part of the ac­cepted mu­si­cal land­scape.

In this ar­ti­cle we’ll ex­plore a range of ‘ex­treme’ mu­si­cal ideas some dis­tance from the beaten path of ‘con­ven­tional’ gui­tar play­ing. The ideas pre­sented here are in­flu­enced by some of the more rad­i­cal and ‘left-field’ gui­tarists such as Bill Frisell, Frank Zappa, Tom Morello, Steve Vai, Derek Bai­ley, Robert Fripp, Marty Fried­man, Buck­et­head, Ron Thal, Ed­die Van Halen, Paul Gil­bert, Wayne Krantz, Adrian Belew and Joe Sa­tri­ani, as well as ideas and con­cepts drawn from ‘clas­si­cal’ mod­ernism, con­tem­po­rary har­mony and var­i­ous mu­sic cul­tures around the world.

We’ll be look­ing at ideas which - rather than re­ly­ing on ex­tra­or­di­nary ef­fects or su­per-hu­man tech­ni­cal pro­fi­ciency – use novel, imag­i­na­tive and ver­sa­tile con­cepts to cre­ate mu­si­cal in­ter­est, and may be achieved with­out a huge ar­ray of ef­fects or tech­nique-based prac­tice time.

All mu­sic de­vel­op­ment hap­pens through the as­sim­i­la­tion of new ideas, and what might have felt rad­i­cal in the past (the use of dis­tor­tion, tap­ping, dive-bombs, non-Western scales, wide in­ter­vals) can be­come just part of the ac­cepted mu­si­cal land­scape. So it’s im­por­tant to be open to new ideas and sounds, as what might seem like an od­dity to­day may well be­come an im­por­tant part of your mu­si­cal iden­tity (and that of the whole cul­ture) in the fu­ture.

This ar­ti­cle is laid out in three sec­tions that deal with ‘ex­treme’ con­cepts in the cat­e­gories of rhythm, pitch and noise. Fi­nally we’ll show how some of these con­cepts might come to­gether in the con­text of an ac­tu­als piece. Re­mem­ber that the ideas pre­sented here rep­re­sent just the tini­est frac­tion of what’s pos­si­ble, and I’ve selected small ideas that have un­lim­ited ap­pli­ca­tions which you should get into and ex­plore with your own unique mu­si­cal aims and imag­i­na­tion.

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