60 Sec­onds with...

A minute’s all it takes to find out what makes a great gui­tarist tick. This month, leg­endary singer-song­writer-gui­tarist, Billy Bragg

Guitar Techniques - - Intro -

GT: Who was your first in­flu­ence to play the gui­tar?

BB: Ron­nie Wood, when in The Faces and play­ing with Rod Ste­wart.

GT: What was the first gui­tar you re­ally lusted af­ter?

BB: A Les Paul Ju­nior like the one Mick Jones played in the Clash. I bought an Ar­biter copy which had a proper P90 pickup.

GT: What was the sin­gle best gig you ever did…

BB: In Belfast, the night Mar­garet Thatcher re­signed. Un­for­get­table.

GT: …and your worst play­ing nightmare?

BB: Be­ing heck­led in a for­eign lan­guage, ev­ery­one in the au­di­ence laugh­ing and me not be­ing able to an­swer back. It hap­pened to me once in south­ern Ger­many.

GT: What’s the most im­por­tant mu­si­cal les­son you ever learnt?

BB: Read­ing mu­sic can be con­strict­ing.

GT: Do you still prac­tise?

BB: That’s what sound­checks are for!

GT: Do you have a pre-gig warm-up rou­tine?

BB: I do a vo­cal warm-up, which re­ally helps some­one like me who isn’t much of a tech­ni­cal singer. I have the Gui­tar Tool­kit app on my iPhone and I go to the chords and strum my way through the scale from F#. Works for me.

GT: If you could put to­gether a fan­tasy band with you in it, who would the other play­ers be (dead or alive)?

BB: Ron­nie Lane on bass, Ron­nie Wood on gui­tar, Ian McLa­gan on key­boards, Ken­ney Jones on drums – the clas­sic Faces line-up.

GT: Present com­pany ex­cepted (and notwith­stand­ing the stu­pid­ity of the ques­tion!), who’s the great­est gui­tarist that’s ever lived?

BB: Of my gen­er­a­tion, I’d have to say Johnny Marr: in­no­va­tive, melodic, tech­ni­cally amaz­ing and a lovely bloke too.

GT: Is there a solo by some­one else that you re­ally wish you had played?

BB: Loads, but one of my all time favourites is Night Fades Away by

I’d like to be re­mem­bered for do­ing gigs that en­ter­tain people as well as mak­ing them think.

Nils Lof­gren. The whole song is one long solo with a cou­ple of verses chucked in to break them up. The most joy­ous piece of gui­tar play­ing I’ve ever heard.

GT: What’s the gui­tar solo or song of your own of which you’re most proud?

BB: I still love play­ing the solo from There Is Power In A Union.

GT: What would you most like to be re­mem­bered for?

BB: For do­ing gigs that en­ter­tain people as well as mak­ing them think. People dis­miss me as be­ing all pol­i­tics, but that’s just part of what I do and who I am.

GT: What are you up to at the mo­ment?

BB: I’m on a plane fly­ing be­tween Welling­ton and Auck­land in New Zealand at the tail end of an ex­ten­sive Aus­tralian/NZ tour.

Billy Bragg: “People dis­miss me as be­ing all about pol­i­tics.”

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