Carl verheyen part 2

Join Mil­ton Mer­mikides as he wel­comes you to the sec­ond part of Carl Verheyen’s sen­sa­tional video mas­ter­class - watch the man im­pro­vise and be amazed.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Check out Carl’s to­tally im­pro­vised piece on video - and pre­pare to be amazed!

CARL IS One of the most re­spected gui­tarists in the in­dus­try with a 40-year play­ing ca­reer play­ing count­less ses­sions on al­bums (with artists as di­vere as Dolly Par­ton and Al­lan Holdsworth), in­nu­mer­able film scores, as part of prog band Pro­col Harum and an ac­tive solo ca­reer. What sets Carl apart is his stylis­tic mas­tery, melodic sen­si­bil­ity, ed­u­ca­tional gen­eros­ity and, as John Jor­gensen puts it, his ‘trans­par­ent tech­nique’ in that his tech­ni­cal fa­cil­ity is only ever used in ser­vice of the track. no won­der that he’s still so much in de­mand and re­ceives unadul­ter­ated praise from the lofty likes of Robben Ford, Joe Bona­massa, Steve Lukather, Jenifer Bat­ten, Robben Ford, Brad Prais­ley, Steve Morse, Scott Hen­der­son and Al­bert Lee.

So it was a great plea­sure to have Carl visit the Gui­tar Tech­niques stu­dio dur­ing his mas­sive Euro­pean tour, and in a cou­ple of hours he had given us enough great ma­te­rial for sev­eral video lessons.

For this ar­ti­cle, I’ve tran­scribed Carl’s im­pro­vi­sa­tion over Jay’s Juke Joint, a mi­nor key track by Ja­son Sid­well. His solo demon­strates a flu­ent im­pro­vi­sa­tional knack, stylis­tic ver­sa­til­ity (in­clud­ing pop, coun­try, blues, jazz and Latin in­flu­ences) and a com­mand over in­ven­tive chord voic­ing and Pen­ta­tonic melod­i­cism. In a few short min­utes Carl de­liv­ers a mas­ter­class in mi­nor chords and gives any gui­tarist am­ple ma­te­rial to im­prove their play­ing.

When pre­sented with a track with a se­ries of mi­nor chords, many gui­tarists might com­mit to sin­gle-line solo­ing (per­haps based on the mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic of the key), or to familiar chord voic­ing strum­ming. How­ever, Carl’s play­ing is a per­fect fu­sion of ef­fec­tive lead ideas, in­ven­tive chord-melody rhyth­mic pat­terns and a ma­ture and paced melodic sen­si­bil­ity. There’s much to learn here but here’s a run­down of the main char­ac­ter­is­tics...

Carl ef­fort­lessly and in­tu­itively switches be­tween pick and hy­brid style (and even Wes Mont­gomery-style thumb tech­nique) so that all man­ner of dou­ble-stops, spaced chords, sin­gle-line flu­ency and con­ven­tional strum­ming tech­nique are at his dis­posal. This al­lows a far, far greater range of ex­pres­sion dur­ing per­for­mance.

When faced with a sin­gle chord for har­monic con­text (say Em7), rather than hav­ing a cou­ple of fixed chord shapes, Carl has at his dis­posal a host of as­so­ci­ated small voic­ings, al­low­ing a blended chord-melody ap­proach with a sat­is­fy­ing har­monic flu­id­ity. This is ev­i­dent through­out the track, but in just bars 13-16, 10 dif­fer­ent voic­ings for Em7 are used, which makes it an ex­cel­lent pas­sage to

study in de­tail. There’s also as­so­ci­ated chordal ma­te­rial for each of the other two chords, turn­ing this ap­par­ently sim­ple three-chord track into a true study.

In Carl’s hands the familiar E mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic or Blues scale is given an in­ven­tive so­phis­ti­ca­tion with the use of the 9th (F#) and oc­ca­sional Do­rian im­pli­ca­tion with the ma­jor 6th (C#) (see bar 35). The familiar Pen­ta­tonic shapes are also re­vi­talised with the use of wide intervallic string skip­ping (bars 19-20, bar 66), and fast po­si­tion changes us­ing open strings (bar 62) and slides (bars 26-27).

Fi­nally, Carl’s play­ing here is characterised

carl has worked with an amaz­ing list of mu­si­cians in a hugely di­verse range of styles.

by great rhyth­mic so­phis­ti­ca­tion; there’s a lot of syn­co­pa­tion on the semi­qua­ver level which draws in stylis­tic ref­er­ence from jazz (bars 31-32), funk-rock (bar 26), folk (bars 46-47) to Latin rhythms (bars 55-57).

This is a re­ally re­ward­ing solo to learn, not only to build one’s vo­cab­u­lary, but also as a source of in­struc­tion and in­spi­ra­tion of how in­ven­tive one can be in a rel­a­tively sim­ple har­monic con­text.

Carl Verheyen: this month’s solo is a real mas­ter­class

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