Rock

Martin Cooper looks at the in­flu­en­tial style of the leg­endary Bea­tle gui­tarist and chart­top­ping solo artist, Ge­orge Har­ri­son.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Martin Cooper fo­cuses on Ge­orge Har­ri­son’s post-Bea­tles play­ing style, in­clud­ing slide.

Ge­orge Har­ri­son was a hugely im­por­tant mem­ber of The Bea­tles and some of their best songs were writ­ten by him, not Len­non and McCart­ney. some­thing, while My Gui­tar Gen­tly weeps and Here Comes The sun were all penned by Har­ri­son, and Ge­orge also played un­for­get­table intro parts and so­los to count­less great Bea­tles songs.

Har­ri­son may have been the ‘quiet’ Bea­tle, but his con­tri­bu­tion to the band’s out­put was nonethe­less vi­tal. He also had a suc­cess­ful solo ca­reer and was a found­ing mem­ber of the ‘mul­ti­mil­lion­aire’ su­per­group, The Trav­el­ling wil­burys, with roy or­bi­son, Bob Dy­lan, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty in the late 80s.

Har­ri­son’s early in­flu­ences ranged from Django rein­hardt to Chet atkins and Carl Perkins, and his sense of melody and cre­ative spark was present in al­most ev­ery gui­tar part or song that he com­posed through­out his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer. in fact, to­wards the end of The Bea­tles’ life as a band, Paul McCart­ney con­fessed that Har­ri­son’s songs had be­come at least as strong as those writ­ten by him­self and Len­non.

To­day we’re look­ing at the mid-to-late 80s part of Har­ri­son’s solo ca­reer, with a sprin­kling of the more psy­che­delic 70s thrown in for good mea­sure. This was a time when al­bums like Cloud nine gave Har­ri­son com­mer­cial suc­cess on both sides of the at­lantic. The solo here also in­cludes slide gui­tar, which per­me­ated many of the songs dur­ing this time. of course, Ge­orge was able to call on the very best play­ers to join him on his records, in­clud­ing the likes of el­ton John and eric Clap­ton – not a bad ses­sion band to gather round you in the stu­dio.

our ex­am­ple is in the key of B mi­nor (B-C#-D-e-F#-G-a), and be­ing a Har­ri­son style song it also fea­tures non-di­a­tonic chords (in­clud­ing aug­mented); plus a B Mixoly­dian (B-C#-D#-e-F#-G#-a) run in bar 20.

The parts aren’t dif­fi­cult to play, but you’ll need to fo­cus on what is hap­pen­ing at each stage and also on the slide pas­sages and any un­usual chords. The solo fea­tures slide for the first eight bars, and then some sparse mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic phrases in the fi­nal eight. There is a def­i­nite Jeff Lynne (ELO leader and pro­ducer for Har­ri­son, Petty and or­bi­son) style sound this month, with dif­fer­ent tones used for each part, and Lynne’s trade­mark lightly over­driven power chords sim­i­lar to his work with eLo, Tom Petty and The wil­burys from the late 80s and early 90s.

NEXT MONTH: John looks at the play­ing of Robby Krieger from The Doors

Har­ri­son was able to call on the very best play­ers to join him on his al­bums in­clud­ing el­ton John and eric clap­ton.

Ge­orge with a mid 80s Fen­der Stra­to­caster

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