ACOUS­TIC

Con­tin­u­ing his search to un­cover the great­est acous­tic gui­tarists Stu­art Ryan ex­am­ines the burning style of a leg­endary coun­try picker.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Stu­art Ryan on the acous­tic style of coun­try singer and ses­sion gui­tarist Glen Camp­bell.

You will cer­tainlY have heard of Glen camp­bell, but you might not know what a fab­u­lous gui­tarist he is. one of the most pro­lific ses­sion mu­si­cians in Amer­ica in the 60s he played on scores of hits that be­long to the pan­theon of mod­ern clas­sics – it’s his gen­tle acous­tic strum­ming on Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night and on The Right­eous Broth­ers’ That Lov­ing Feel­ing. He also fea­tured on many of The Beach Boys’ tracks and worked for Nat King Cole, Phil Spec­tor, Elvis Pres­ley and many oth­ers. In the 60s he was part of the fa­mous ‘Wreck­ing Crew’ team of ses­sion mu­si­cians and his achieve­ments dur­ing this time would have left many a gui­tarist feel­ing that they had reached the apogée of pro­fes­sional achieve­ments.

How­ever, Camp­bell was only just get­ting started and went on to have a glit­ter­ing solo ca­reer that spawned 73 Top 40 hits and even saw him out­sell the Bea­tles in 1969. with over 50 mil­lion al­bum sales to his credit it’s fair to say that Glen camp­bell is a true gui­tar leg­end. What’s more, he was able to more than hold his own against some of his most gifted pick­ing con­tem­po­raries – just check out his play­ing with The ‘Alabama Wild­man’ Jerry Reed and you’ll see what I mean!

Born in Pike County, Arkansas on April 22nd, 1936, Camp­bell learned how to play gui­tar from an un­cle. He moved to LA and spent the 60s work­ing as a stu­dio gui­tarist and solo artist sign­ing with Capitol Records in 1962. Af­ter ini­tial solo of­fer­ings failed to gen­er­ate the needed hits it looked like his solo ca­reer may fal­ter. How­ever, 1967’s Burning Bridges al­bum spawned sev­eral hits in­clud­ing the al­bum’s ti­tle track. The fol­low­ing year his ver­sion of Jimmy Webb’s Wi­chita Line­man was a huge suc­cess and ce­mented Camp­bell’s po­si­tion as a se­ri­ous solo artist. The hits con­tin­ued to come in the 70s with the sin­gle rhine­stone cow­boy shift­ing a stag­ger­ing two mil­lion copies.

Camp­bell’s idio­syn­cratic gui­tar style is ev­i­dence of his wide rang­ing stu­dio ca­reer where an ‘ev­ery­thing goes’ ap­proach to the in­stru­ment would have been es­sen­tial. You’ll hear plenty of coun­try but also be-bop and Django-in­fused licks along­side bluesy phrases. His highly in­di­vid­ual style does make de­mands on you as a player as a typ­i­cal Camp­bell gui­tar part can fea­ture any­thing from chicken pickin’ to high-tempo al­ter­nate pick­ing. A su­perb rhythm and lead player I’ve elected to look at his strum­ming style and his lead ap­proach. Sadly, Glen an­nounced in 2011 that he was suf­fer­ing from Alzheimer’s dis­ease and af­ter a farewell tour he re­tired from mu­sic. If you are look­ing for a les­son in taste and tech­nique then you don’t have to look much fur­ther than Glen Camp­bell.

I would have been con­tent to just do stu­dio work. Mak­ing it on my own never re­ally en­tered my mind. Glen Camp­bell

Glen Camp­bell: the first player to en­dorse Ova­tion

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