TALKBACK

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

More of your in­sights and opin­ions.

ON THE LEVEL

First I wanted to say thank you to your team for a fan­tas­tic mag­a­zine, I’ve been a sub­scriber for many years and get a lot of en­joy­ment and in­spi­ra­tion from all the con­tent and fea­tures it con­tains.

The les­son that I’ve got the most from in re­cent months was the su­perb ‘4 Lev­els Of Blues’ by Mil­ton Mer­mikides - this lit a fire and it’s still burning! Now, I know my lim­i­ta­tions on the in­stru­ment and the joys and frus­tra­tions that this pro­vides me with; how­ever, I’ve been in­spired by this ar­ti­cle to work through all the so­los and un­der­stand them. I’m pleased to say that I’ve cracked them (well 90% there, my tim­ing is not as in the pocket as it could be). I think the rea­son for this is the feel­ing of pro­gres­sion that I got from the ar­ti­cle in terms of play­ing and knowl­edge, cou­pled with play­ing some great tunes in dif­fer­ent feels.

The other el­e­ment was a clear guide it pro­vided and it’s this some­times that I think is re­ally hard with learn­ing the gui­tar - there is so much to learn in so many ways that some­times you can’t help feel­ing swamped. I would like to thank Mil­ton for pro­vid­ing an ar­ti­cle that re­ally pro­vided clar­ity, in­spi­ra­tion and helped pro­vide some fo­cus which over­all has helped im­prove my play­ing.

So, please can we have more of th­ese in dif­fer­ent styles and that fo­cus on rhythm play­ing as well as lead? Fur­ther­more, would it be pos­si­ble to run some jazz lessons fo­cus­ing on play­ing over stan­dards - rhythm and lead? I do think that this is an el­e­ment miss­ing in re­cent is­sues. It’s a great way to learn many dif­fer­ent el­e­ments of our great in­stru­ment in­clud­ing scales, chords, melody, tim­ing, the­ory etc - as I am sure you know!

Thanks for your time in read­ing this email and I hope it pro­vides you all with some ideas for lessons, if you haven’t thought of them al­ready!! Alex Beasley We were rather proud of that too – from its ini­tial con­cept to Mil­ton’s su­perb re­al­i­sa­tion of the idea. For those that didn’t see it, it was sim­ple a way to look at play­ing blues no mat­ter what level you are at – and to show that even the most limited tech­nique can cre­ate truly sat­is­fy­ing blues so­los. We’re al­ready on the case with trans­fer­ring the con­cept to other styles – rock and jazz are ob­vi­ous con­tenders – so watch this space, and thanks for the kind words.

Pete Cal­lard spent years ex­plain­ing how to solo over the com­mon jazz chords, changes and pro­gres­sions; but now that John Wheatcroft has taken over he may want to look at it again in his own way.

BRING­ING UP THE REA

I love your monthly blues col­umn and the artists you cover. I par­tic­u­larly en­joyed the Mark Knopfler cover you did a while ago and was won­der­ing if you was go­ing to cover an­other North East fin­ger­style gui­tar player, Chris Rea. I love the way Chris plays slide gui­tar and I have been try­ing to play some of his songs with lit­tle suc­cess. I also love the way Chris man­ages to play the blues and how he in­cor­po­rates it into pop songs such as Au­berge, On The Beach and of course Road To Hell.

So I was won­der­ing if you have any plans to cover this great artist in the fu­ture? Mike Dy­mond I’ve long been a fan of Chris Rea, both as a pop-rock artist and in his later blues of­fer­ings. In fact, I re­mem­ber sit­ting with Chris in a cafe in Not­ting Hill in Lon­don (I was in­ter­view­ing him for Gui­tarist mag­a­zine) and I asked him why he didn’t just bring out a blues al­bum, since blues was so in­grained in his style. At the time he said the record com­pany wouldn’t wear it, but of course a few years later things changed and that’s ex­actly what he did, to fan­tas­tic re­cep­tion. So yes, a look at Chris’s style is per­haps well over­due.

HIT­TING A SIX

I read with in­ter­est the ar­ti­cle from Lee Ris­coe and agree that play­ing bass helps [When learn­ing gui­tar or get­ting back into it in or­der to strengthen the hands af­ter an ac­ci­dent, etc - Ed]. Hav­ing re­tired four years ago I have found more time to at­tempt play­ing gui­tar. About a year ago I pur­chased a Fen­der Bass VI on which I can at­tempt bass and melody. Power chords work quite well for me on the bass strings and other chords can be played on the lighter strings. At­tempt­ing to play The Shad­ows’ At­lantis was in­ter­est­ing. I can re­mem­ber Fen­der VI’s used back in the 60s.

Thank you for great mag­a­zine and keep­ing an old guy happy. Dave J Smith Thanks, Dave. Yes, lots of bands used six-string basses in the 60s – var­i­ous mem­bers of The Bea­tles shared a Fen­der Bass VI, Jack Bruce in Cream played one too, The Everly Broth­ers songs were pep­pered with it; and of course The Shad­ows’ bass player Jet Har­ris is fa­mous for his use of such a ma­chine. I’m still not sure about bass as ther­apy af­ter hand or arm ac­ci­dents; but as a ‘miss­ing link’ be­tween gui­tar and full-blown bass the six-string or ‘bari­tone’ bass. It’s a great sound to use when no other ef­fect will work.

GI­ANT STEPS

Greet­ings from New Jer­sey USA. First I’d like to com­mend you on your mag­a­zine. I think Gui­tar Tech­niques is the best gui­tar mag­a­zine avail­able to­day. I wish I had ev­ery is­sue. I have a spe­cial re­quest to make for a tran­scrip­tion of John Coltrane’s Gi­ant Steps solo. I’ll un­der­stand if it can’t be done based on space con­straints as it’s 10 cho­ruses long. I would ap­pre­ci­ate it if it could be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion. Thank you very much. I wish you con­tin­ued suc­cess and all the best to the en­tire staff. Stephan Solomon That’s not such a nutty idea as it first sounds, Stephan. Gi­ant Steps is a no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult piece to play; but more es­pe­cially to solo over, as its changes are de­lib­er­ately com­plex and it’s hard to find com­mon tonal­i­ties – as you would, for ex­am­ple, in a blues.

You’re right that the orig­i­nal is a bit of a mon­ster; but a typ­i­cal GT ap­proach might be to tran­scribe some of Coltrane’s orig­i­nal cho­ruses, then also tab out a ver­sion by per­haps Joe Pass, to see how a great jazz gui­tarist might tackle the piece. It’s in the pot for fu­ture pe­rusal.

Chris Rea: soon to be in GT?

Joe Pass: jazz gui­tar gi­ant

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