This month, Martin Cooper trav­els to the Windy City to look at a band that made the 80s power bal­lad their own – the one and only Chicago.

Guitar Techniques - - NEWS -

Martin Cooper ex­am­ines one of the might­i­est of US bands: Chicago and gui­tarist Terry Kath.

changed their name to Chicago and took the in­spi­ra­tion for their now well-known logo from Coca-Cola. They are also one of the most suc­cess­ful Amer­i­can bands of all time, sec­ond only to The Beach Boys in terms of al­bum sales, with 18 plat­inum and eight multi-plat­inum al­bums among the 100 mil­lion sales they’ve achieved.

Formed orig­i­nally by sax­o­phon­ist Wal­ter parazaider, gui­tarist Terry Kath, drum­mer danny seraphine, trom­bon­ist James pankow, trum­peter lee lough­nane and key­boardist and singer robert lamm, Chicago has had many line-up changes over the years. Bassist peter Cetera went on to have a lot of suc­cess as a solo artist while cur­rent gui­tarist Keith How­land has been with the band since 1995. other gui­tarists to fea­ture with the band have been Chris pin­nick in the early 1980s and dawayne Bai­ley who was with them be­fore How­land took over. They con­tinue to play live and record, in­clud­ing tours with the likes of The doo­bie Broth­ers, and earth, Wind & Fire. They have ap­peared over the past few years on hit shows such as Amer­i­can idol, as well as per­form­ing at the leg­endary red rocks venue in Colorado with the Colorado sym­phony or­ches­tra.

The band changed their more ex­per­i­men­tal sound to the well known pop-rock bal­lad style af­ter the death of orig­i­nal gui­tarist Terry Kath, who sadly died from a self-in­flicted but ac­ci­den­tal gun­shot wound. With pro­ducer david Foster at the helm, the 80s ush­ered in an era of lush ar­range­ments and big cho­ruses, cul­mi­nat­ing in some of the big­gest pop hits of the day, in­clud­ing you’re The in­spi­ra­tion and Hard Habit To Break.

it’s the big cho­rus and huge rock guitar era of Chicago that we’re look­ing at this month, and this style fea­tures on songs such as stay The night and look Away, so check out the get The Tone box for ideas on how to get that clas­sic 80s rock type sound.

This month’s track is in the key of C ma­jor (C-d-e-F-g-A-B), although there are some notes and chords out­side the key, such as d ma­jor and the Bb power chord. The in­tro uses clean guitar arpeg­gios, as well as some big over­driven power chords and sin­gle-note lines. it also fea­tures a solo that em­ploys the C ma­jor scale and tar­gets spe­cific chord tones over the chord changes. make sure you have a look at the no­ta­tion and the play­ing tips as well to re­ally nail the Chicago sound.

chicago are sec­ond only to The Beach Boys in terms of al­bum sales by amer­i­can bands in the USa.

Terry Kath was said to be one of Jimi Hen­drix’s favourite play­ers

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