Char­lie Grif­fiths takes a step through Whites­nake’s re­volv­ing door of gui­tarists to meet Messrs Moody, Mars­den, Sykes and Vai.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Char­lie Grif­fiths steps through the re­volv­ing door of Whites­nake six stringers in­clud­ing Moody, Mars­den, Sykes and Vai.

Whites­nake have been rock­ing since 1978, ce­ment­ing their place in hard rock his­tory with clas­sic al­bums like Ready An’ Will­ing, Saints & Sin­ners and Slide It In. Those al­bums fea­tured Micky Moody and Bernie Mars­den, who was sub­se­quently re­placed by Mel Gal­ley. The mid to late 80s saw a sig­nif­i­cant line-up change; vo­cal­ist David Coverdale re­main­ing as sole orig­i­nal mem­ber and sig­nalling the band’s most com­mer­cially-suc­cess­ful pe­riod.

The 1987 epony­mous al­bum fea­tured the harder-edged and higher-gain skills of one-time Thin Lizzy mem­ber John Sykes. His more mod­ern riff­ing style shines through on Still Of The Night. The al­bum also spawned two of Whites­nake’s big­gest hits: Is This Love and Here I Go Again, which also fea­tures a gui­tar solo by Adrian Van­denberg. Al­though Van­denberg was pri­mar­ily a live mem­ber, he has writ­ing and record­ing cred­its on the 1997 al­bum Rest­less Heart and is a cred­ited writer on 1989’s Slip Of The Tongue, al­though he couldn’t play on the al­bum due to a wrist in­jury. En­ter one Steve Vai, whom Coverdale in­vited to play af­ter see­ing the 1986 Ralph Mac­chio movie Cross­roads. Steve had pre­vi­ously played with Al­ca­trazz, Frank Zappa and David Lee Roth and his flam­boy­ant style is a real show steeler on the al­bum. Long­time fans felt the al­bum was too big a de­par­ture from the clas­sic Whites­nake sound, so af­ter tour­ing the al­bum Coverdale put the band on hia­tus – a bless­ing in dis­guise for Vai, who went on to forge his suc­cess­ful solo ca­reer. Since the mid-noughties ex-Winger man Reb Beach has been a stal­wart of the band, joined by Doug Aldrich, but has sub­se­quently been re­placed by Night Ranger’s Joel Hoekstra.

This month’s ex­am­ples il­lus­trate the 80s golden era, start­ing with a clas­sic G mi­nor riff rem­i­nis­cent of Moody and Mars­den. Next we look at Steve Vai’s more ag­gres­sive ap­proach with fast 16th-note pick­ing and whammy-bar dive bombs. Riff 3 il­lus­trates the no-non­sense style John Sykes brought in, with a heavy F# blues riff. For Ex­am­ple 4 we hark back to Moody & Mars­den with a clas­sic I-IV-V pro­gres­sion, rock­ing open chords and ring­ing strings. Our fi­nal riff is the most flam­boy­ant and fea­tures a 12/8 groove and some Sykes-in­spired fret­board gym­nas­tics.

The solo of­fers you the chance to try a typ­i­cal Whites­nake-style power bal­lad, which be­gins by fo­cus­ing on melodic Bri­tish blues-rock phras­ing and tasty bends. To­wards the end of the solo we switch to Steve Vai mode with multi-string cas­cad­ing tap­ping and al­ter­nate-picked scale runs.

You’ll have great fun play­ing over th­ese tracks. Prac­tise each ex­am­ple slowly and build up the tempo, grad­u­ally work­ing to­wards play­ing with the back­ing tracks pro­vided.

NEXT MONTH Char­lie gets to grips with the play­ing of that no­to­ri­ous rab­ble, Möt­ley Crüe

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