In­stru­men­tals have sup­plied some of mu­sic’s most evoca­tive and ex­cit­ing mo­ments. We asked some top gui­tarists for their take on this iconic move­ment. This month: Dixie Dregs, Deep Pur­ple and solo al­bum vir­tu­oso Steve Morse

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS - For­more­onSteveMorse, vis­itwww.steve­

60 Sec­onds, Ses­sion Shenani­gans, One-Minute Lick, That Was The Year, Jam Tracks and more.

GT: What is it about gui­tar in­stru­men­tals that ap­peals to you?

SM: The main thing is that the gui­tar can con­trol the mood and en­ergy. It is to­tally com­posed, mixed with some im­pro­vised solo­ing. Vo­cals are very ex­pres­sive, and the gui­tar can be too with a wide range of at­tack, tone, vi­brato, bends, etc.

GT: What can an in­stru­men­tal pro­vide a lis­tener that a vo­cal song can’t?

SM: For one thing, less rep­e­ti­tion. In song form, the mu­sic of­ten stays the same for three rounds of verses. With an in­stru­men­tal it is bet­ter when there is al­ways some­thing chang­ing. Or, to add ad­di­tional parts.

GT: Is there any­thing you aim to em­brace or avoid?

SM: As above, try to not re­peat, or ab­so­lute rep­e­ti­tions... make sure to change some­thing. I like to take it ‘out’ a lit­tle bit, then bring it back be­fore the en­tire au­di­ence has started to exit!

GT: Do you try to re­tain a typ­i­cal song struc­ture?

SM: For me, usu­ally not. I tend to re­visit the melody with some changes at the end. But, with some changes on each verse, the typ­i­cal song form can work fine.

GT: How use­ful is study­ing a vo­cal­ist’s ap­proach for gui­tar melodies?

SM: Study­ing horn melodies and vo­cal melodies is good. Vo­cal­ists tend to un­con­sciously use many dif­fer­ent tech­niques. Gui­tarists can al­ways learn from try­ing to sing a melody.

GT: How do you start writ­ing one; is there a typ­i­cal ap­proach?

SM: A com­bi­na­tion of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, in­spi­ra­tion and tran­scrib­ing what’s in my head.

GT: What do you aim for when your per­for­mance is cen­tre stage for the du­ra­tion?

SM: A va­ri­ety of tone, or at­tack, or chang­ing from a mono to a more poly­phonic ap­proach, or chang­ing den­sity of the notes in dif­fer­ent sec­tions. Chang­ing ef­fects for dif­fer­ent parts too.

GT: Do you ever adopt the‘start low and slow and fin­ishes high and fast’ ap­proach?

SM: I wouldn’t say that’s a fea­ture that I al­ways use. How­ever, I have of­ten used an ap­proach of adding more and more melodies as over­dubs, to the end­ing sec­tion. Not nec­es­sar­ily faster, but def­i­nitely more dense.

GT: What type of gui­tar tone do you pre­fer for in­stru­men­tals?

SM: Trick ques­tion, right? I use my Mu­sic Man, which has four pick­ups (or the Y2D which has three) for ev­ery­thing. I change pick­ups dur­ing ev­ery melody.

GT: Do you have any favourite keys or tem­pos?

SM: Keys? Any that might al­low some open strings to be used in voic­ings of chords. Tem­pos? No favourites, but some­times I limit the tempo if it is very tech­ni­cal, of course.

GT: Do you find mi­nor or ma­jor keys eas­ier to write in?

SM: I so of­ten change within the song to the rel­a­tive ma­jor or mi­nor it doesn’t make much dif­fer­ence. Some of my more metal friends hate the fact that I of­ten use ma­jor melodies and chords, which are thought of as ‘too happy’ to them. If any­thing I ever play makes some­body happy, I’m fine with that! Se­ri­ously, I do use ma­jor too much to ever be em­braced as a le­git hard rock gui­tarist, I think.

GT: Favourite modes?

SM: Mixoly­dian and Do­rian seem to come up a lot in my stuff.

GT: What about mod­u­la­tions into new keys?

SM: I al­ways try that be­cause it does seem to freshen ev­ery­thing up son­i­cally, in most cases. It can be very corny, though, if it’s done as a huge deal, and uses a Broad­way cliché turn­around.

GT: Do you view the back­ing band dif­fer­ently than you would on a vo­cal song?

SM: Yes, for ex­am­ple, the bass of­ten dou­bles lines, or takes over my orig­i­nal riff while I add a melody, or har­mony.

GT: What are your views on har­mon­is­ing melodies?

SM: Don’t just stay with di­a­tonic har­mony that fol­lows the ex­act con­tour of the melody. Let it take some jumps to 6ths, 5ths, 4ths, as well as the usual 3rds.

GT: Name three gui­tar in­stru­men­tals have in­spired you?

SM: More re­cent iconic ones, would be Eric John­son’s Cliffs Of Dover and Joe Sa­tri­ani’s Satch Boo­gie. Ear­lier in­flu­ences were Jes­sica (All­man Brothers), Ain’t Su­per­sti­tious (Jeff Beck), and Walk Don’t Run (The Ven­tures).

Se­ri­ously, I use ma­jor too much to ever be em­braced as a le­git hard rock gui­tarist

Steve Morse: pi­lot of the six sil­ver strings!

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