SOMETIMES MY MISSING of the obvious astounds even me. this month’s cover feature highlighting the area of the fretboard above the 12th fret – often affectionately known as ‘the dusty end’ – made me realise that i’ve never taken advantage of it. But the frets are so much closer together here that not rethinking one’s approach is mad. yet that’s precisely what i’ve done; avoided all the things that are clearly impossible: full barre chords etc and simply offered a stripped-down version of what i already do at the bottom.
And that’s not me being coolly selfdeprecating: I can see the same flaw in many big-name guitarists. of course, some extremely creative players – Steve Vai and Uli Jon Roth spring to mind – go as far as having special instruments made to cater to the vagaries of the neck’s top end. Vai with selective scalloping, and Roth having his frets set a tone apart after a certain point.
However, as John Wheatcroft points out in his excellent feature, there’s lots that we mere mortal guitarists can do to become more creative in that area. So turn to page 16 to discover a whole new way of thinking up there. i guarantee you’ll find something to make those moments of post 12th-fret trespass feel like you’re playing in your own back yard. A quick note about Jon Bishop’s musical tribute to Prince. Jon had hardly any notice to produce it but has devised a lesson that not only demonstrates what a fabulous musician Prince was, but also shows what a fine player he is too. Prince epitomised the ‘funk meets rock’ style – and then some. But Jon has nailed it for us brilliantly, so do give it a go. my thanks to Jon, John and indeed all our brilliant tutors for coming up with yet another fun-filled and action-packed issue. See you next month!
Neville Marten, Editor email@example.com