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Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS - Neville Marten, Ed­i­tor neville.marten@fu­turenet.com

Nev salutes Mo­town’s triple-guitar threat.

We’ve done a few fea­tures on rhythm guitar over the years, and they seem to go down re­ally well. as we so of­ten say, rhythm is what we gui­tarists spend most of our time do­ing, and yet it’s an area where many of us fall down. The rea­son could be sim­ply that it’s not as sexy as play­ing lead so we don’t bother. and yet, if you want a job in a de­cent band, or wish to do ses­sions, the abil­ity to come up with in­ter­est­ing, co­he­sive and com­ple­men­tary parts will be vi­tal if you’re to sur­vive.

one bunch of play­ers that did just that was the three-guitar line-up of Robert White, ed­die Wil­lis and Joe Messina at Mo­town, in de­troit. Said to have played on more num­ber ones than The Bea­tles, The Beach Boys and elvis Pres­ley com­bined, this trio pow­ered in­nu­mer­able hits with their earcatch­ing hooks and fas­ci­nat­ing in­ter­play. You may be think­ing that Mo­town doesn’t ex­actly shriek ‘guitar’ at you, but do me a favour and Google the Jack­son 5 do­ing I Want You Back and you’ll see it’s a to­tal guitar fest: oc­taves, slid­ing 3rds and sin­gle-note melodies woven to­gether to re­ally pro­pel the num­ber along. Richard Bar­rett has ex­am­ined the play­ing on decades of Mo­town hits – in­clud­ing af­ter the com­pany de­camped to Los an­ge­les and the line-up changed some­what – to cre­ate some fabulous ex­am­ples of how they cre­ated those ground­break­ing tracks. It’s a les­son in part cre­ation and mu­si­cal in­ter­play that we can all learn from. now, I know the fea­ture is la­belled ‘Mo­town’ but these ideas are eas­ily trans­fer­able to most other styles and gen­res, since the prin­ci­ples are the same for all. Sim­ply change the tempo, the feel or even the guitar tone and off you go. I hope you en­joy the is­sue – now get strum­ming!

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