USE YOUR EARS!

Guitar Techniques - - TALK BACK - John Good­man

I ab­so­lutely loved John Wheatcroft’s Exotic Blues fea­ture (GT259). Usu­ally, when peo­ple start talk­ing about ‘Al­tered’ scales or, heaven for­fend, ‘Su­per­locrian’, my brain in­stantly shuts down and no more goes in. A bit like when my fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor starts talk­ing about tax li­a­bil­i­ties, an­nu­ities and so on.

I’d got the mag and saw the fea­ture but, again, thought I wouldn’t un­der­stand it. So for a change I lis­tened to John’s ex­am­ples be­fore I read the piece – and in­deed the other au­dio tracks – to see if it might be within my abil­ity range. I’d never done that be­fore and, you know what? It’s the best thing! I usu­ally look at the ar­ti­cle’s ti­tle to work out if it’s for me or not, and have clearly missed loads of stuff that I prob­a­bly would have loved. In that is­sue I also did Cre­ative Rock, the Lon­nie Mack trib­ute, the John Mayer acous­tic les­son (I didn’t think I liked him!), and the AC/DC rhythm and lead licks. So, to all those that as­sess a fea­ture on its style, genre or what­ever – I’d sug­gest you do what I did, and play ev­ery au­dio track first. You’ll def­i­nitely want to learn things that you’d oth­er­wise dis­miss as ‘not you’.

I know that sce­nario, John – the very men­tion of cer­tain words or phrases shuts my brain off from hear­ing any more. But your let­ter is ge­nius! I won­der how many other read­ers sim­ply look at a fea­ture’s ti­tle, or see a mu­si­cal style, and think, ‘Not for me’, when if they’d lis­tened to the au­dio tracks they’d have gone. ‘I re­ally want to learn that’. So thanks for im­part­ing that nugget of wis­dom – re­ally ob­vi­ous to some, I’m sure, but an eye-opener to oth­ers, I hope.

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