in­stru­men­tal in­qui­si­tion!

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: jazz-blues-fu­sion vir­tu­oso, Oz Noy.

Guitar Techniques - - INTRO -

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

ON: I just like the tone of the gui­tar, whether it’s a ny­lon, a steel string or elec­tric jazz or rock sound. I do like other in­stru­ments too, of course.

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

ON: More colours of sounds, wider range, a level of vir­tu­os­ity that’s just not hu­manly pos­si­ble on the voice.

GT: Any ten­den­cies that you aim to em­brace or avoid?

ON: Beau­ti­ful melodies are al­ways great; good groove and rhythm; nice sound; try­ing to avoid too many notes! If the com­po­si­tion and over­all sound is good, most peo­ple can lis­ten to it.

GT: Is a typ­i­cal song struc­ture still rel­e­vant for an in­stru­men­tal?

ON: If you want to make a state­ment and make sure the lis­tener grabs it, I’d say you have a bet­ter chance us­ing this struc­ture.

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

ON: I think it’s in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant in terms of get­ting a melody or a lyri­cal idea across. I be­lieve that the most im­por­tant thing is to un­der­stand that the hu­man voice is still the strong­est form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion we’ve got. I try to com­mu­ni­cate my mu­sic – melodies and rhythm – to the au­di­ence, and the clos­est you get to a hu­man ex­pres­sion, the best re­sults you’ll have com­mu­ni­cat­ing your mu­sic to peo­ple, which is what all mu­si­cians want.

GT: How do you start writ­ing one – any par­tic­u­lar method or typ­i­cal form of in­spi­ra­tion?

ON: No, not re­ally. In­spi­ra­tion could come from dif­fer­ent places; it could be a sim­ple drum groove, just a rhythm idea, a melody, a chord melody, or even a sound ef­fect, any­thing that will stim­u­late the brain and open some doors.

GT: Many vo­cal songs fea­ture a solo that starts low and slow then fin­ishes high and fast. Is this use­ful for in­stru­men­tals?

ON: It de­pends to some de­gree on the song and the style of mu­sic. But you can do any­thing you want if it sounds good to you; there re­ally are no rules.

GT: What type of gui­tar tone do you pre­fer for in­stru­men­tals – clean, distorted, fat or tre­b­ley?

ON: Just what­ever will de­liver the idea of the par­tic­u­lar song.

GT: Do you have any favourite keys or tem­pos?

ON: No.

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

ON: No, the same.

GT: Any favourite modes?

ON: No.

GT: What about mod­u­la­tions into new keys?

ON: Only if it’s nec­es­sary. If it fits I’ll do it; it if doesn’t, I won’t.

GT: What are your views on har­mon­is­ing melodies?

ON: I love it.

GT: Are there any par­tic­u­lar gui­tar in­stru­men­tals that have in­spired you, or that you would de­scribe as iconic?

ON: I can’t re­ally choose, be­cause there’s so many of them. But I re­ally love Last Train Home by Pat Metheny, be­cause it’s one long melody from be­gin­ning to end – in­clud­ing his solo. That’s the kind of stuff I like!

Oz Noy’s new al­bum, Who Gives A Funk is out now with guests in­clud­ing Robben Ford, Dweezil Zappa and Joe Bona­massa.

in­spi­ra­tion could come from any­thing that stim­u­lates the Brain and open some doors

Oz Noy: a su­perb player of gui­tar in­stru­men­tals

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