JIMMY PAGE TOOK ME ASIDE AND SAID, ‘YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF BEING A STUDIO MUSICIAN; I USED TO BE A STUDIO MUSICIAN AS WELL’
In Part 2 of this masterclass, Luke shared a few more concepts that he employs when playing ‘outside’; avoiding the usual blues and rock based Pentatonic licks.
“Whenever I hear somebody do something I go, ‘Ah, what was that?’ You can find some amazing stuff on YouTube, especially some of the old players that you never got a chance to see. If you really want some deep stuff, do a little country homework. You see these guys back in the 50s that are just ridiculous players, and you just feel so teeny and small.”
Luke uses a lot of chord derived shapes in his improvisation in order to move away from the usual scalar approach. “I love it when people say there’s only three chords,” he says. “They obviously haven’t seen Ted Greene’s Chord Chemistry book, where you can play an A chord nine million different ways and with all these cool different voicings.”
So will using chord tones help you discover new sounds? “Everyone has a tendency to play ‘in the box’. But try to think in chord shapes rather than linear scales. Scales have a tendency to sound like scales. Also try skipping strings – I mean, look at a guy like Eric Johnson, he’s just ridiculous.”
One thing Luke picked up from Larry Carlton was to superimpose different triads over chords, which is a great way to access the upper extensions using the shapes that you’re
Db already familiar with; so playing a triad
E13b9. over E gives you an You’ll find it’s less daunting to play over altered chords when you think in terms of superimposed triads.
In this part of the lesson Luke shows how he uses Phrygian, Phrygian Dominant and Spanish Gypsy scales, superimposed chords and scales and, of course, string skipping.
The challenge is to move out of the box yet sound appropriate to the style you’re playing. Steve says the vital skill as a session player is interpretation. The more ways you can develop to play over any given musical scenario, the more options you’ll have when it comes to the session. Having four, five or six alternatives provides the guitarist with a virtually endless set of ideas.
Many thanks to Steve for lending his valuable time, priceless experience and vast musical talent to this video masterclass.