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Your opinions laid out in print...
TAPPING INTO THE SOURCE
Congrats! I love Guitar Techniques. I think it’s a must for any serious guitar player. Many, many thanks for the Tim Lerch and Brett Garsed lessons. Talking about Brett, what about an article, transcription or a series of lessons on his former partner in shredding, TJ Helmerich’s wonderful tapping technique? Or a combination of various tapping masters like Daniele Gottardo, Scott Mishoe, etc? Ruben Rosario, Puerto Rica Those are names that meant so much back in the days when those advanced techniques were initially being explored and expanded upon by a particular brand of player. Another one, the amazing eight-finger tapper Steve Lynch springs to mind. It was such a joy having Brett and Tim (who’s clearly not a shredder!) join GT for a few issues and they were both so accommodating and open to demonstrating how they do all these amazing things, that if we can get to Daniele, Scott and TJ, and they were as willing as Brett, that would be great. We constantly have the feelers out for video contributors but sadly can only include one per issue (occasionally two if disc space allows). We’ll see if there’s a way to include some of these great players some time in the future.
SHADES OF PROCOL
May 12th 2017 will be the 50th anniversary of when A Whiter Shade Of Pale was released. I know the song was covered in GT issue 100 in December 2001 and arranged by Geoff Whitehorn who at that time was a contributor for the magazine, and what a great player he is. Not sure if you are able to provide other Procol Harum songs due to copyright, but it would be great if you could have an article on this great band who are still touring, even a sound-alike rhythm and or lead styles. I have all the copies of GT since 1997, so please keep up the great work. Ron Couzens How timely your letter is, Ron, since we have the great Robin Trower offering five of his choicest licks in this very issue. Of course, Robin joined Procol Harum for Homburg, the follow-up to Whiter Shade Of Pale (even though you can see him on the original WSOP film promos). Obviously, his playing came more to the fore on later tracks such as Conquistador, and then as a successful and highly admired blues-rock player in his own right. I’ve been wanting to do a series on the more psychedelic bands and guitarists of that era, so Traffic and Steve Winwood, Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett, The Doors and Robby Krieger, Jefferson Airplane, Captain Beefheart, Country Joe And The Fish, The Grateful Dead, even The Beatles and Stones, and possibly Hawkwind, Hendrix, Bowie and even Zappa. I think Procol Harum would fall perfectly in such a line-up so I will suggest it again for when an existing series comes to an end. Lots of interesting guitar tones to be explored I would think!
MIXING IT UP
How refreshing to see a cover feature that talks directly about scales and modes, instead of yet another feature on Clapton or Bonamassa [Mixolydian Masterclass, issue 262]. Not that these guys aren’t great, but you know what I mean. It’s just so rare for a mag to be that direct, and dare to talk about the subject in hand and not skirt around the edges. I thoroughly enjoyed the feature too, and thought how great it was to show the scale in so many different settings, such as blues, country, jazz and rock. All power to GT! Mark Knight Thanks, Mark. It was great for us to be able to do it. We want to separate ourselves from other guitar magazines somewhat, by being more explicit when it seems right to do so. At the same time we are in the business of selling issues so, of course, we’ll press the populist button when that too seems appropriate. But as I’ve said many times, the kind of ‘technique/ theory’ style pieces you get in GT – and at this level – are very rare to find elsewhere, and what sets us apart from the herd. Glad you enjoyed it, so look out for more in a similar vein.
STEVE KHAN AND STEELY DAN
Great article on the wonderful guitar player Steve Khan in the October Issue (GT216). He has long been part of the fabled NY jazz scene and a veteran, as you mentioned, of many influential groups over the years. I didn’t, however, see a mention of his phenomenal work on the Steely Dan album, Gaucho. He’s a real standout with his solo on the song My Rival, as well as also appearing on songs like Babylon Sisters, Glamour Profession, Gaucho and Third World Man. Steve’s also been wonderfully involved in bridging Latin music and jazz, and he has a wonderful chord-playing technique that harks back to players like Jim Hall and Herbie Hancock. He’s also a wonderful teacher when not recording or travelling and his roster of students is equally impressive! So, thanks again for featuring Steve Khan, I have been a long subscriber and it’s great to see recognition to someone as important as Steve! Al Irizarry Funny you mention the Steve Khan piece, Al, since Steve got to see it and contacted John Wheatcroft, who wrote it, with the most delightfully appreciative letter. Yes, of course, we are aware of all the other great work that he has done, but since that was by definition our ‘jazz’ column the words and music focused specifically on that. What your letter makes plain is how easy it is to pigeon-hole a musician instead of seeing the breadth of what they can do (not that we did that, for the reason stated). I wonder, therefore, if a feature on Steely Dan and the guitarists that have contributed to their amazing body of work, might be worth considering, the ever-present ‘copyright mire’ notwithstanding.
WE WANT TO SEPARATE OURSELVES FROM OTHER MAGS BY BEING MORE EXPLICIT ABOUT TECHNIQUE
Robin Trower: just missed out on Whiter Shade Of Pale
John Wheatcroft received a lovely thank you letter from Steve Khan