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: renowned solo jazz gui­tarist and Tele­caster Tone­hound, Tim Lerch.

Guitar Techniques - - INTRO -

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

TL: I get the im­pres­sion from the ques­tions that the term ‘gui­tar in­stru­men­tal’ is sug­gest­ing a par­tic­u­lar genre of pop, rock or coun­try gui­tar mu­sic, but with­out vo­cals. As a player who is pri­mar­ily play­ing in­stru­men­tal mu­sic – jazz, blues, etc - I have a per­haps slightly dif­fer­ent view of things but I’ll try to an­swer the ques­tions the best I can. I have al­ways loved the sound of the gui­tar, even be­fore I could play it. As a gui­tarist it has al­ways been sound rather than lyrics that has cap­ti­vated me. The gui­tar can be very ex­pres­sive and vo­cal-like in the right hands.

GT: What can a piece of in­stru­men­tal mu­sic pro­vide a lis­tener that a vo­cal per­for­mance can’t?

TL: An in­stru­men­tal leaves lots open for the imag­i­na­tion. The lis­tener can hear sound rather than the words and be al­lowed to make up their own story.

GT: What are the ten­den­cies that you aim to em­brace or avoid?

TL: Th­ese days al­most all of the mu­sic I play is with­out vo­cals, but I’m play­ing songs that have lyrics and have been sung, so I re­spect the melody above all else and re­ally get it to sing above the har­mony.

GT: How use­ful is study­ing a vo­cal­ist’s ap­proach when it comes to gui­tar melodies?

TL: Very use­ful. There is so much avail­able in our in­stru­ment if we search it out and get our fin­gers to com­ply. We don’t want to be a bunch of typ­ists!

GT: How do you start writ­ing one; is there a typ­i­cal ap­proach?

TL: I mostly ar­range or im­pro­vise solo gui­tar pieces. So for me it all kind of hap­pens at once - the har­mony sug­gests melody and vice-versa.

GT: What do you aim for in your per­for­mance?

TL: To make a mu­si­cal state­ment that is beau­ti­ful, log­i­cal, and has a groovy feel.

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

TL: There are many ways to ap­proach things and I sup­pose that’s one way to go.

GT: What type of gui­tar tone do you pre­fer for in­stru­men­tals?

TL: Clear, round, full and creamy.

GT: Do you ever re­sort to favourite keys or tem­pos?

TL: Nope. I have to use all va­ri­ety of keys, tem­pos and feels to keep things in­ter­est­ing.

GT: Do you find Mi­nor or Ma­jor keys more re­ward­ing?

TL: No pref­er­ence re­ally; it’s all just about what makes the melody sing.

GT: And what about modes - do you have any favourite?

TL: No, I’d say I’m an equal op­por­tu­nity modal­ist!

GT: And what about mod­u­la­tions into new keys?

TL: I change keys of­ten and en­joy the ad­ven­ture of find­ing new ways to set up mod­u­la­tions.

GT: Do you view the back­ing band in a dif­fer­ent way than you would on a vo­cal song?

TL: Play­ing solo (un­ac­com­pa­nied), my back­ing band is on my lap!

GT: What are your views on har­mon­is­ing melodies?

TL: I love to har­monise a phrase dif­fer­ently as the piece goes on. I love sur­prises and it helps keep things in­ter­est­ing for the lis­tener.

GT: What three gui­tar in­stru­men­tals have in­spired you?

TL: Ted Greene’s ver­sion of Danny Boy is very beau­ti­ful; and I also love Lenny Breau’s Emily and Can­non­ball Rag.

Tim Lerch: “My back­ing band is on my lap!”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.