in­stru­men­tal in­qui­si­tion!

Guitar Techniques - - INTRO -

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: blues-rock six-string hur­ri­cane, the amaz­ing Eric Gales

GT: What is it about gui­tar in­stru­men­tals that ap­peals?

EG: They’re a way of ex­press­ing what words and vo­cals can’t - as vo­cals can ex­press like mu­sic can’t. I like them both as a com­bi­na­tion but also as stand-alones as well.

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

EG: It can give you a lis­ten to the artist’s soul just through playing.

GT: Are there any ten­den­cies that you aim to em­brace or avoid?

EG: I tend to avoid noth­ing. Noth­ing is off lim­its. I like util­is­ing it all!

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

EG: Some­times the groove will come to me and I’ll write a melody to it. Oth­ers I have a melody first and then write a groove. Struc­ture­wise it all de­pends on how I’m feel­ing when I’m writ­ing that song.

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

EG: I love study­ing the vo­cal­ists ap­proach! I am a vo­cal­ist so I have to bear in mind both per­spec­tives when I’m writ­ing stuff and I’m be­ing more cog­ni­tive of that now be­cause this new record is more about the song con­tent and the melodies. I think it’s been proven pretty good in the last 20 years that I can play a lit­tle bit! But I give a good ex­am­ple and a good premise for both ar­eas of the mu­sic spec­trum and I’m very proud of that.

GT: Is there a typ­i­cal ap­proach or in­spi­ra­tion for you?

EG: It all de­pends on what I’ve been lis­ten­ing to. I may be lis­ten­ing to some John Mayer, some Al­bert Lee, some Jerry Reed, Eric John­son, Joe Bona­massa or some gospel! De­pend­ing on what mood I’m in is how I’ll ap­proach some­thing new.

GT: Songs of­ten fea­ture a gui­tar solo that starts low and slow, and fin­ishes high and fast. Is this struc­ture a use­ful for in­stru­men­tals?

EG: Yeah def­i­nitely. But there have been times where I start out blazing with the gas pedal to the floor and don’t let up! Some­times there’s call for that, too.

GT: Any favourite keys or tem­pos?

EG: Not re­ally man, it’s just all what comes out.

GT: Do you find Mi­nor or Ma­jor keys eas­ier to write in?

EG: I favour Mi­nor a lit­tle bit bet­ter but ma­jor is great too. I like them both, ei­ther one is great with me.

GT: How about modes - do you have any favourites?

EG: All of the modes are good! You never know what’s go­ing to come out. The thing about hav­ing all of the con­tent stud­ied, is you can just pick at ran­dom any mode that you want be­cause you have all of the in­for­ma­tion there, like a com­puter. You put some­thing in and it goes right to it, be­cause the in­for­ma­tion is al­ready there.

GT: What about mod­u­la­tions into new keys?

EG: Again, ab­so­lutely. I use that as an ex­am­ple when I’m teach­ing my stu­dents some­thing on Skype. The more you study, the more it will help you in the end be­cause you can go to it ef­fort­lessly when­ever you feel like it.

GT: Do you view the back­ing band dif­fer­ently than you do on a vo­cal?

EG: No, not at all.

GT: What are your views on har­mon­is­ing melodies?

EG: I like it, and I will use it, though some­times it can seem a bit ’80s and ’90s; but then some­times it can be used so well that it’s not dated. It all de­pends on the pre­sen­ta­tion.

GT: What three gui­tar in­stru­men­tals have in­spired you?

EG: Cliffs of Dover by Eric John­son; Riviera Par­adise by Ste­vie Ray Vaughan; and Peace In Mis­sis­sippi by Jimi Hen­drix.

Eric Gales: new al­bum, Mid­dle Of The Road, out on 24 Fe­bru­ary

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