Nev tells a sad tale of unwitting humiliation and belittlement at the hands of a guitarist friend.
MANY YEARS AGO I was humiliated by a guitarist friend - with no malice at all, I hasten to add. He and his brother were in a well-known prog band and had moved to the town where I lived. We’d got to know each other and one day he suggested the two of us have a jam. While his brother was the lead guitarist, this chap was ‘strictly rhythm’ - although he did occasionally like to ‘make it cry or sing’ (groan!).
Given that we didn’t know what the other really did, we inevitably ended up playing blues and rock stuff. He let me solo first and I wailed away on my red 335, giving it everything I’d got. He, on the other hand was all over his blonde Tele’s neck, playing partial chords, half-chord-half-riff ideas, link lines, bass runs - the lot.
When it came time to swap roles my basic barre chords were, by contrast, leaden and unmusical. Where he had made my licks come to life, my dreadful rhythm was killing his tasteful, funky chops. What a lesson I learned! That historic preamble was (you’ve guessed it) to set up this issue’s main story, which is all about playing complementary, interesting, musically relevant, exciting and rewarding blues rhythm guitar. Jon Bishop has again come up with the goods and, whether you’re into blues or not, his feature is an indispensable source of ideas that will benefit any guitarist. Checking through Jon’s examples - he leaves no stone unturned - will set you up as a fine blues rhythm player and ensure you never find yourself with the same red face that I was left with all those years ago. In tandem with Jon’s feature you should also visit Iain Scott’s Chord Camp. It’s about CAGED system chords - exactly what my friend was using that day and about which I had absolutely no idea (wince!). Do enjoy the issue, and I’ll see you again next month.