This month, Les David­son looks at the work of one of Amer­ica’s top ses­sion and solo artists, the mu­si­cians’ mu­si­cian: Larry Carl­ton.

Guitar Techniques - - LEARNING ZONE - larry carl­ton

Born in 1948 in Cal­i­for­nia, Larry Eu­gene Carl­ton has – in his four-decade long ca­reer – carved a rep­u­ta­tion for him­self as one of the finest ses­sions mu­si­cians in Amer­ica. Any­one new to Larry Carl­ton need only take a quick peek at this eye-pop­ping list of big-name acts to get an idea of the im­pact he’s had on mu­sic across the gen­res since the late ‘60s. His discog­ra­phy is vast but here’s a sam­ple: Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Christo­pher Cross, Quincy Jones, Sammy Davis Jr, Michael Jack­son, Andy Wil­liams, Bar­bra Streisand and Dolly Par­ton. He’s also had a healthy solo ca­reer hav­ing re­leased his first al­bum, With A Lit­tle Help From My Friends, in 1968.

Larry got his first gui­tar when he was six years old. Part of the deal with his par­ents was to have lessons with a teacher who started to teach Larry how to read mu­sic, which was to be­come a big ad­van­tage for him in the years to come. Larry practised hard and at­tended the Long Beach State Col­lege. He says that in th­ese for­ma­tive years, both Joe Pass and BB King were a ma­jor in­flu­ence.

Larry started play­ing clubs in and around LA and started to get jin­gle ses­sion work be­fore mov­ing up to be one of the first-call guitarists on the stu­dio ses­sion scene. His ca­reer was put on hold tem­po­rar­ily in 1988 when he was shot in the throat near his home in Hol­ly­wood Hills. He suf­fered nerve dam­age, which meant he could barely play a note for six months. Nev­er­the­less, his re­cov­ery since has been as­tound­ing and he has con­tin­ued to garner ac­co­lades, mul­ti­ple Grammy awards and build his rep­u­ta­tion as a fine ses­sion and solo artist. You can still catch Larry on tour, some­times along­side guitarists Robben Ford or Steve Lukather and to record both live and stu­dio al­bums.

When play­ing th­ese ex­am­ples, note that Larry tends to use a mix­ture of chord tones, ar­peg­gios and blues scales in his lines. All of th­ese ap­proaches are used here. En­joy!

Peo­Ple ask me to de­scribe how i Play and the most ob­vi­ous an­swer is, i’m a jazz in­flu­enced gui­tar Player but not a jazz gui­tar Player Larry Carl­ton

NEXT MONTH Les puts down his 335 and picks up a Strat to em­u­late Ste­vie Ray Vaughan

Larry Carl­ton: known for his ES-335-fu­elled jazz-blues-rock

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