Toto

Hold The Line says Char­lie Grif­fiths - I’m Run­ning Out Of Time in the King­dom Of De­sire. Yes, this month it’s Toto ax­e­man, Steve Lukather.

Guitar Techniques - - LEARNING ZONE -

Toto formed in 1977 and con­sisted of a group of top LA ses­sion mu­si­cians who de­cided to form their own band. They’ve gone through many line-up changes and tragic losses over the years, but aside from a cou­ple of years when Toto of­fi­cially dis­banded, gui­tarist Steve Lukather has been a con­sis­tent mem­ber through­out.

Toto hit the ground run­ning with their de­but al­bum fea­tur­ing the clas­sics Hold The Line and Ge­orgy Porgy, but it was 1982’s Toto IV that cat­a­pulted them to leg­endary sta­tus with the songs Rosanna, Africa and Won’t Hold You Back, all huge sin­gles. 1982 was a good year for Steve Lukather as he also played gui­tar on the world’s best-sell­ing al­bum, Thriller by Michael Jack­son. For any other out­fit the next move might be seen as un­usual, but for a group with the level of mu­si­cian­ship Toto could boast, writ­ing the soundtrack to David Lynch’s sci-fi epic Dune was per­haps a log­i­cal step. In 2015 Toto re­leased their 14th al­bum, Toto XIV and they con­tinue to tour the world to­day.

Toto have an in­cred­i­bly di­verse out­put with songs rang­ing from funk, blues, soul­ful bal­lads and fu­sion. The following is a se­lec­tion riffs in­spired by Toto’s more hard rock out­put. Our first riff is in­spired by tracks on 1992’s King­dom Of De­sire and is based on the F#

(1-b3-4-b5-5-b7) Blues scale at the 2nd fret. This is a great key for heavy rock riffs as we can use b7 the open E to play a be­low the root note. You bet­ter hold the line for our next riff, which harks back to the band’s 1978 de­but; it’s in 12/8 time sig­na­ture and uses a mix­ture of power chords and ma­jor in­ver­sions to cre­ate ten­sion and re­lease. Riff num­ber three takes us to 2006’s re­lease, Fall­ing In Be­tween. This heavy syn­co­pated feel is cre­ated by a re­peat­ing pat­tern of five eighth notes that moves against a 4/4 back­beat. Play­ing along to the track will take some prac­tice be­cause the snare back­beat doesn’t al­ways land where you might ex­pect. Tip: fo­cus on the bass gui­tar to help you stay locked in.

Riff four’s re­peat­ing lick is a good test of rhyth­mic phras­ing as it moves be­tween 16ths and 16th-note triplets, or in other words; four-notes-per click and six-notes-per-click.

We’re ‘run­ning out of time’ with our fi­nal E Do­rian riff, which uses po­si­tion shifts, slides and pedal notes to cover a lot of the fret­board.

Our full solo is in D Mi­nor and uses typ­i­cal Luke licks and tricks: whammy bar scoops, string bends and slides; smooth legatos lines and chro­matic pass­ing notes. Break the solo down into one-bar sec­tions and prac­tise them in iso­la­tion be­fore linking them all to­gether.

1982 was a good year for luke, as he played on The world’s Best-sell­ing al­bum: Thriller, by michael jack­son

NEXT MONTH Char­lie dis­sects the play­ing of Ozzy’s amaz­ing gui­tarist, Randy Rhoads

Steve Lukather: Toto’s gui­tarist for an amaz­ing four decades

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