Ritchie Black­more

Les Davidson ex­plores the rock­ier side of blues with a look at Deep Pur­ple and Rain­bow main­man, the ‘Black Knight’ Ritchie Black­more.

Guitar Techniques - - LEARNING ZONE -

Born in We­ston-Su­per-Mare, Ritchie Black­more has gone from hum­ble be­gin­nings to play­ing in sta­di­ums around the world. He also gained him­self a rep­u­ta­tion as a pioneering gui­tarist who fused blues, rock and clas­si­cal styles and helped to forge the sound of heavy metal.

Ritchie first picked up a guitar aged 11 when his fa­ther told him he could have the in­stru­ment if he agreed to clas­si­cal lessons. Ritchie hon­oured the prom­ise and these lessons would give him a strong foun­da­tion for his fu­ture play­ing style, par­tic­u­larly in har­mony and tech­nique.

Ritchie’s next men­tor was the great Bri­tish ses­sion player Big Jim Sullivan. The ex­plod­ing blues and rock boom of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s put Ritchie in the per­fect place to hone his skills; by ‘63 he was gig­ging and record­ing with The Out­laws and Scream­ing Lord Sutch, and also forg­ing a ses­sion ca­reer of his own.

Of course, Black­more is best known for his time with Deep Pur­ple, the band he founded in 1968. Within just a cou­ple of years they were an in­ter­na­tional suc­cess, cred­ited as fore­run­ners of heavy metal and neo-clas­si­cal rock. How­ever, Deep Pur­ple’s star burnt bright and fast for Ritchie who only lasted with the band un­til 1973. But he went on to form Rain­bow, achiev­ing fur­ther suc­cess and 28 mil­lion al­bum sales.

With many line-up changes, Rain­bow con­tin­ued to tour and record un­til 1997 when Ritchie dis­banded the group to form the acous­tic group Black­more’s Night with his wife Candice Night. To date they have re­leased eight stu­dio al­bums. Black­more has stated he doesn’t much care for tour­ing, but he and Rain­bow briefly re­formed in 2016 for three sold-out Euro­pean dates.

Our two ex­am­ples show the blue­sier side of Black­more dur­ing his Deep Pur­ple pe­riod. Ritchie is al­ways pre­cise and clear in his ex­e­cu­tion, so make sure every note speaks.

WITHIN JUST A COU­PLE OF YEARS DEEP PUR­PLE WERE AN IN­TER­NA­TIONAL SUC­CESS, CRED­ITED AS FORE­RUN­NERS OF HEAVY METAL AND NEO­CLAS­SI­CAL ROCK GUITAR MU­SIC

Ritchie Black­more with no­tice­ably scal­loped Strat

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