On the session profession.
AS WE BECOME more proficient on the guitar it’s tempting to think we could make ourselves a name as a studio ace like Larry Carlton or Steve Lukather. But when we ask, “How do I get into it?”, the sad fact is there’s no easy answer.
Well, while GT can’t give you the keys to Larry or Luke’s old locker, we can ask a group of top sessioneers how their world works, what the playing requirements are, gear needed, and lots more. So that’s what we did. We asked each one the same set of questions and their responses reflect their different eras and styles, whether they sight-read their parts, work from chord charts or come up with the goods off the top of their heads. When you look at their mini biogs you’ll see that these guys are
the best - Elvis, Streisand, Steely Dan, Sinatra, Crosby, Garth Brooks, George Jones, Willie Nelson, various Beatles... the list goes on!
We also hired the band from the hit West End show The Bodyguard, to devise a range of tracks typical of what a session guitarist might be asked to play on. Jon Bishop has one of the guitar chairs in that production so he’s come up with the kind of parts you might be expected to create. Jason put it all together, tracked down the studio players and sorted out the band. It’s an incredible feat, whether it inspires your session career or (like me) makes you realise that perhaps the stresses of such a life are a bridge (and tailpiece) too far. Finally, we were heartbroken to hear of Allan Holdsworth’s sad death, but too late to do anything meaningful in this issue. So next month look out for a tribute with memories, music, video and more from some of the world’s top players. Allan’s passing sent shockwaves through the guitar community so let’s give this unique and legendary innovator the send-off he rightly deserves.