Les Paul Heroes 50 awe­some licks!

Richard Bar­rett has cre­ated and tran­scribed 50 licks from 50 of the most iconic Les Paul play­ers of all time. There’s five stylis­ti­cally au­then­tic back­ing tracks to try them over, too!

Guitar Techniques - - PLAY ROCK & BLUES -

ABIL­ITY rat­ing Mod­er­ate/Ad­vanced ✪✪ ✪✪ ✪ Info Will im­prove your… Im­pro­vi­sa­tion and vo­cab­u­lary Key Var­i­ous Tempo Var­i­ous CD TRACKS 4-13 All types of pick­ing Stylis­tic knowl­edge

Many of the best-known play­ers switch gui­tar to suit their ma­te­rial. For in­stance, Peter Framp­ton played Show Me The Way on a Strat and Eric Clap­ton also es­chewed his trusty Gib­sons for Layla and Other As­sorted Love Songs; but it’s in­ter­est­ing to view this from the other side of the fence and see how dif­fer­ent gui­tars, with their in­her­ent char­ac­ter­is­tics, have in­flu­enced the styles of those who play them. Ar­guably, the first mass-pro­duced ‘sig­na­ture model’, the Les Paul was, of course, de­signed for jazz – its solid­body vir­tu­ally elim­i­nat­ing the res­o­nant feed­back is­sues of the hol­low body in­stru­ments that had pre­vi­ously dom­i­nated this field. Of course, Les’s own gui­tars were con­sid­er­ably more ‘weird and won­der­ful’ than the reg­u­lar pro­duc­tion model – in­stru­ments like the Les Paul Per­sonal and Recording fea­tured com­plex switch­ing and low impedance pick­ups, far ahead of the curve and closer to his own spec­i­fi­ca­tion. But th­ese were much more ‘hi-fi’ sound­ing than your av­er­age rock and roller re­quired, so con­sid­er­ably less pop­u­lar with the main­stream. Though its ini­tial pro­duc­tion run ceased in 1960, pop­u­lar de­mand led to the Les Paul’s tri­umphant rein­tro­duc­tion in 1968, thanks to gui­tarists like Eric Clap­ton, Mike Bloom­field, Jimmy Page, Peter Green, among many oth­ers, who ably demon­strated some un­ex­pected ca­pa­bil­i­ties of this clas­sic de­sign. The Les Paul, it tran­spired, was un­ri­valled at pro­duc­ing a smooth, singing sus­tain through a cranked am­pli­fier. This is partly due to its woods and con­struc­tion, though the PAF (or P90) pick­ups were ca­pa­ble of driv­ing an amp fairly hard, while also re­tain­ing enough ‘cut’ to stand out in the mix. As we’ve pro­gressed through the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s to the present day, fash­ions have changed fairly reg­u­larly: ‘hot’ af­ter­mar­ket pick­ups, re­frig­er­a­tor-sized racks of ef­fect pro­ces­sors, high-gain am­pli­fiers, ad in­fini­tum. But al­though a player like Neil Young has con­tin­ued to use his heav­ily cus­tomised ‘53 Gold­top (sprayed black) through a cranked Fender tweed through­out th­ese decades (al­beit aided by a cus­tom made ‘whizzer’ that phys­i­cally changes his amp set­tings on the fly!) it was prob­a­bly Slash who, at the height of the pointy-head­stock-pro­gram­mable-ev­ery­thing era, first re­minded every­one that the raw ap­peal of a Les Paul, min­i­mal ped­als and a Mar­shall amp may be the ul­ti­mate rock setup af­ter all. Gary Moore had a hand in do­ing the same for blues. Re­cent years have marked a re­turn to the more ‘tra­di­tional’ vin­tage spec Les Paul, with lower out­put pick­ups and aged fin­ishes, but the dif­fer­ent play­ing styles keep com­ing. While some of the play­ers in this fea­ture have re­mark­ably sim­i­lar styles, it’s in­ter­est­ing to note that even though many set up their sounds in very dif­fer­ent ways, it’s still pretty clear what gui­tar you are hear­ing.

Th­ese 50 mu­si­cal ex­am­ples are grouped in no par­tic­u­lar or­der over five dif­fer­ent styles of back­ing track that are de­signed to com­ple­ment my im­per­son­ation of each player’s style. Hope­fully, some will be in­stantly recog­nis­able, though it’s well worth fol­low­ing the tran­scrip­tion to see if you agree whether it sounds like them. There’s bags of fun to be had, so en­joy th­ese licks any­way!

at THE HEIGHT of THE Pointy Head­stock era SLASH re­minded us of THE raw AP­PEAL of a Les PAUL, min­i­mum PED­ALS and a MAR­SHALL AMP

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