trevor Rabin

Martin Cooper checks out those pro­cessed 80s pop-rock tones of Trevor Rabin-era Yes, with a track that should prove great fun to play.

Guitar Techniques - - LESSON ROCK -

Vo­cal­ist Jon Anderson and bass player Chris Squire, formed Yes in­Lon­don in 1968. They went on to be­come per­haps the big­gest band in all of pro­gres­sive rock. With a re­volv­ing door of al­most 20 mem­bers over the years (in­clud­ing gui­tarist Steve Howe and key­board wiz­zard Rick Wake­man) they have also un­der­gone nu­mer­ous changes in style.

They orig­i­nally dis­banded in 1981 but re­formed in 1983 with Trevor Rabin on gui­tar, scor­ing a US Num­ber 1 sin­gle with Owner Of A Bro­ken Heart. This pe­riod was by far the most com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful in the band’s his­tory, and al­bums in the 1980s were over­seen by su­per-pro­ducer Trevor Horn, who helped add a sense of pop melody to the writ­ing and pro­duc­tion. Trevor Rabin’s style of play­ing was more pop-rock fo­cused and he used a plethora of ef­fects, play­ing a blend of chug­ging rock rhythms and riffs, mixed with funk-in­flu­enced clean gui­tar parts and tech­ni­cal but melodic so­los. Mutt Lange, whom Rabin used to work for as a ses­sion gui­tarist on Lange-pro­duced al­bums, in­tro­duced Trevor to the band, and this pe­riod in their his­tory also earned Yes a Grammy in 1983. Yes con­tinue to tour, play­ing their big­gest songs (with Steve Howe back in the fold) and 2017 sees them be­ing inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

It’s the Rabin era of the band that we’re look­ing at this month, so there is a def­i­nite pop-rock flavour to pro­ceed­ings, and less of the pro­gres­sive rock that Yes had em­ployed ear­lier in their ca­reer. The track is in the key of C (C-D-E-F-G-A-B), but there is a def­i­nite C Mixoly­dian sound going through­out (C-D-EF-G-A-Bb). Ba­si­cally that means that even

Bb though the C chord is Ma­jor, there’s a note

Bb in the melodies in­stead of B. There’s also a power chord in the track. The main rhythm part is blended with the key­boards and is heav­ily dis­torted and ef­fected (see Get The Tone). The parts aren’t dif­fi­cult to play, other than some fairly speedy pick­ing and legato on a cou­ple of phrases, but they re­ally do need to be parts that glue into the key­boards, bass and drums to­gether in the mix. So it’s a very gui­tar-heavy sound, but def­i­nitely with the gui­tar as a part of the whole, and this is what needs to be aimed for. The solo has a har­mony line that should also be tried and there are some quite rapid al­ter­nate pick­ing phrases along with the longer melody notes.

Rabin’s style of play­ing was a blend of chug­ging Rock Rhythms and Riffs mixed with funk

Trevor Rabin: a great solo on Owner Of A Lonely Heart

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