Your views on the world of guitars and playing.
SULTON OF TWANG?
Firstly, thanks for the great mag. The different styles are excellent at expanding technique, ideas and ability. A request, actually; could you run a feature ‘in the style of’ the master that is Mark Knopfler? Particularly his early styles with chicken picking, string muting and clawhammer? The styles seen in Southbound Again through to One World encompass so much and surely would make a great lesson and feature on Mark’s fingerpicking style. Many thanks. Justin Tarrant-Wills Funny you should say that, Justin. We’ve started doing a few of these expanded style files, specifically on guitarists with broad technical skills or a long history. Hence the recent Jimmy Page one and another coming up on Gary Moore. But Knopfler is, of course, a perfect candidate and as such has just gone on the list. We’ll probably build it to include later electric stuff (where his technique and tone changed somewhat), and even aspects of his fine acoustic playing. So, thanks for the heads up.
A ‘BON’ IDEA!
I’ve been a reader of GT for many years and have recently become a regular again after a couple of years sporadic guitar playing. During my rediscovery of the electric elements of playing I’ve become a big fan of many of the classic icons, including Jimmy Page. How convenient that you chose to do a feature exploring his many faces in GT271. I’d love to see more similar features to this exploring other guitarists. Not only focusing on solo technique but also their rhythm styles too. One artist who springs to mind here is someone like Joe Bonamassa. I’m sure many of us enjoy his playing hugely and including his playing with Black Country Communion gives such a wide variety of styles on both his lead and rhythm guitar. Keep up the good work and thank you for continuing to inspire. Chris Appleby Again, perfect timing, Chris. Bonamassa is indeed a player of the moment. I saw him playing in Frome in Somerset just before his career exploded. He was excellent and the show was immensely enjoyable. Some years later I watched him take Gary Moore’s place in the Jack Bruce Big Band at Royal Festival Hall when Gary sadly passed away. His role was to do the Cream part of the set and he approached it with such humility; didn’t overplay but paid honest homage to a man he regarded (just as Gary had) as one of the true greats. We sat and had coffee together before the show – out in the foyer in full view of everyone; he didn’t hide behind a disguise and was absolutely happy to break off our discussion, talk to fans and have his picture taken. He also let me play his 59 Les Paul and I even got a quick chat with Jack, which was itself a major honour. So, yes, Joe is on the list for a major style feature, too!
I have to point out that the 15th and 16th century is hardly recent! Apparently tablature was invented by blind organist, Conrad Paumann in the 1500s. Harvey P Freedman [And not ‘recently’ as stated in your ‘Welcome’ column recently]. Haha. I know that, Harvey, but thanks for pointing it out anyway. I was of course referring to its more recent usage as an almost entirely guitar-based learning tool in magazines and songbooks. And that situation hasn’t been around long by comparison with standard notation. There’s not much room in a letter response in the mag for full and detailed explanations so sometimes we make generalisations. Apologies if it was not entirely factually ‘correct’.
GEAR IN GT?
Please do not be put off by the reader who said that he would stop subscribing if you start doing gear articles. I don’t believe anyone is going to cancel their subscription just because two to three pages out of 100 are dedicated to guitar gear (and one on guitar pedals is long overdue). Also, it may help to fill the last few pages before a fast-approaching deadline. Mark Beatty Thanks, Mark. Well, in a governmentstyle u-turn we decided to shelve the idea for the time being, as we managed to get round the problem that brought up the idea (that of re-using old features, which didn’t go down too well in some quarters). That was going to be a way of filling a few pages without reprints but still remaining of interest to guitarists. Anyway, yet again, the subject of effects falls right in line with our own thinking, since effects are often so linked to certain styles or techniques. We just need to give shape to the feature so it works as a GT-type thing (ie, playing focused) as opposed to a Guitarist-type approach, which would be more operational. I recently had the great honour of playing Bridget’s GT arrangement of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March at my son’s own marriage service this June. As you can probably guess they had a slightly unconventional wedding in a beautiful country house setting. Luckily the British weather was kind, so my Yamaha electro-classical and Fishman Loudbox acoustic amp were duly set up and the piece sounded beautiful floating over an English summer lawn. I dithered about using music, and in the end decided to fully learn it and dispense with reading aids (I imagined a gust of wind blowing it away and leaving me musically naked, and that was enough to do it!). So, thanks GT and particularly to Bridget for a wonderful arrangement that went down a treat with family, friends, bride and groom! Martin Stapleton What a great story, Martin. Bridget will be so pleased to learn that her piece was pivotal to your son’s wedding. Any other such stories out there? Do let us know!
Joe Bonamassa: most worthy of an expanded GT style study
Mark Knopfler: such a wide variety of playing styles