Chris Cor­nell

Martin Cooper hon­ours Soundgar­den and Au­dioslave’s sadly-de­parted rock ge­nius Chris Cor­nell with a look at his ‘solo era’ style.

Guitar Techniques - - LEARNING ZONE -

On 18 May the rock world lost one of its great­est front­men: Chris Cor­nell of Soundgar­den and Au­dioslave. Cor­nell had been on tour with the re­formed Soundgar­den when the ef­fects of on-go­ing med­i­ca­tion seem to have got the bet­ter of his judge­ment and he was found dead in his ho­tel room in Bos­ton. Heart­felt trib­utes have been paid by fans and peers alike.

Cor­nell was one of the found­ing mem­bers of Soundgar­den who, along with Nir­vana, spear­headed the grunge move­ment in Seat­tle in the early 1990s. Soundgar­den’s style was more so­phis­ti­cated than many of their con­tem­po­raries, and of­ten used odd time sig­na­tures and in­ter­est­ing changes, while al­ways be­ing built around Cor­nell’s soar­ing voice, which had a nearly four-oc­tave range.

Chris went on to form the su­per­group Au­dioslave with in­stru­men­tal­ists from Rage Against The Ma­chine, re­leas­ing two high­ly­ac­claimed al­bums. He has also won two Gram­mys for his writ­ing and per­form­ing.

Cor­nell and Soundgar­den signed to the Sub Pop la­bel in 1987, but didn’t achieve a real break­through un­til 1994’s Su­pe­run­k­nown, which set them along­side Nir­vana and Pearl Jam at the fore­front of the grunge move­ment. The band dis­solved in the late 90s amid ten­sions due to mu­si­cal di­rec­tion. But be­fore form­ing Au­dioslave, Cor­nell re­leased four solo al­bums, all of which made the top 20 in Amer­ica and all but one (Scream) the UK top 40. The first was 1999’s crit­i­cally ac­claimed Eupho­ria Morn­ing. This new­found free­dom gave Cor­nell a new lease of life and he con­tin­ued to tour and record as a solo artist. His tour­ing band has at times in­cluded Pete Thorn who these days is widely known for his in-depth YouTube demos and lessons.

Cor­nell’s eclec­ti­cism led him to co-write and record a Bond theme in 2006, and also record a cover ver­sion of Michael Jack­son’s Bil­lie Jean. He even­tu­ally re­formed Soundgar­den and they had been en­joy­ing a suc­cess­ful tour right up to the day of his death.

The track this month fo­cuses on Cor­nell’s rock­ier solo side. It’s in the key of B Mi­nor (B-C#-D-E-F#-G-A) although there’s an E Ma­jor chord in the first part and an F# Ma­jor that lends a Har­monic Mi­nor vibe to pro­ceed­ings. The track is not tricky to play but you’ll need to com­bine vol­ume and ag­gres­sion with con­trol and fi­nesse. Watch out for un­wanted open strings ring­ing, and check out the play­ing tips for more de­tails.

COR­NELL hAD A sOAR­ING vOICE, whICh hAD A NEARLY fOuROCTAvE RANGE

NEXT MONTH Martin looks at the rock gui­tar style of Aero­smith’s amaz­ing Joe Perry

Chris Cor­nell: one of rock’s great­est ever front­men

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