PE­TER GREEN Fleet­wood Mac style study

Phil Capone anal­y­ses the pi­o­neer­ing work of Pe­ter Green dur­ing his in­flu­en­tial but all-too-brief stint as Fleet­wood Mac’s front­man.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

He’s one of Bri­tain’s most revered gui­tarists. His brief time in Fleet­wood Mac left us a wealth of bril­liant blues, bal­lads and rock. Here Phil Capone re­veals the se­crets to Pe­ter’s dis­tinc­tive style.

Pe­ter Green was the guitarist faced with the un­en­vi­able task of fill­ing Eric Clap­ton’s shoes when he quit John May­all’s Blues­break­ers to form Cream in 1966 (just in case any read­ers have re­cently emerged from a rather long spell in a cave!). Green was a to­tal un­known at the time but, like Clap­ton, he too would leave af­ter record­ing just one al­bum, A Hard Road, in 1967. Blues­break­ers drum­mer Mick Fleet­wood and bassist John McVie also soon fol­lowed, pro­vid­ing the rhythm sec­tion for his ex­cit­ing new project, Fleet­wood Mac. Pe­ter Green’s Fleet­wood Mac (as this era of the band is gen­er­ally re­ferred to) reigned from 1967 to 1970 and recorded three stu­dio al­bums. In ad­di­tion to Green, Fleet­wood and McVie, the core band mem­bers also in­cluded Jeremy Spencer (vo­cals, slide gui­tar, pi­ano), and later Danny Kir­wan (vo­cals, gui­tar). Fleet­wood Mac pro­vided a ve­hi­cle for Green’s vir­tu­oso solo­ing, dis­tinc­tive vo­cals, and song­writ­ing style; this early in­car­na­tion of the band was a long way from the AOR mul­ti­plat­inum sell­ing group they would later be­come. Green quit in 1970 due to men­tal health is­sues trig­gered by an LSD ex­pe­ri­ence while on tour in Europe. Fred­die King and BB King heav­ily in­flu­enced Green’s style; both play­ers were pro­fi­cient Ma­jor key im­pro­vis­ers and this ob­vi­ously in­spired him to ex­per­i­ment with notes from out­side the ba­sic Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic. His so­los fre­quently in­cluded notes from the Blues scale, Nat­u­ral Mi­nor (Ae­o­lian), BB King ‘blues box’ (more on this later), and the Mixoly­dian mode. BB King praised Green when asked what he thought of the 60s Bri­tish blues boom play­ers, “He has the sweet­est tone I’ve ever heard, he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats”. Green’s pre­co­cious tal­ent cer­tainly seemed at odds with his back­ground and young age (Fleet­wood Mac was formed when he was just 21); how­ever, propos­ing that he might have traded his soul at the junc­tion of the A406 and A40 doesn’t evoke the same folk­lore ‘cred’ as Robert John­son’s al­leged deal. Green was ar­guably the finest (cer­tainly the most au­then­tic) of the Bri­tish blues boom play­ers, which prob­a­bly makes him the great­est blues guitarist ever to be born out­side of the USA. Green’s trade­mark gui­tar cer­tainly de­serves a men­tion here: a 1959 Gib­son Les Paul Stan­dard sun­burst. The neck pickup was mod­i­fied (ac­ci­den­tally or oth­er­wise) to achieve those iconic out-of-phase tones in the ‘both pick­ups on’ set­ting. The late Gary Moore (a life­long fan of Pe­ter’s) ac­quired the gui­tar from Green when he quit Fleet­wood Mac and used it ex­ten­sively through­out his own ca­reer. Moore sold the gui­tar in 2006 and it re­mained in the hands of pri­vate in­vestors un­til Kirk Ham­mett pur­chased the gui­tar in 2014 (al­legedly pay­ing around $2 mil­lion for it). The fol­low­ing ex­am­ples are de­signed to re­vive your play­ing with new and ex­cit­ing sounds that the Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic alone can’t pro­vide. It should also en­gen­der deeper ap­pre­ci­a­tion for one of our great­est play­ers, and in­spire you to de­velop your mu­si­cal­ity, as well as a deeper feel­ing for the blues.

GREEN’S SO­LOS OF­TEN USED NOTES FROM THE BLUES SCALE, THE NAT­U­RAL MI­NOR, THE BB KING ‘BLUES BOX’ AND THE MIXOLY­DIAN MODE

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