Har­ri­son Marsh con­tin­ues his ex­am­i­na­tion of the great slide gui­tarists with for­mer Rolling Stone and Blues Breaker, the great Mick Tay­lor.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Har­ri­son Marsh ex­am­ines the swampy slide style of the mega-cool Low­ell Ge­orge.

Few gui­tarists can boast finer ca­reer high­lights than Mick Tay­lor, hav­ing been a mem­ber of the Blues Break­ers, a Rolling Stone and tour­ing with Bob Dy­lan, Jack Bruce and The Grate­ful Dead.

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Eric Clap­ton and Peter Green, Tay­lor first played with John May­all aged only 16 when Clap­ton failed to turn up for a show. Mick would go on to re­place Peter Green at the re­quest of May­all a year later, aged 17. Tay­lor recorded three al­bums with the band, and this ex­pe­ri­ence de­fined him as one of the prime gui­tarists within the mid-’60s Bri­tish blues re­vival.

Ini­tially ex­pect­ing to turn to stu­dio work, Tay­lor was rec­om­mended to the Stones by May­all in 1969 and made his live de­but with the band in Hyde Park, at the trib­ute con­cert for the re­cently de­ceased Brian Jones. The fol­low­ing year Tay­lor con­trib­uted to the clas­sic al­bum Sticky Fin­gers which showed a change in di­rec­tion for the group, no doubt in part due to Tay­lor’s in­flu­ence. In 1974 Tay­lor left the Stones af­ter dif­fer­ences due to how much credit he re­ceived for his con­tri­bu­tions. Many, though, con­sider the Tay­lor years to have pro­duced some of the band’s finest work.

Mick’s solo ca­reer show­cases much of his best slide play­ing across two ex­cel­lent stu­dio re­leases. He would also go on to con­trib­ute to records by var­i­ous Stones mem­bers as well as record­ing two al­bums with Bob Dy­lan.

Al­though far from purely a slide player, slide has formed an im­por­tant part in Tay­lor’s wide-reach­ing style. And while oc­ca­sion­ally us­ing open E and open G tun­ing, Mick prefers stan­dard tun­ing for much of his slide work; this helps to give him a sound of his own and avoids com­mon open tun­ing phras­ing that can be­come cliché. His use of stan­dard tun­ing, along with es­chew­ing the typ­i­cally high ac­tion as­so­ci­ated with the tech­nique, also al­lows Tay­lor to switch be­tween slide and non-slide pas­sages, some­times even in the same song.

Re­cently Mick has ap­peared on stage once again with both May­all and the Stones. And with such an im­pres­sive back cat­a­logue of live and record­ing work to his name, study­ing Tay­lor’s play­ing is a wor­thy chal­lenge for any blues and rock slide en­thu­si­ast.

NEXT MONTH Har­ri­son gets all down and dirty with Lit­tle Feat’s in­cred­i­ble Low­ell Ge­orge


Mick Tay­lor uses a metal slide on his fourth fin­ger

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