In­stru­men­tal in­qui­si­tion!

Gui­tar in­stru­men­tals have sup­plied some of mu­sic’s most evoca­tive mo­ments. We asked some top gui­tarists for their take on this iconic move­ment. This month: Nor­we­gian melodic rocker beloved of Zakk Wylde, TNT’s Ronni Le Tekro.

Guitar Techniques - - INTRO - Ronni’s newal­bum Mein Ampf II is avail­able as LP, CD and dig­i­tal down­load. More news and info www.face­book.com/ron­niletekro

GT: What is it about gui­tar in­stru­men­tals that ap­peals?

RLT: That my ears gets a break from the lyri­cal land­scape.

GT: What can an in­stru­men­tal pro­vide the lis­tener that a song with lyrics can’t?

RLT: A dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal jour­ney for the lis­tener - un­spo­ken.

GT: What are the ten­den­cies with in­stru­men­tals that you aim to em­brace or avoid?

RLT: I pre­fer im­pro­vised in­stru­men­tals, mean­ing free-bag. But I also trea­sure the well com­posed ones.

GT: Is a typ­i­cal song struc­ture of in­tro, verse, cho­rus, etc, al­ways rel­e­vant for an in­stru­men­tal?

RLT: I Would say never, al­though im­ple­ment­ing rep­e­ti­tion can be very im­por­tant to CATCH the lis­tener’s at­ten­tion.

GT: How use­ful is study­ing a vo­cal­ist’s ap­proach for cre­at­ing gui­tar melodies?

RLT: Very use­ful. In fact I write most of my com­po­si­tions based on a vo­cal ap­proach.

GT: How do you start writ­ing one; is there a typ­i­cal ap­proach or in­spi­ra­tion for you?

RLT: I would say the sound chaos that ex­ists in na­ture or the big cities. I hear mu­sic ev­ery­where.

GT: What do you aim for when your per­for­mance is cen­tre stage as with an in­stru­men­tal?

RLT: Fo­cus­ing on my mu­si­cal per­for­mance, first and fore­most. If I lose fo­cus on the mu­sic, I lose it. At the same time it’s about be­ing vis­ual on a rock stage, but it’s gotta come nat­u­rally, from what I’m play­ing.

GT: Many vo­cal songs fea­ture a gui­tar solo that starts low and slow then fin­ishes high and fast. Is this use­ful for in­stru­men­tals?

RLT: In gen­eral I would say so, but there are no ‘rules’. I love toss­ing ar­range­ments around and see­ing where it ends mu­si­cally. Ar­range­ments with a ‘twist’ have al­ways ap­pealed to me. From the likes of The Beatles, Queen, City Boy and oth­ers.

GT: What type of gui­tar tone do you pre­fer for in­stru­men­tals?

RLT: The tone of Ian Bairn­son (gui­tarist with Bri­tish prog-rock band Alan Par­sons Project, with Pi­lot, with Kate Bush – played the solo on Wuther­ing Heights - and with singer Bev­er­ley Craven). Gen­er­ally the tone com­ing out of 50w Mar­shalls run­ning on 240V. It’s just some­thing about that amp and tone that give iden­tity to so many play­ers around the globe. I also love the tone my ESP and Fend­ers give to my play­ing.

GT: Do you have favourite keys or tem­pos to play or write in?

RLT: F#mi­nor, any tempo. I like to change keys ev­ery time I write to not get stuck in any key. It could be weird tun­ings with ca­pos, or sim­ply just mess up the har­monic conte nt a bit.

GT: Do you find mi­nor or ma­jor keys eas­ier to write in?

RLT: Both. But it’s hard to elab­o­rate on. I go with the har­monic wind when I write, ei­ther by my­self or with oth­ers.

GT: Do you have any favourite modes to play or write in?

RLT: E Phry­gian, chro­matic pas­sages as well as Bri­tish blues.

GT: What about mod­u­la­tions into dif­fer­ent keys?

RLT: I con­stantly mod­u­late into new keys, in al­most ev­ery com­po­si­tion. I also try to have each track in a dif­fer­ent key to main­tain colour on a full al­bum. The same thing goes with tem­pos... the tempo the song needs, re­gard­less.

GT: Do you view the back­ing band in a dif­fer­ent way than you would on a vo­cal song?

RLT: To be hon­est no, be­cause I’m al­ways look­ing for that spe­cial feel­ing whether it’s an in­stru­men­tal or not. We have a more dy­namic ap­proach maybe, when it comes to back­ing a good singer and have to fol­low the singer’s dy­nam­ics.

GT: What are your views on har­mon­is­ing melodies?

RLT: I’ve be­ing do­ing it a lot through the last 36 years! One ex­am­ple is Wis­dom with TNT, that con­tains block har­mon­ics and 90 tracks of gui­tars. Took me a month of gui­tar play­ing, that song. The solo also has a 1/4-note solo (per­formed on my 1/4 step­per gui­tar).

GT: What three gui­tar in­stru­men­tals would you con­sider iconic, or have in­spired you?

RLT: I don’t think I have any pure gui­tar in­stru­men­tals as favourites, other than stuff from Steve Hil­lage, Be Bop Deluxe, Frank Marino ...but that con­tains some vo­cal el­e­ments. Check out Frank Marino’s King Bee Live, for in­stance.

i con­stantly mod­u­late into new keys. i also try to have each track in a diff er­ent key to main­tain colour on a full al­bum

Ronni Le Tekro: has all the chops but likes to play melod­i­cally

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