Blues Head­lines: The Green God

Richard Bar­rett’s in-depth lessons in blues play­ing tech­nique will make you a bet­ter player – with full au­dio and back­ing tracks

Guitarist - - Contents - Tu­tor: Richard Bar­rett Gear used: Knaggs SSC, Vox AC15 C1

The Green God

Peter Green is a name from that clas­sic late 60s/early 70s pe­riod that brought us so much beau­ti­ful play­ing – though he didn’t be­come as well known as his con­tem­po­raries Eric Clap­ton, Paul Kos­soff, Jimmy Page, to name a few, pos­si­bly be­cause of his well pub­li­cised break­down in the early 70s. That aside, his play­ing and song­writ­ing dur­ing this pe­riod in­spired all who heard it as he toured with John May­all’s Blues­break­ers, re­plac­ing Eric Clap­ton, then the orig­i­nal in­car­na­tion of Fleet­wood Mac, giv­ing us clas­sics such as Al­ba­tross, Need Your Love So Bad and Black Magic Woman – later cov­ered by Carlos San­tana, of course. His im­mac­u­late phras­ing is very dif­fi­cult to em­u­late, though there are cer­tain ‘trade­marks’ that will get us closer to the real deal.

Peter’s ’59 Gib­son Les Paul had a dis­tinc­tive tone when both pick­ups were se­lected. This was sup­pos­edly the re­sult of the pick­ups’ mag­nets be­ing out of phase with each other, can­celling out many of the lower fre­quen­cies to give a pierc­ing, in­stantly iden­ti­fi­able tone. If you don’t fancy tak­ing a sol­der­ing iron to your gui­tar, this isn’t com­pletely nec­es­sary – we’re look­ing to get the flavour rather than sim­ply copy here, but try di­alling in a lit­tle ex­tra tre­ble (on hum­buck­ers) to give an ex­tra bite. The tone should be just on the edge of over­drive, with a gen­er­ous splash of spring-style re­verb.

You’ll see that the ex­am­ples aren’t too com­pli­cated at all; it’s about de­vel­op­ing ideas and play­ing them with con­vic­tion and pre­ci­sion. Ever the per­fec­tion­ist, Peter once said that if he made a mis­take, he would be “spoiled for the rest of the evening…” Maybe that’s a lit­tle harsh, but you get the idea!

Peter Green’s play­ing from the 60s-to-70s pe­riod con­tin­ues to in­spire

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