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Guitar Techniques - - CON­TENTS - Neville Marten, Edi­tor neville.marten@fu­turenet.com

Nev dis­cusses the ben­e­fits of looking back

RE­CENTLY I WAS in­volved in a gig at Bris­tol Jazz & Blues Fes­ti­val to mark 50 years since Cream’s dis­so­lu­tion. There were three gui­tars, bass and drums and we’d done the same last year for Jimi Hen­drix’s de­but al­bum, Are You Ex­pe­ri­enced.

I men­tion it be­cause, while sev­eral of the guys in­volved revered Hen­drix, they didn’t have quite the same un­curbed ad­mi­ra­tion for Clap­ton, Bruce and Baker. This was all to change once we got down to learn­ing the set.

One gui­tarist, a great mate and equally great player, has al­ways ex­pressed mild dis­dain for EC. But af­ter bon­ing up on the tunes at home he said: “How does he do that ‘ma­jor-mi­nor’ thing? I don’t un­der­stand it and I’m re­ally struggling with it.” The bassist, an equally fab­u­lous mu­si­cian stated, “Un­til I started play­ing this stuff I never knew that the licks I’d learned from my prog heroes, all came from Jack.”

We had sev­eral get-to­geth­ers and each time the appreciation for the com­po­si­tions and the play­ers grew. Af­ter the gig, which went ex­traor­di­nar­ily well, we all agreed that it was a better night than last year, and that the mu­sic was more in­ter­est­ing, re­ward­ing and fun to play. The re­cep­tion from the sold-out crowd seemed to con­firm this.

My point is, go­ing back to the source (okay, they weren’t the source, but you know what I mean), can of­ten re­veal qual­i­ties that we hadn’t pre­vi­ously re­alised were there, and there­fore not ap­pre­ci­ated.

Joe Bona­massa, like Eric Clap­ton be­fore him, is a scholar of blues and rock. He’s done his home­work; gone back to where it be­gan for him, then delved fur­ther to re­veal th­ese artists’ own idols and in­flu­ences. You may re­call Justin San­der­coe ex­tolling the virtues of this ap­proach in last month’s col­umn.

Richard Bar­rett’s su­perb cover ar­ti­cle of­fers a short-cut to Joe’s huge range and abil­i­ties and is crammed with bril­liant stuff to learn. Once you’ve feasted your­self on all things Bona­massa, don’t for­get to re­visit Cream, Free, BB, Rory, Gary, Eric J, SRV et al, to re­mind you of who in­spired Joe. Then do a bit of re­search to dis­cover the guys that turned them on so much that they dropped every­thing to ded­i­cate their lives to be­com­ing a blues or rock mu­si­cian.

See you soon.

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