The South African guitarist slides into his second decade as one of the world’s finest blues-based storytellers. With Ronan McCullagh.
Ever since his 2004 debut album, Standing At The Station, Dan Patlansky has earned his dues the hard way, working his beautiful 1962 Strat in clubs across the world as he furiously delivers SRV and Hendrix influenced lines. With clear foundations in the tradition of the blues, Patlansky is not however interested in holding the traditionalist torch as he pushes the form using modern compositions with tasty harmony and up-to-date production methods.
As a youngster Dan didn’t find much attraction to the contemporary pop music his peers indulged in so found refuge in the blues, jazz and soul of his parents’ records.
In recent times Dan has been headlining many of the world’s blues festivals and acting as support to acts such as Bruce Springsteen and Joe Satriani – a long way from the lunchtime concerts at his school. But it’s still early days for Patlansky as he just released his 2018 studio album Perfection Kills and along with each release his profile and popularity grow, so clearly we can expect to hear a lot more in the future.
While Patlansky’s influences are rooted in the SRV and Hendrix world it’s how he weaves this into his own compositions that makes him different. His music goes from big, riff-based pieces to stripped-down, slow 12/8 blueses and everything in between. There’s always plenty of guitar hooks and solos but Dan also excels at keeping the solo relatively short and getting the intention across, while allowing the song to retain its integrity. This is something to really think about when it comes to taking your next solo: what will suit the song and not what will impress everybody.
His lines are dynamically strong and he has that lovely ability to delicately approach a phrase with a clean neck pickup tone and subtle vibrato; then heavily attack the note, punishing the guitar as his naturally relic’d finish shows.
Not surprisingly Patlansky’s note content leans strongly on the Pentatonic and Blues scales with that classic mix of major and minor - the blues ambiguity that we mention regularly in these pages - but as you will see in the examples he’s also fond of chromaticism and three-notes-per-string ideas. Being a big SRV fan, double-stops are a big part of his language, or finding expression in the pace in the vibrato or the rise and fall of a bend.
NEXT MONTH Ronan brings us two solos showing the bluesy side of the great Jimmy Page
I would rather hear an average player with a great guitar tone than a great player with a bad one
Dan Patlansky playing one of his three Strats