Dan Pat­lansky

The South African gui­tarist slides into his sec­ond decade as one of the world’s finest blues-based sto­ry­tellers. With Ro­nan Mc­Cul­lagh.

Guitar Techniques - - LESSON BLUES -

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

Dan Pat­lansky play­ing one of his three Strats

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