BLUES

Join BIMM’s Ro­nan McCul­lagh as he looks at the bluesy side of one of the most sig­nif­i­cant and in­flu­en­tial elec­tric gui­tarists of all time.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Ro­nan McCul­lagh ex­am­ines the bluesy side of Led Zep­pelin’s ge­nius master­mind, Jimmy Page.

Jimmy Page is a mem­ber of the gui­tar su­per­hero squad and for good rea­son. Known for his work with Led Zep­pelin, for his life as an in-de­mand ses­sion gui­tarist, his con­tri­bu­tion to The Yard­birds, The Firm, and with David Coverdale and Paul Rodgers, Page is the ‘com­plete’ mu­si­cian. As well as the abil­ity to ex­press him­self on the gui­tar, his work as a pro­ducer, ar­ranger and com­poser are ground­break­ing. Even his iconic on­stage stance is the blue­print for many a rock gui­tar hero: eyes closed, head back, gui­tar at his knees... that’s the Page vibe.

Jimmy’s style has many sides but be­neath it all is that raw, dy­namic blues vo­cab­u­lary fur­thered by the lan­guage of rock and roll that took Jimmy’s ear as a young­ster. “It was the ob­vi­ous in­flu­ences, Scotty Moore, James Bur­ton, Cliff Gallup… and I be­gan to hear blues gui­tarists El­more James, BB King, and peo­ple like that. Ba­si­cally, that was the start: a mix­ture be­tween rock and blues.”

Jimmy’s abil­ity to in­clude chord tones gives him a melodic edge that car­ries your ear through the har­mony. Yet he’s no stranger to hold­ing a re­peat­ing phrase across a chord se­quence or run­ning through a Pen­ta­tonic box with one or two nice ex­ten­sions. One thing that al­ways stands out is his use of dy­nam­ics, as he would go from soft to loud with lit­tle or no warn­ing. As you will find in this month’s study, Page loves to ex­ploit the gui­tar’s abil­ity to bend notes and has al­ways found in­ter­est­ing ways to per­form these.

Page has never been what you’d call a clean or tidy player; his style has al­ways been dar­ing and on the edge, but take this as a les­son in it­self. You can ob­sess over a note or phrase un­til you’ve knocked the life out of it; it’s good thing to be ac­cu­rate but bal­ance it with em­brac­ing the im­per­fec­tions that ex­ists within mu­sic, as these are beau­ti­ful too. Don’t be­lieve me? Lis­ten to Jimmy Page!

As al­ready men­tioned, Page pos­s­eses ex­cel­lent com­po­si­tion and ar­rang­ing skills, and you need look no fur­ther than his rhythm parts to find ex­am­ples. His or­ches­tra­tions and abil­ity to find a sup­port­ive part for the song never ceases to amaze. Al­though they of­ten sound sim­ple, when you spend time study­ing the parts you will find an­other level of in­tri­cacy: the way that the gui­tar tran­si­tions through the ar­range­ments, switch­ing from huge riffs to well-bal­anced chord parts to arpeg­giated voice lead­ing sec­tions, and in­evitably to the big solo. What’s not to like?

NEXT MONTH Ro­nan ex­am­ines the pow­er­ful style of that great mod­ern blues­man Kirk Fletcher

It was the ob­vi­ous in­flu­ences, Scotty Moore, James Bur­ton, Cliff Gallup AN D blues gui­tarists. Ba­si­cally, that was the start: a mi xture be­tween rock and blues Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page play­ing one of his favourite blues gui­tars

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