On The Record
Tommy Emmanuel shared an interesting piece of advice in a recent interview with Guitarist. Here’s what he said: “Skill comes before music. Then practice will turn those skills into something musical.” We can take him to mean that the licks we learn can be useful tools but aren’t actually all that musical unless you play them at a moment when the music really calls out for that phrase. It’s so important to just stop and remember that music is a dialogue between the musicians making the music together in the moment. And, thus, simply inserting set-piece licks into musical situations they don’t quite fit can be the guitar equivalent of being the guy who tells joke after set-piece joke at a party when everyone else wants to have a proper conversation. That’s why this issue focuses on refreshing your sense of musicality with stellar recordings by a selection of the greatest players the world has produced (see page 57). All the players we’ve chosen keep their ears open to the music and the other musicians while they play – and the result is they never sound clichéd and always satisfy. As mentioned in the feature, we’ve largely steered away from universally well-known classics because the lessons that Clapton, Gilmour and others have to impart through their playing have (rightfully) been more than covered in these pages in the past. Instead, our deliberately eclectic, staff-picked list of essential guitar albums is intended to open up new avenues in your appreciation of guitar and hopefully give you dozens of fresh inspirations for techniques to borrow or bone up on. Or maybe just put them on your playlist, sit back and enjoy some of the greatest guitar music ever committed to vinyl... As a side-note, you may notice one or two regular features don’t make an appearance this issue, to make room for our bumper roundup, but fear not – all your favourites will return next month!
Elsewhere in the issue, we have plenty more to inspire you – check out Phil Hilborne’s lesson on the neo-classical licks you can actually play even if you’re no Malmsteen (that’s most of us then) – it’s huge fun. See you next time.