Some names you’ve heard, others maybe not. But they all have a unique voice on the instrument.
• Open your ears to new influences.
• Understand how to create interlocking rhythm parts.
• Develop a new appreciate for the rhythmic complexity of Wayne Krantz, the effortless bebop of Biréli Lagrène, and the driving force that is David Williams.
Biréli Lagrène’s Bombastic Bop
Standards was the first jazz guitar record I really listened to, and his playing on this entire album is devastating. There is so much groove, joy, and ferocity in every note. The way he lays ideas out on the fretboard made a lot of sense to me, his rhythms were intentional and clear, and it was surprisingly easy to dig into as a rock guitarist at the time. He has an extensive catalog of jazz, gypsy jazz, and fusion records with some of the best in the world, and he’s also a killer bass player who can sing just like Frank Sinatra! Ex. 1 is over the first eight measures of “Stella by Starlight.” I stole so much vocabulary from this solo that I can still play bits from memory 20 years later. Lagrène’s treatment of two-measure chunks to play his ideas was significantly helpful. Whether it was an engaging rhythmic phrase, constant eighth-notes, or just cramming in as much as he could, I stopped worrying so much about catching every chord change after I learned this one.
Stella by Starlight
George Barnes is a unique jazz guitarist who was a contemporary of Charlie Christian, Johnny Smith, and Django. A significant part of his early work was writing and arranging for radio and television, for NBC, and he also wrote the very first electric guitar method book in 1942. A friend in Austin gave me two CDs of his: a collection of his playing from the Plantation Party radio show and an overview of his octet recordings. The octet recordings sound like unhinged cartoon music with guitar and orchestral instruments and are highly enjoyable. Ex. 2 is a line I lifted from a recording of him playing “Ain’t Misbehavin.” It was one of the hippest endings I have ever heard on a jazz tune, and although I can’t find the recording anywhere, I still use it all the time. I love the intention in George Barnes’ playing. Swinging and mischievous, he always sounds like he was having fun.
The George Barnes Sextet - Lover, Come Back to Me
“Thrilling” Rhythm Solos
David Williams is one of the greatest rhythm players of all time. He is responsible for most of the memorable guitar moments on Michael Jackson’s records, and all his parts have an infectious nature. He is the primary reason I got interested in rhythm guitar, and he is still an inspiration on that front. One of my favorite examples of his playing is the breakdown in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (where Vincent Price does the rap). His signature thunderous right-hand approach to single-note rhythm parts is in full effect, and the natural accents between the two rhythm parts are infectious on their own but weave perfectly together. Ex. 3 is my interpretation of two interlocking parts in this style. He’s said in interviews that his concept as a player was to develop “rhythm solos” that could stand out front in a song, and this is a perfect example of that.
(Better than) Average Riffs
Though Hamish Stuart is most known for being an original member of the Average White Band, the singer/guitarist/composer/producer also did extensive work with heavyweights such as George Benson, Paul McCartney, Chaka Khan, and Aretha Franklin. Though AWB was still working until 1983, Hamish was doing sessions with various artists as a sideman in the early ’80s, including this excerpt from “Move Me No Mountain” off Chaka Khan’s Naughty from 1980 (Ex. 4). I’ve always loved the interplay between these two parts, range-wise and rhythmically. The lower pick line hits some unusual 16th-note placements, and the higher dyads have a churn to them that is amazing. Both parts together feel different rhythmically from anything I have ever heard but sound so cool and unique.
Chaka Khan - Move Me No Mountain
Wayne Krantz is one of those guys that hit me like a lightning bolt. Upon hearing him, I felt like I had “permission” to play more with the fingers of my right hand, use jagged and intentional rhythms, and above all, to play more naturally. Wayne has always played like himself. His control over rhythm and articulation alone is legendary, not to mention the vast body of unique work he has created. Ex. 5 is an excerpt from the only solo I ever learned of his, from “Infinity Split” off 1999’s Greenwich Mean. I love this solo because it is incredibly engaging rhythmically and melodically, but almost 100 percent inside the harmony. This solo taught me more about rhythmic placement and articulation than anything.
Wayne Krantz - Infinity Split
Though I could only grab a certain percentage of these guys’ “vocabulary,” learning these parts over the years helped me find my sound. The result was an attempt to emulate some of their musicality in my way, rather than outright imitating them. Anything you hear that grabs your interest is probably worth sitting down and figuring out. While we might not mention the guitarists above alongside Hendrix or Van Halen, they have all done their part to put a brick in the cathedral, furthering music, and the instrument.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.