august 2016

An in-depth look at a modern guitar master’s take on rock, blues, and soul.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Beginner
Lesson Overview:
• Investigate old-school soul rhythms pioneered by the likes of Curtis Mayfield.
• Learn how to craft melodic phrases on a single string.
• Understand how to effectively choose notes that outline the changes.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

John Mayer has earned the music world's respect as a modern master of blues, rock, and pop guitar. An adroit musician who can combine these worlds in a distinctively original style, he also unapologetically displays a variety of strong influences from the greats.

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Pedestrian meets provocative in this flexibly glitchy box with expression-pedal control.

Touted as a vintage-voiced, “fractional” bit-rate reducer and sample-rate modulator, the oversized, single-stomp Bitmap features mix, crush/rate, freq(uency), and level knobs mated to two switches—a toggle for selecting bit-reduction or modulation, and a 3-position switch for choosing triangle, square, or random waveforms (the latter only in mod mode).

With all these controls, it’s no wonder the Bitmap avails a variety of strangeness—from corpulent digital fuzz to ’80s-ish synth sounds and glitching, blarging, and bleeping bizarreness of the sort you’d expect if you plugged your 6-string into the Wachowskis’ Matrix. Of particularly cool inclusion is the ability to control sample rate via expression pedal. The only significant limitation is that those inclined to mete out maximum weirdness with a 100-percent wet mix will find that the closest they can get is a roughly 50:50 ratio.

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