I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while now…
(Well, actually, I’ve been playing with the idea since about August of 2008…)
And, I’ve even started getting my shit together, so I could get this ball rockin’, but something always came up…
First, I got married… again! That always screws things up! 😉
Then… a hurricane ate our house, and all it’s contents. I had to say goodbye to several of my guitars, and a lot of sound gear!
And if that wasn’t enough, between trying to rebuild and trying to keep things flowin’…
We had a baby! I don’t know how it happened… well, I know “exactly” how it happened (if you don’t you’re on the wrong blog, bucko!) and now he’s tearin’ up the joint!
But, time stands still for no one! I’ve seen stuff… I’ve played stuff… I’ve even seen history… (I was there at Record Plant in the 70’s [1974 to be exact] when Lennon and McCartney “played” together for the last time)…
So… no more wasting time, We’re gonna start anew, with no more lookin’ back, and no more lookin’ over somebody else’s shoulder.
Here we go…
All you have to do is spend 20 minutes at Guitar Center, to realize that a guitar is a “babe” magnet. With the right axe even a geek can get laid, provided the licks are there! But, how do you actually learn to play it? And, what if you’re (gasp!) left-handed? Oh shit… Things just got way more complicated!
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but being a great guitarist isn’t about getting laid. It’s about being a rock solid performer, who channels his or her heart and soul into that guitar, and then bleeds energy out to the audience. THAT gets you laid…
And confidentially, you need to get your priorities straight. If this is all about your “naughty bits,” you have much bigger problems!
Let me guarantee you that you’re gonna spend hours that last for months, getting your chops… And then, you’re gonna have to conquer your stage-fright, and show the world what you’ve got. Being a “lefty” isn’t a curse!
Hell, some of the greatest guitarists that ever lived are (gasp!) lefties!
Lemme see… Jimi Hendrix comes to mind;
No one ever tuned into the “cosmic progression” and saw more possibilities for the electric guitar’s place as rock’s “pillar” instrument than Jimi Hendrix. Jimi integrated blues and jazz, used them as his springboard, and then mercilessly pushed his instrument to places his peers could only dream of. Legions of us have been trying to duplicate his licks ever since. But alas, there’s only one “Jimi.” Interestingly enough, Carlos Santana once speculated that Hendrix’s style may have been partly rooted in his Native American heritage. I’m thinkin’ it was the “peyote…” but what do I know? 😉
Then there was that cat… Tommy “Whats-his-name…” you know… the guy with Black Sabbath?
It’s been said that Tony Iommi is the man who invented the heavy metal riff. With his ever present SG, the Black Sabbath maestro established the gloomy, minor key patterns and foreboding blues-based solos that continue to define the darker side of the rock genre. Few guitarists have uncovered more permutations within a singular, self-imposed approach. And that includes “righties…”
We’ll throw this guy on the fire, too; Elliot Easton
Catchy as they were, Rick Ocasek’s neurotic pop songs wouldn’t have been the same without Elliot Easton’s economical leads and spot-on, song-serving solos. Trained at the Berklee College of Music, Easton brought a Beatles-like touch to such Cars classics as “Just What I Needed” and “My Best Friend’s Girl.” Fittingly, Gibson honored him with his own signature SG.
Play nice and I may have some kind of a contest to “pass it on…” to a deserving “lefty!”
In fact, somebody sent me one… Not bad at all, the neck was so smooth it reminded me of an old joke about “hand-jobs…” 😉
Let’s not forget one of my personal favorites; Sir Paul McCartney
In addition to being the most melodic bass stylist in rock history, Paul McCartney has unveiled spectacular six-string artistry on more occasions than you can count! He may be “old school,” but acoustic classics such as “Yesterday” and “Blackbird” remain essential for aspiring guitarists who give equal weight to brilliant songwriting and impeccable technique. It’s a measure of his talent that even in his “old age,” at any of his live performances Sir Paul makes material look deceptively easy.
And just because I’m a “Southern California Boy,” I’m gonna throw in Dick Dale;
The long esteemed “King of the Surf Guitar,” Dick Dale went out every night and showed ’em how it was done! Dick exerted a huge influence on ’60s groups such as the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. Now, before you start callin’ me “Grandpa,” I’ll point out that even though Dick was probably before your time, his trademark single-note staccato technique had a tremendous impact on aspiring guitarists everywhere. In fact, virtuoso players like Eddie Van Halen and even Pete Townshend considered him a guitar-playin’ God! And, Dale’s use of exotic Middle Eastern scales (now quite commonly used) was considered daring (and even decadent) for its time as well.
And I can think of a bunch more! Guys like Al King, Otis Rush, Tim Armstrong, and Al McKay, just to name a few!
So even if you’re a lefty, you can do it! I’ve got faith in you. And, if you can’t… well… I still can, and in the end, it’s all about me, huh? 🙂
Okay, I’ll admit that I’m in the biz… I’ve lived in studios and sound rooms all my life. I’ve seen ’em come and I’ve seen ’em go. I’ve tossed their posses out of “green rooms,” and I’ve even stolen a girlfriend or two…
(Frankly, I’ve loved more guitars, than people.)
I’ve owned studios in L.A., New York, and even Las Vegas. I’ve owned more guitars than a guitar store. I’ve toured in more countries than I can remember…
Through it all (and the 70’s are still kinda hazy), I’ve contributed to what I think is a pretty solid body of work, with an “Artist list” that goes on for several pages. In fact, if you started playin’ all the stuff I’ve worked on, that iPod of yours would keep playing for weeks continuously.
The funny thing is that I sit at home, in the studio, playin’ my ass off, with my kid in the sound room listening like he can actually hear each and every note. I’m surrounded by records hanging on the wall… Yet… my kid is still amazed when Jeff Beck knows my name… ‘cuz I’m just “dad.” And he thinks Joe Satriani is a God… Go figure! Oy Vey!
And, you don’t stop playin’ when you’re thirty, either! Lots of us tour into our 50’s and 60’s. Some of us keep at it, writing scores for film, and jingles for advertising. And some of us get to the point where we don’t even have to leave the house, anymore, to shred for some serious cash… I know some of those guys. In fact, they meet at my house, on a regular basis!
Here’s a tip; If you wanna keep your licks, you have to work at it. And, it’s hard work, despite how easy it looks on MTV and VH1…
But, I’m getting sick and tired of hearing people whining that “they can’t crack in,” or they can’t learn to play, because of this or that. “Waaaaaa-waaaa-waaa!” That’s just crap! To those guys, I just say this; “Grow a spine!”
It’s about talent, determination, and drive.
It’s that simple.
First, you learn the fundamentals. Then, you learn the tricks. Then, and only then, you start getting “original.” Stevie and Carlos didn’t come out of Momma’s chute with a guitar neck glued to their little hands and a pick in their mouths… Jeff and Joe didn’t go to Wal*Mart and buy a can of “Incredi-Shred.” They learned to shred, by practicing for hours that lasted for days, going on weeks. And then, after their fingers stopped bleeding, they started over.
And it doesn’t matter if you’ve got an “inny,” or an “outie.” Girls can shred, too! Just ask Lita Ford, or that Aussie Wonder “Oriantha!”
As a “leftie,” much of what I’ll teach here will pertain to that “chosen few,” who despite being “wrong-handed,” are gonna conquer their dragons, and learn to shred like one of those guys on “Iron Chef!” 😉
For those of you “righties” that stop by, the principles will still apply, you’ll just have to practice the “application,” in the mirror. Don’t feel bad, some of us have been doing it for years… 🙂
We’re gonna talk about the business of making music, in spite of those who would watch you fail.