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A U G U S T 2 0 1 4

50
GREATEST
TONES OF
ALL TIME
FROM AC/DC TO
VAN HALEN AND BEYOND,
GP LISTS THE BEST GUITAR
TONES EVER RECORDED.
MIKE
STERN
RANDY
RHOADS
LESSON
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4 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
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GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 7
from the vault
8 50 Greatest Tones of All Time
From AC/DC to Van Halen and beyond, GP lists
the best guitar tones ever cranked out and
explains why they rule (from the October 2004
issue of Guitar Player).
30 Mike Stern
The jazziest rocker (or the most rockin’ jazzer)
talks about his roots, his approach, and what he
got from Miles in his March 1987 cover story.
Gear
42 New Gear
From the August 2014 issues of Guitar Player.
oN the NewsstaNd
44 GP August 2014 Table of Contents
lessoNs
47 Randy Rhoads’ Pentatonics (from the
June 2003 issue of Guitar Player).
50 How to Fingerpick Arpeggios (from the
November 2004 issue of Guitar Player).
sessioNs
52 The ever-popular TrueFire Lessons
traNscriptioNs
54 “I Can’t Explain” The Who
58 “Poundcake” Van Halen
74 “Revolution” Pantera
BB King - Page 8
contents
August 2014 · Volume 4, Number 8
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8 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
classic interview
Tone. It’s one of the most magical and beautiful aspects of the guitar. It’s also the most
mysterious and, at times, frustrating. A player can chase after technical skills for years, and
nothing he or she plays will sound like much if the tone isn’t there. Conversely, if a guitarist’s
tone is happening, it doesn’t seem to matter if that player is out of tune or out of time—their
music will still sound inspiring.
50
T
H
E
GREATEST
T ONE S
OF ALL TIME
B Y M A T T B L A C K E T T A N D T H E G P S T A F F
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 9
october 2004
PHOTO: LONDON FEATURES
classic interview
DUANE ALLMAN
RITCHIE BLACKMORE
Even after many years of studying it,
guitar tone remains enigmatic. We know
great tone when we hear it, but achieving
it is still a tall order. Part of the equation
involves gear. Buy the same equipment as
your favorite player, and you can get a tiny
part of their sound. If it were that simple,
we’d all be plugging Strats into Marshalls
and sounding like Hendrix. That’s where the
greatest riddle about tone lies: Guitarists
with amazing tones typically get their
sound no matter what gear they use.
That’s why the phrase “it’s in the hands”
gets thrown around as much as it does—
because it’s true.
This list should inspire discussion,
debate, and arguments. While there can
be no right or wrong answers, every choice
is backed up with recorded evidence, and
we should all listen and judge accordingly.
More than anything, this is meant to be
a celebration of tone. Tone is what makes
all music come alive and hit you in the
face, gut, and heart. Without it, music is
just a collection of dots on a page. Tone is
everything.
ALLMAN BROTHERS
“STATESBORO BLUES” (LIVE)
Anyone can get a good sound with a Les
Paul and a Marshall, but not many players
can drop jaws with that rig like Dickey
Betts and the late, great Duane Allman.
Their full, thick tones are right in your
face on this classic live cut from Allman
Brothers at Fillmore East, with Betts
fretting his riffs and Allman playing his
with a Coricidin bottle slide. Betts’ tone
is slightly cleaner than Allman’s—due, in
part, to his choice of 100-watt Marshalls
(Allman used a 50-watter)—and he
wrenches snarling rock tones from his Les
Paul that bark with dynamics and tension.
Allman’s tone is smooth, luscious, and
almost impossibly sweet.
Also check out: “Blue Sky” to hear how
well these two blended their great tones
for beautiful harmony lines.
ADRIAN BELEW
“THE GREAT CURVE”
Adrian Belew’s two solos on this Talking
Heads epic from Remain in Light are
some of his wildest guitar moments.
Characterized by a searing fuzz tone,
huge intervallic skips, and end-of-the-
world divebombs, Belew’s 6-string work
changed people’s views of how a guitar
could sound in a non-rock context. His
bag of tricks in the early ’80s included a
Fender Stratocaster, a Roland JC-120, and
an effects palette that featured a Foxx
Tone Machine, Electro-Harmonix Electric
Mistress, Graphic Fuzz, and Big Muff, and
an MXR Dyna Comp.
Also check out: The huge, clean Strat/
JC-120 chord tones on “Thela Hun Ginjeet”
from King Crimson’s Discipline.
RITCHIE BLACKMORE
“SMOKE ON THE WATER”
It’s tough to imagine double-stops ever
sounding as big as Ritchie Blackmore
made them sound on this anthem from
the 1972 Deep Purple album Machine
Head. Blackmore made rock history by
plugging his scalloped-fretboard Strat
(set to the neck pickup) into a 200-watt
Marshall and, rather than playing power
chords on the two low strings, used
blocked 4ths with the first diad comprised
of D and G. Does this tone sound so huge
because this is one of the coolest riffs of
all time? Or is this one of the coolest riffs
of all time because this tone is so damn
huge? Who cares?
Also check out: “Man on the Silver
Mountain” from 1975’s Ritchie Blackmore’s
Rainbow.
MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD
“ALBERT’S SHUFFLE”
Armed with a worn blonde Telecaster,
Michael Bloomfield burst onto the mid-
’60s rock scene as the hot-dog guitarist
for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. His
serrated tone and manic speed left folkies,
blues purists, and nascent flower-children
slack-jawed, and his wicked licks in “Mary,
Mary” and “Born in Chicago” sound as
ecstatic today as they did almost 40 years
ago. In 1968, Bloomfield joined organist
Al Kooper to record Super Session. The
album’s first cut, “Albert’s Shuffle,” is a
seven-minute blues-guitar masterpiece. In
it, Bloomfield throws down chorus after
PHOTOS: ALLMAN—AMALI E ROTHSCHI LD/STARFI LE; BLACKMORE—NEI L LOZOWER 10 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
october 2004
Michael Bloomfield’s
impact on the popularity
of the Les Paul is akin
to what Hendrix did for
the Strat.
chorus of penetrating, chromatic-laced
licks, using a PAF-equipped ’59 sunburst
Les Paul straight into a Fender Twin Reverb
or Super Reverb. This tune encapsulates
Bloomfield’s melodic swagger, microtonal
bending, expressive touch, and relentless
attack. —AE
Also check out: “East-West,” in which
Bloomfield lays down the first raga-
drenched rock guitar of the ’60s.
ROBBIE BLUNT
“BIG LOG”
When you’re filling the huge shoes of Mr.
Jimmy Page, you had better get a good
tone. So when Robbie Blunt got the gig
as Robert Plant’s first post-Zep guitarist,
he conjured the haunting, bell-like Strat
sound on this track from Plant’s solo
debut. Blunt used his ’56 Strat (which
sported a ’54 neck) and a Fender Princeton
Reverb to create the clanging single-note
lines, lazy bends, and double-stop stabs
that would become his trademark.
Also check out: “I’m in the Mood (for a
Melody)” for some incredible, Stratoriffic
clangitude.
TOMMY BOLIN
“QUADRANT 4”
When it comes to combining rock tone
and attitude with super-jazz chops, Tommy
Bolin’s playing on Billy Cobham’s 1973
album, Spectrum, doesn’t get nearly
enough love. While trading breakneck
licks with keyboardist Jan Hammer, Bolin
gets an absolutely killer tone that would
influence tons of guitarists—including Jeff
Beck. Bolin’s proto-fusion distorted sound
is plenty cool on its own, but things really
get freaky when he fiddles with the controls
on his Echoplex in real time for the earliest
known raygun effect.
Also check out: “Taurian Matador” from
Spectrum for mean funk tones and wild
whammy bar excursions.
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 11 PHOTO: MI CHAEL OCHS ARCHI VE
12 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
classic interview
(Left) Urban Cowboy—
The Edge in a rare Les
Paul kind of mood.
(Right) Kurt Cobain
sticks it to the man with
a Fender Jagstang.
ROY BUCHANAN
“SWEET DREAMS”
What many consider to be the ultimate
Telecaster tone, Roy Buchanan’s trademark
sound inspired Jeff Beck and Danny Gatton,
and prompted Seymour Duncan to start a
tone empire. What floored these guitarists
can be heard on this tune from Buchanan’s
’72 debut. Squealing harmonics, volume-
and tone-knob manipulations, and great
dynamics—all hallmarks of his style—are
here in abundance.
Also check out: “Filthy Teddy” from
Second Album.
LARRY CARLTON
“KID CHARLEMAGNE”
Whereas many studio guitarists tend to
stay in the background, Larry Carlton
exerts his personality so strongly on this
classic Steely Dan tune that he pretty
much assumes co-star status. Plugging his
tried-and-true tobacco sunburst Gibson
ES-335 into a cranked Fender Princeton
Reverb, Mr. 335 floored the guitar
community with his touch, phrasing, and
awesome tone. And, although his gear
choices would shift to include Dumble
and Boogie, this solo represents the
Carlton tone. In the words of his disciple,
Steve Lukather: “It’s all in his hands and
heart, man!”
Also check out: “Room 335.”
KURT COBAIN
“SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT”
The tone that launched a million angry
bands is actually four different tones, but
grunge’s theme song is best remembered
for Kurt Cobain’s four-chord distortion
fest. The humongous wall of 6-string angst
that slams in four bars into “Smells Like
Teen Spirit” sounds twice as heavy because
it’s preceded by the same riff played with
PHOTOS: EDGE & COBAI N—KEN SETTLE
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 13
october 2004
With all due respect, if you don’t know the
12 players profiled here get—and have always
gotten—amazing guitar tones, you need to
get out of the house more often.
AC/DC
Technically speaking, if you’ve got a Mel
Bay beginning chord book, a Gibson SG, a
Gretsch Jet Firebird, and a Marshall stack,
you should be able to do anything that Angus
and Malcolm Young have done. So, why can’t
you? Probably because you don’t possess the
huge balls, killer attack, and unrelenting rock
attitude these two Aussies have sported since
Day One. The tones are much cleaner than
you think, and much heavier than humanly
possible. For those about to be humbled, we
offer up “Sin City,” “It’s a Long Way to the
Top,” “Highway to Hell,” and “Back in Black.”
Damn.
ERIC CLAPTON
Who thinks Clapton gets a good tone? Beck,
Van Halen, Hendrix, SRV, and everyone else
on the planet. If this guy had never done
anything after the “Beano” album with John
Mayall (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton),
he would still be on this list. Take a listen
to “Double Crossing Time,” “White Room,”
“Badge,” “Key to Love,” and “Let It Rain” for
an inkling of what the man has given to the
guitar community.
JIMI HENDRIX
What can you say? This guy wrote the book
on everything. Just listen to “The Wind Cries
Mary,” “Voodoo Child,” “Machine Gun,”
“Castles Made of Sand,” and “Little Wing.”
Like Jeff Beck, Hendrix transcends tone, but
his tone kills.
TONY IOMMI
Not many guitarists can be credited
with creating an entire genre. That is no
overstatement when the guitarist in question
is Tony Iommi. When he terrified the world
with his heavier-than-thou tone on the first
Black Sabbath record, Iommi truly ushered in
a new world order, and heavy metal was born.
If you dare, turn out the lights and spin “Black
Sabbath,” “War Pigs,” “Sweet Leaf,” and “Iron
Man.” Whoa.
B.B. KING
B.B. King doesn’t play the blues—he is the
blues. His guitar tone—much like his singing—
is 100 percent genuine emotion. In King’s
hands, the guitar screams, whispers, laughs,
cries, and preaches, and that’s just the first
12 bars. Take a listen to Live at the Regal and
remind yourself why this man is a legend.
WES MONTGOMERY
One of the most widely imitated guitar
sounds of all time. Wes Montgomery, with his
smooth tone and even smoother technique,
set a standard for jazz guitar that has scarcely
been equaled. Brushing the strings with his
thumb as he played his effortless octaves,
Montgomery—like his inspiration Charlie
Christian—is a giant of clean, hollowbody
jazz tone. Spin “West Coast Blues,” “Blue
‘n’ Boogie,” “Cariba,” and “I’ve Grown
Accustomed to Her Face.”
JIMMY PAGE
Jimmy Page got so many cool tones with Led
Zeppelin it’s tough to know where to start.
He gave us some of the greatest Tele tones
ever on one of the best debuts ever, and
then proceeded to redefine what a Les Paul
(not to mention what a Danelectro, a Martin
acoustic, and a Theremin) could do. This guy
flat-out rules. Take another listen to “Good
Times, Bad Times,” “Kashmir,” “Thank You,”
“Heartbreaker,” and (as if I even have to
mention it) “Stairway to Heaven.” ’Nuff said.
KEITH RICHARDS
The coolest rhythm guitarist ever? Maybe.
Mr. Richards has such a handle on the
groove—pushing and pulling it to his every
whim—that he makes the rest of us sound
lame by comparison. Of course, he couldn’t
have accomplished this feat if his tone wasn’t
absolutely awesome. A Tele and a Fender
amp have never sounded quite as vital as
when Keef abused them. Hear the guy get
down on “Brown Sugar,” “Can’t You Hear
Me Knockin’,” “19th Nervous Breakdown,”
“Satisfaction,” and “Start Me Up.”
CARLOS SANTANA
If you can recognize a player after only a few
notes, that’s saying something. If you can
recognize a player with just one note, you’re
talking about Carlos Santana. Santana’s tone
isn’t his signature. It’s not his calling card.
His tone is his soul. Known for playing a PRS
through a Boogie, he would sound the same
playing an acoustic through a transistor radio.
Exhibits A-D: “Europa,” “Black Magic Woman,”
“Open Invitation,” and “All I Ever Wanted.”
THE EDGE
Ringing clean tones, tasteful harmonics,
and unbelievable timed delays—that’s what
listeners were treated to when U2 hit the
scene in the early ’80s. The guitarist playing
those amazing tones had a funny name—The
Edge—and he became the only guitar anti-
hero to turn into a true guitar hero. New
Wave guitar could not have existed without
him, and rock, pop, metal, and experimental
guitar would be a lot less interesting. Check
out “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” “Where the
Streets Have No Name,” “Pride (In the Name
Of Love),” and “Bullet the Blue Sky.”
EDWARD VAN HALEN
Like Jimi, this guy boldly went where no man
had gone before, and we’re not likely to see
another of his kind. Eddie Van Halen’s tone
was so good for so long we tend to take it for
granted—which is just not cool. Go back and
check out “Unchained,” “I’m the One,” “Mean
Street,” and “Women in Love” and then try to
name a 6-stringer with more sack.
STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN
This dude made the blues cool in the early
’80s—an unbelievable feat. He did it with a
massive, clangorous Strat tone that kicked
you in the stomach as it poured you another
beer. Best evidence: “Pride and Joy,” “Cold
Shot,” “Couldn’t Stand the Weather,” and
“Lenny.” —MB
STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN KEITH RICHARDS
THE “DUH”
DOZEN
PHOTOS: RI CHARDS—KEN SETTLE; VAUGHAN—RAY AMATI /RETNA
14 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
classic interview
DIMEBAG DARRELL
ROBERT FRIPP
what California kids would call a “hella
clean tone.” The massive distortion—
contrasted by the dreamy, chorused, two-
note verse figure—energized a generation,
and instantly taught legions of kids about
feedback, dynamics, and the glory of the
almighty power chord. Although famously
cagey about the gear he used, Cobain most
likely wreaked his sonic havoc on “Teen
Spirit” with a late-’60s Fender Mustang,
a Boss DS-1 Distortion, a Mesa/Boogie
Studio Preamp, and a Crown power amp
driving various Marshall 4x12s.
Also check out: “Heart Shaped Box”
from In Utero.
DICK DALE
“MISIRLOU”
On the subject of surf guitar, Dick Dale
once told GP, “People are going to have
to start giving Dick Dale his full deserved
credit, because Dick Dale is the one who
started this whole thing.” Hey—who
needs pronouns when you’ve got one
of the biggest Strat tones of all time?
“Misirlou” shows how much power can
be conjured with the bridge pickup of
a Strat (strung with beefy strings), a
Fender reverb unit, and a cranked Dual
Showman. Pick as fast as you can, let out
a war whoop, and have at it.
Also check out: “Pipeline” from the
Back to the Beach soundtrack, where Dale
throws down with Stevie Ray Vaughan.
DIMEBAG DARRELL
“REVOLUTION IS MY NAME”
It doesn’t get much heavier than this.
Dimebag Darrell takes a Dean ML, a
solid-state Randall amp, and a DigiTech
Whammy pedal, and crafts tones that
should be illegal. The shrieking intro is
a positively skull-frying metal moment,
and the chugging rhythm lines sound like
they’re going to disembowel you. Aggro-
rock at its absolute best.
Also check out: “I’m Broken” from Far
Beyond Driven.
DUANE EDDY
“PETER GUNN”
“Have twangy guitar, will travel.” That’s
what Duane Eddy told us four decades
ago. Have twangy guitar, will kick major
ass is more like it. The intro to 1960’s
“Peter Gunn Theme” alone is one of the
coolest tone moments in guitar history.
Tracked with Eddy’s Gretsch 6120 into a
100-watt Magnatone amp (that sported
a 15” JBL and a tweeter), the sound is
totally inspiring. A 2,000-gallon steel
water tank served as an echo chamber—
how cool is that? Eddy crammed more
vibe into one note on this tune than some
players achieve in a lifetime.
Also check out: “Rebel Rouser.” Eddy’s
first hit, this has all his tonal goodies, plus
tremolo. Yum!
ROBBEN FORD
“NOTHING’S CHANGED”
Although he’s best known for playing his
signature Fender guitar and a Dumble
amp, Robben Ford started out with a
rig that consisted of a Gibson Super
400 and a Fender Twin. It was during
that time—as a sideman with Jimmy
Witherspoon—that Ford laid down
some of his most fiery tones. The song
“Nothing’s Changed” is a stellar exam-
ple, featuring a round, sweet sound with
a raw edge. Ford is never without a great
tone, but early tracks like this one are
particularly refreshing.
Also check out: “Gibson Creek Shuffle”
from the Charles Ford Band’s debut.
ROBERT FRIPP
“21ST CENTURY SCHIZOID MAN”
Although Marshall and fuzztone-facilitated
distortion had been around for several
years, Fripp’s earth-scorching power chords
and ultra-saturated single-note sustain on
the opening track of King Crimson’s 1969
debut, In the Court of the Crimson King,
was unprecedented. Playing a three-pickup
’59 Les Paul Custom through a 100-watt
Marshall stack—with aid from a fuzz pedal
(most likely a Colorsound Tone Bender
or Burns Buzzaround)—Fripp’s searing
overtones and seemingly unlimited sustain
on the solo inspired legions of progressive
players. —BC
Also check out: The chord solo on
“Sailor’s Tale,” from Crimson’s 1971
album Islands.
PHOTOS: DI MEBAG—NEI L ZLOZOWER; FRI PP—JAY BLAKESBERG
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 15
october 2004
OFF THE MAP
JEFF BECK
Most everyone would agree that Jeff Beck’s
tone deserves to be listed as one of the 50
Greatest—but which tone? From his silky
slide work with the Tridents in 1963 to
the devilishly twisted sound spasms on
2003’s Jeff, Beck has consistently navigated
new and uncharted tonal waters, routinely
leaving other guitarists bobbing in his wake.
Markers tossed out along the way include
his Yardbirds-era Tele/AC30 with fuzz sizzle
(“Heart Full of Soul”), Les Paul/Marshall
Major with wah and Echoplex wailing (“I
Ain’t Superstitious”), liquidy-yet-punchy
Strat/Marshall variations (“Rice Pudding,”
“Goin’ Down,” “Got the Feeling”), spongey
Strat/Sunn squalks (“Superstition”),
Mahavishnu-inspired Les Paul/Marshall
blasts (“Air Blower”), biting-yet-sonorous
humbucker-loaded Tele lines (“Cause We’ve
Ended as Lovers”), snakey harmonic/
whammy manipulations (“Where Were You,”
“Nadia”), and flatulant Pro-Tooled splats
(“Plan B”). There are lots more examples,
of course, and that’s why Beck couldn’t be
contained in either of our other categories—
he’s in a class by himself. —BC
Even though
playing guitar is
not a competi-
tion, Jeff Beck
is better than
everyone.
PHOTO: BRI AN RASI C/REX
16 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
classic interview
JERRY GARCIA
“MAMA TRIED”
Before his Tiger guitar—and before his
envelope follower tone—Jerry Garcia was a
Strat cat. This Merle Haggard cover off the
Dead’s seminal 1971 double live album,
Grateful Dead (a.k.a. Skull and Roses), has
a clean ringing Stratocaster tone with a fat,
clear low end and more country twang to
the low strings than we would hear from
Garcia in later years. Take a listen and hear
what a gajillion Deadheads already know:
Jer’s tone rules.
Also check out: “Cumberland Blues”
from Europe ’72.
BILLY GIBBONS
“I THANK YOU”
Billy Gibbons always gets an amazing
tone—which makes it impossible to choose
just one. But the snarling solo sound to
this Women’s Lib anthem is as good a
choice as any. After the righteous chorused
intro and verse, the Rev. Willy G. throws
down with a grinding, overdriven single-
coil tone that is chock-full of emotion, grit,
and good old-fashioned Texas balls.
Also check out: “Brown Sugar” to hear
Mr. Gibbons and his trusty ’59 Les Paul,
Pearly Gates, at their fattest and baddest.
DAVID GILMOUR
“COMFORTABLY NUMB”
David Gilmour’s solos in this song off Pink
Floyd’s 1979 milestone, The Wall, represent
two of the all-time benchmarks for lead
guitar tone. The first break—2:05 into
the tune—features an achingly beautiful
opening phrase, with a throaty, singing
tone. Gilmour used his Strat/Hiwatt setup,
although, according to producer Bob Ezrin,
Yamaha rotating speakers also contributed
to the sound. Gilmour’s outro solo sports
the same gorgeous sustain but with a
(Left) David Gilmour gets
comfortable at a ’70s
Floyd show.
(Center) Sharp dressed
man—Billy Gibbons
unleashes some mean
slide licks.
(Right) A wistful Eric
Johnson asks, “Is it fair
to have tone
this good?”
PHOTO: GI LMOUR—JI LL FURMANOWSKY/LONDON FEATURES;
GI BBONS—ROBERT MATHEU/RETNA
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 17
october 2004
more aggressive attack. Gilmour claims he
comped this solo from five separate tracks,
but he’s so fluid you’d never know it.
Also check out: “Money” for awesome
tremolo chords and three distinct solos—
one doubled with a Beatles-approved ADT
(Automatic Double Tracking effect), one
bone dry, and one played on a 24-fret
Lewis guitar. It’s a gas.
PETER GREEN
“THE SUPER-NATURAL”
Replacing Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s
Bluesbreakers must have been a bitch,
but, in 1966, a 21-year-old Peter Green
won over skeptics to ultimately become
England’s greatest bluesman. Wielding
a ’59 sunburst Les Paul (now owned by
Gary Moore), Green made his debut on
the second Bluesbreakers album, A Hard
Road. With his shivering vibrato and
clean, cutting tones—which were often
drenched in reverb, à la Otis Rush—
Green quickly achieved guitar-hero status,
a position that made him profoundly
uncomfortable. “The Super-Natural”
features a series of 10-second sustained
notes. To this day, these haunting tones
define controlled feedback on a Les Paul.
—AE
Also check out: Green recorded several
live versions of “Jumping at Shadows” with
the original Fleetwood Mac. Available on
various compilations, they contain soulful,
nasal timbres that evoke early B.B. King.
JAMES HETFIELD
“SAD BUT TRUE”
Talk about heavy—Metallica’s James
Hetfield had already written a huge
chunk of the metal rulebook when he
cranked out this detuned masterpiece
in 1991. Simpler in form than most of
his jackhammer rhythm lines, the riff
to “Sad but True” has enough breathing
room to knock the wind right out of you.
Post-Master of Puppets Hetfield typically
employed ESP guitars and Mesa/Boogie
amps to get his unmistakable crunch.
Also check out: 1984’s “For Whom the
Bell Tolls.” So heavy it hurts.
ALLAN HOLDSWORTH
“THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND”
Like Eric Johnson, Allan Holdsworth
typically gets several unbelievable tones
in a song, and this offering from 1983’s
Road Games is no exception. His lead
tone—created by a Charvel and a solid-
state Hartley Thompson amp—is incred-
ibly good. It’s the volume-swell clean
tones that begin the tune that get the
nod here, however. Fading in his tendon-
destroying voicings with a volume pedal,
Holdsworth kicked every guitarist’s ass
with these unearthly timbres.
JAMES HETFIELD
ALLAN HOLDSWORTH
PHOTOS: JOHNSON—JOHN ATASHI AN; HOLDSWORTH—LUCI ANO VI TI /RETNA;
HETFI ELD—LARRY MARANO/LONDON FEATURES
18 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Also check out: “Stories to Tell” from
Stanley Clarke’s If This Bass Could Only
Talk.
ERIC JOHNSON
“CLIFFS OF DOVER”
Few guitarists are more closely associated
with tone than Eric Johnson. When he
did “Cliffs of Dover,” Johnson had a mon-
strous rig that consisted of two Fender
Twins (for clean sounds), a Dumble
Overdrive Special (for crunch tones), and
a 100-watt Marshall (for solos). The sus-
tainy, violin-like tone on this tune was
a product of Johnson’s mid-’50s Fender
Strat and a B.K. Butler-designed Tube
Driver into the Marshall. This sound does
the impossible, remaining clear and artic-
ulate despite being fiercely overdriven and
saturated.
Also check out: “Zap” to hear—among
other tones—Johnson’s incredible clean
sound.
ALBERT KING
“CROSSCUT SAW”
Possessing one of the meanest blues tones
ever, Albert King would help shape the
styles and sounds of Clapton, SRV, and a
bunch of other greats. He got his killing
tone with a Gibson Flying V and a solid-
state Acoustic amp. King tuned C, F, C, F,
A, D (low to high) and played left-handed
even though his guitars were strung righty.
On “Crosscut Saw,” King’s guitar cries,
sings, and screams. That ain’t no lie.
Also check out: “Born Under a Bad Sign.”

MARK KNOPFLER
“SULTANS OF SWING”
In the late ’60s and early ’70s, guitarists
such as Robbie Robertson, Eric Clapton,
and J.J. Cale exploited the dual-pickup
Strat tones first popularized by Buddy
Guy. But it was Mark Knopfler’s bridge-
and-middle-pickup tour de force “Sultans
of Swing” that truly seared that guitar
sound into the public consciousness. Cut
in 1978 with Knopfler’s fingers plucking a
Fender Strat plugged into a Fender Twin
Reverb and a Roland JC-120, “Sultans”
is the clean Strat tone by which all other
clean Strat tones are measured.
Also check out:
“Money for Nothin’”
where Knopfler does
his pick-less thing
on a distorted Les
Paul.
PAUL KOSSOFF
“ALL RIGHT NOW”
The snotty, stab-
bing cacophony of
Paul Kossoff ’s intro
rhythm on this Free
classic from 1970 is
a testament to the
primoridal violence
capable with the
Les Paul/ Marshall
combination. A big
part of the snap,
spittle, and bite was
due to Kossoff ’s
penchant for letting
open strings ring
inside his chords,
but you also can’t
discount his primi-
tive approach to the
guitar. The twist is
Kossoff ’s solo tone,
which is fat and
sexy, and characterized by an almost liquid
sustain and one of the most sensual vibra-
tos in rock. —MM
Also check out: The slinky, metallic
punctuations that cruise in and out of
“Wishing Well” from Heartbreaker.
SONNY LANDRETH
“SHOOTING FOR THE MOON”
Most slide players are content to lay a
glass or metal tube across their strings
and let it do the dirty work. But Sonny
Landreth adds fretted notes behind his
quivering Dunlop bottleneck to create
tones that swoop, snarl, and shimmer like
the mutant offspring of a fiddle, button
accordion, and wailing blues harp. Known
for mixing Cajun sounds with R&B, the
Louisiana native is both a successful
solo artist and a hot session and touring
guitarist. Landreth lays down the law on
a ’64 Gibson Firebird, a pair of late-’80s
Some say going shirt-
less ruins your tone.
Well, those folks have
obviously never heard of
Yngwie J. Malmsteen.
MARK KNOPFLER
PHOTOS: MALMSTEEN—NEI L ZLOZOWER; KNOPFLER—DAVE HOGAN/GETTY I MAGES
classic interview
october 2004
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20 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Fender Strats equipped with DiMarzio
Virtual Vintage pickups, and a Gibson Les
Paul Classic sporting a TransPerformance
motorized tuning system. Onstage,
he’ll wail through an early ’70s 50-watt
Marshall head and a beat-up Fender
Bandmaster cab loaded with Celestion
Vintage 30s, or switch between Matchless
DC-30 and Dumble Overdrive Special
heads driving a single Matchless 2x12 cab.
—AE
Also check out: In “Gone Pecan,”
Landreth creates swampy mojo by dropping
slide riffs over a pumping Zydeco beat.
YNGWIE MALMSTEEN
“BLACK STAR”
Yngwie Malmsteen plays so many damn
notes that people forget how good his tone
is. Time for a refresher course. On this
track from his smoking solo debut he lulls
us into a false sense of security with an
incredible clean Strat tone before stabbing
us in the Bach with his dirty tone for the
superhuman harmonized lines and solo.
This overdriven sound (Strat into DOD
250 Overdrive into many plexi Marshalls)
does it all—it’s sharp but never shrill, and,
at the same time, thick and rich without
ever getting muddy. Malmsteen inspired a
million guitarists to play a billion notes,
but none of them got as cool a sound.
Also check out: “Kree Nakorie” from
the first Alcatrazz record.
JOHNNY MARR
“HOW SOON IS NOW”
It’s hard to decide which guitar tone in this
1984 Smiths song is the coolest. You could
make a case for the recurring, moaning
slide part, or the freaky, whammied fills.
But neither of those tones can hang with
an intro that features a meaty, throbbing
tremolo that pulses in time with the
music—despite the fact that it’s backwards.
Marr flipped the tape reels and played
the part in reverse, so that on playback,
the listener is treated to one of the most
amazingly hypnotic guitar sounds ever.
Also check out: “Stop Me if You Think
You’ve Heard This One Before.”
HANK MARVIN
“APACHE”
As the lead guitarist for the Shadows, Hank
Marvin was a hero to budding guitarists
such as Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, and
Jimmy Page. A great example of Marvin’s
Strat-into-AC30 tone can be heard on their
early-’60s instrumental smash, “Apache.”
The echo-and-reverb-drenched sustained
lines, and the double-picked low-string
figures still sound inspiring today.
Also check out: “Kon Tiki.”
BRIAN MAY
“KILLER QUEEN”
One of the most singular stylists in guitar
history, May created one of his greatest
solos in this tune off 1974’s Sheer Heart
Attack. His unmistakable tone—produced
by his homemade Red Special guitar
plugged into a treble booster and a Vox
AC30—is dripping with midrange-heavy
sustain. The harmony guitars that lead
into the solo’s second half sound as if
they were tracked with May’s small, solid-
state Deacy amp. What’s unique about
the second half of the “Killer Queen” solo
is the fact there are three different guitar
JOHNNY MARR
Getting a good sound is
tough enough. But when
you do it with a home-
made guitar like Brian
May did, well, there’s a
special place in heaven
for you.
PHOTOS: MAY—NEAL PRESTON/CORBI S; MARR—EBET ROBERTS
classic interview
october 2004
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22 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
solos going on, starting and intersecting
at different points. It was May’s attempt
to get a cascading, “Mantovanti-type
of sound,” and it produces gorgeous,
unexpected counterpoint lines.
Also check out: “All Dead, All Dead”
from News of the World, where May layers
guitars into the stratosphere for one of his
best faux-orchestras ever.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
“MEETING OF THE SPIRITS”
The combination of blistering distortion
and clinically precise picking technique on
the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s first album,
The Inner Mounting Flame, resulted in
a tone that was simultaneously ultra-
compressed and razor sharp. McLaughlin
had previously experimented with some
nasty overdrive sounds, but, by pushing
a 100-watt Marshall Super Lead into
meltdown mode with Gibson EDS-1275
Double 12 and Les Paul Custom guitars,
he ignited the sonic fuse of fusion. —BC
Also check out: “My Foolish Heart,” from
McLaughlin’s 1978 Johnny McLaughlin
Electric Guitarist album.
PAT METHENY
“JAMES”
It’s all too easy to attach a stereotypical
label—like “smooth jazz”—to a song or a
player, and then dismiss them out of hand.
This Pat Metheny tune has undoubtedly
suffered from this tendency, but a listen to
“James” quickly reveals a unique, beautiful
tone. To get his signature sound—which,
at times, seems to have an almost trumpet-
like quality—Metheny played a Gibson
ES-175 into a solid-state Acoustic 134
amp. For the subtle chorus effect (which
he swears is not chorusing), he employed
two Lexicon Prime Time delays—one set
to 14ms and one to 26ms, with a slight
“pitch bend” on each. It adds up to a truly
original, instantly recognizable tone that
might be smooth, but it sure isn’t light.
Also check out: “Phase Dance.”
TOM MORELLO
“BULLS ON PARADE”
With a fairly limited collection of pedals,
Tom Morello can create an unlimited
amount of cool tones, and he showcases
several of them on this 1996 Rage Against
the Machine cut: a slamming octave intro,
some freaky wah work, and grinding
verse single-note lines. But Morello’s
greatest guitar sound occurs in the song’s
DJ-approved “solo,” where he turns the
tables on the turntablists with the wildest
Whammy pedal part ever.
Also check out: “Voice of the Voiceless,”
where Morello takes one note of feedback
PAT METHENY
The sonic
anarchist—
Tom Morello arms the
homeless with weird
guitar noises.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
PHOTOS: MORELLO—KEN SETTLE; METHENY—LUCI ANO VI TI /RETNA
classic interview
october 2004
© 2014 PRS Guitars / Photos by Marc Quigley
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24 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
and crafts an entire melody by manipulating
his Whammy Pedal’s pitch knob.
ROGER MCGUINN
“EIGHT MILES HIGH”
Roger McGuinn’s tone is so inextricably
linked to the Rickenbacker 12-string
that it’s almost impossible to play that
instrument without someone instantly
saying, “That sounds like the Byrds.”
Compared to McGuinn, the Beatles—and
everyone else—only dabbled with the
jingle jangle of the 12-string. McGuinn
would employ the Ric on many Byrds
hits, but on “Eight Miles High,” after
playing a very cool verse and chorus, he
positively strangles his Ric on the mind-
expanding solo.
Also check out: “So You Want to Be a
Rock & Roll Star.”
ROY NICHOLS
“WORKIN’ MAN BLUES” (LIVE)
For years, the debate raged—who played
the solo on Merle Haggard’s “Workin’ Man
Blues?” Was it session man extraordinaire
James Burton or Haggard’s personal twang
king Roy Nichols? Well, the amazing
studio version was indeed Burton, who
graced many Haggard sides in the ’60s.
But when the Hag hit the road, Nichols
was the man, buffing out Haggard’s
Strangers until his 1987 retirement.
Recorded live in 1969, Okie From
Muskogee finds the string-stretchin’
Nichols at his prime. Plugging his late
’60s Telecaster into a Fender Twin Reverb,
Nichols, for the most part, sticks to
Burton’s “Workin’” solo. But his snarling
twang—replete with a tough midrange—
takes it somewhere else entirely. Simply
put, this is honky-tonk tone 101. —DF
Also check out: The instrumental
“Blue Rock” from the same album to hear
Nichols get greasy with a killing low-
string opening riff.
LES PAUL
“LOVER”
When Les Paul unleashed the first
example of his “New Sound” in early 1948,
people were stunned. The layered guitars
on “Lover” were recorded by bouncing
between acetate discs, with some parts
playing back at double speed to create
glistening high-octave harmonies. Paul’s
characteristically warm-yet-bright clean
tone was produced using a prototype
solidbody, The Log, and he performed
the high parts on a modified Epiphone.
Both guitars featured his “secret”
pickups, and were played through a
tweed Fender combo, or directly into a
homemade mixer. Paul modified the basic
tones further by using tape delay and, he
claims, “phasing.” —BC
Also check out: “Tiger Rag,” where
Paul pulls out all the stops crafting tones
using percussive muted picking, sped-up
harmonies, and lots of tape delay. This is
also the first commercial recording made
using a prototype Les Paul gold top.
TREVOR RABIN
“OWNER OF A LONELY HEART”
The song that signaled the return of
Yes in the early ’80s features a zillion
amazing guitar tones: huge power chords
in the intro, chiming clean arpeggios
in the breakdown, and freaky acoustic
stabs, just to name a few. But the most
incredible tone—and the one for which
Trevor Rabin will forever be known—is
the wild, harmonized solo. Rabin plugged
a battered ’62 Strat into a 100-watt
Marshall miked with a pair of EV RE-20s.
He then sent the miked signal to an MXR
Pitch Transposer—set to a fifth—to get
the unique sound. The solo is mixed loud
enough to blow minds 20 years later.
Also check out: “Changes” from 90125
to hear Rabin get a great hollowbody tone
on a Gibson Barney Kessel model.
JOHNNY RAMONE
“BLITZKRIEG BOP”
“Loud and fast with no guitar solos”
is how Johnny Ramone described his
band’s approach to music. While true,
that description doesn’t do justice to
Johnny’s contribution to the power-
chording lexicon. Throughout his career,
Johnny employed a Mosrite Ventures II
model, a 100-watt Marshall stack, and
a gazillion downstrokes to achieve the
awesome blitzkrieg that inspired the Sex
Pistols, Green Day, and just about every
other punk outfit. Ramone was, by his
own admission, a one-trick pony. But
what a pony.
Also check out: Any riff he ever played.
ELLIOTT RANDALL
“REELING IN THE YEARS”
If placing out of the ordinary—even
downright nasty—tones on mainstream
radio were an Olympic event, Steely Dan
are jazz/rock’s version of Mark Spitz.
On their 1972 debut, Donald Fagen and
Walter Becker recruited a young New York
session cat named Elliott Randall for the
cut “Reeling in the Years.” Randall’s tone
is corpulent and singing with a touch of
fuzz, and he simply dazzles over a two-
chord vamp that still raises goosebumps.
“I used my 1963 Fender Stratocaster
set on the front pickup, which was a
1960’s Gibson PAF humbucker,” says
Randall. “I didn’t use any pedals at all,
I just turned the volume on my Ampeg
SVT all the way up. That was the sound,
and it was very, very loud. There was only
one mic used—an AKG C414—and we
recorded the whole performance in one
take. The moment was just so right. Now
and again you just hook into the musical
cosmos.” —DF
Also check out: “Sign in Stranger” from
Steely Dan’s The Royal Scam to hear Randall
work it with a more simmering, low-key
tone.
RANDY RHOADS
“FLYING HIGH AGAIN”
No one ever made as big an impact with
so few records as Randy Rhoads. What
we know of Rhoads is encapsulated on
two studio records (not counting two
forgettable Quiet Riot imports) and one
scorching live album. But in 1980, he
did the impossible. He became a bona
fide guitar hero—with a style and sound
all his own—in Van Halen-dominated
Southern California. Rhoads got a very
distinct, midrange-heavy tone on his
first record with Ozzy Osbourne, but
he truly crushed on this tune from their
sophomore collaboration. Thick but
articulate distortion and expert layering
classic interview
october 2004
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classic interview
created one of the heaviest rhythm tones
to date, and the triple-tracked solo tore
the heads off guitarists worldwide,
sending them back to the woodshed for
hours upon hours of practice. Although
he has inspired and influenced gaggles of
guitarists, no one has ever sounded like
this guy.
Also check out: “No Bone Movies” for
a bludgeoning, hammering rhythm intro
with an amazing solo.
NILE RODGERS
“LE FREAK”
With the tone he got on this 1978 smash,
Nile Rodgers proved that disco didn’t
suck—it rocked. Using a 1959 hardtail
Strat, Rodgers plugged into a Fender
Vibrolux—and also ran a direct line
into a Neve board—to create a sound he
described as “bright, but not brittle.” His
strong attack and impeccable right-hand
work make this tone jump right out at
you. Tres chic.
Also check out: “China Girl” from David
Bowie’s Let’s Dance for more of Rodgers’
clean-toned Stratocaster stylings. Oh yeah,
there’s another Strat dude on that song
named Stevie Ray who also gets a decent
tone.
MICK RONSON
“ZIGGY STARDUST”
You’d have to be dead for at least a decade
to not get a woody when Mick Ronson’s
nasty, wah-filtered intro to this glam
anthem hits your eardrums. Wielding a
Les Paul with a finish sanded down to
the natural wood, a Dunlop CryBaby,
and a 200-watt Marshall Major that he
nicknamed “The Pig,” Ronson channeled
his Byronic machismo through his heart
and fingers to craft snarls, wails, cries,
and low-end riffs packing a prizefighter’s
punch. It all got brutally noisy, but,
hey mate, if you can’t take it, check out
Gordon Lightfoot. —MM
Also check out: The blistering guitar intro
of “Angel No. 9” from Play Don’t Worry.
MICHAEL SCHENKER
“ROCK BOTTOM”
Using a black and white Gibson Flying V
into a half-cocked CryBaby wah feeding
a 50-watt plexi Marshall, UFO’s Michael
Schenker raised the hard rock bar for
chops, melody, and tone in the late ’70s.
Nowhere was his mid-heavy voice in
better form than on “Rock Bottom” from
the band’s live album, Strangers in the
Night. Schenker’s cutting rhythm tone
sets the stage for his amazing extended
solo, where he uses the wah to bring out
the best in every note. Never pumping
the wah in the conventional manner, he
continually finds the pedal’s sweet spots
to wring beautiful sustain and crisp
articulation from each phrase. For melodic
hard rock, Schenker is still in a class by
himself.
Also check out: “Born to Lose” from
1978’s Obsession for one of the best
studio examples of Schenker’s notched-
wah magic.
TOM SCHOLZ
“PEACE OF MIND”
Studio whiz Tom Scholz got his unique
guitar tone all over the radio in the late
’70s with a series of hits. Scholz’ guitar
sound was characterized by a penetrating
midrange, thick distortion, and amazing
sustain—all of which were in full force
on the smash “Peace of Mind.” To get his
tone, he would plug a Gibson Les Paul
into a homemade preamp that fed an
MXR 6-Band EQ and a wah pedal into a
100-watt Marshall Super Lead. He also
used a device of his own design called a
“doubler” to make his lead tone sound
bigger. (“It approximates the sound of an
overdub by adding a pitch change to the
time delay,” he told GP in Aug. 1977.)
Scholz would create sustain with the wah
in a fixed position, or with the EQ. Scholz
would later bring this tone to the masses
with his Rockman line of products.
Also check out: “More Than a Feeling”
for stellar acoustic sounds, as well as
classic Scholz electric tones.
ANDY SUMMERS
“MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE”
Andy Summers’ reputation as a texture
god can be justified with one listen to
this 1979 Police standard. His Telecaster
and Marshall sound edgy and urgent and
his always-tasteful use of effects lends an
ethereal quality to the sustained chords.
This is a tone that guitarists of all styles
have chased for years. It’s certainly one of
the finest tone moments—and Summers’
personal fave—in a career that was full
of them.
Also check out: “Synchronicity II,”
where Summers forgoes the pretty clean
sounds for post-apocalyptic squeals and
crashing power chords.
PETE TOWNSHEND
“I CAN’T EXPLAIN” (LIVE)
This is another guy who has crafted so
many mind-boggling tones it’s hard
to pick just one. Because he’s such a
master at tone layering in the studio, it’s
refreshing to hear him in an unadorned
live setting on the Who’s seminal concert
disc Live at Leeds. Townshend gets an
absolutely massive tone on “I Can’t
Explain” with his P-90-loaded SG and
Hiwatt rig. The intro power chords—
clean and plunky on the studio version—
rage with overdrive here. And both of
the solos are mean, nasty, and just plain
huge.
Also check out: “The Real Me” from
Quadrophenia to get a great taste of
Townshend’s slash-and-burn rhythm
style. You can hear the windmills.
ROBIN TROWER
“BRIDGE OF SIGHS”
Robin Trower’s tone on this 1974
track is spooky, mysterious, tough, and
cinematically mournful. In fact, it’s one
of those sounds that drifts so far above
technique and tonecraft that it should be
considered an emotion. Trower himself
told GP in July ’80, that “Bridge of Sighs”
was the “most soulful, most creative, and
most powerful piece of guitar playing
I’ve ever come up with.” It’s no secret
that Trower favored Strats and Marshalls
during the period this song was recorded,
but the rest of the recipe should simply
be detailed as magic. —MM
Also check out: The chunky funkfest
of “Too Rolling Stoned,” also from Bridge
of Sighs.
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LESLIE WEST
“MISSISSIPPI QUEEN”
Has a P-90 ever screamed with more
intensity? Mountain’s Leslie West
achieved an impossibly huge tone when
he cut “Mississippi Queen” in 1970.
Using a Les Paul Jr.—a guitar he once
referred to as “a piece of wood with a
microphone on it”—driving a Sunn
Coliseum P.A. head, West produced a
sound that stands up to this day. The
song’s power chords are massive, but
West somehow makes the catchy single-
note lines sound just as immense. His
strong attack and killer vibrato inspired
virtuosos such as Randy Rhoads and
Michael Schenker, but it was his guitar
tone that set the standard for warm,
thick overdrive—a tone that has been
cited by more rock guitar gods than you
can shake a stick at.
Also check out: “Baby Don’t You Do It”
from the reissued Who’s Next for more of
West’s Les Paul Jr.
JAMIE WEST-ORAM
“ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER”
To many guitarists, a crystal-clean, out-of-
phase Stratocaster smothered in chorus
and compression is as much a cliché of
the ’80s as Pac Man and leg warmers. But
the one guy who pulled off this sound
without sacrificing an ounce of punch,
girth, or clarity is the Fixx’s Jamie West-
Oram. The best example is his funky
track on the British band’s 1983 hit, “One
Thing Leads to Another”—an in-your-
face, three-string rhythm part inspired
by the playing of Nile Rodgers, David
Byrne, and various reggae guitarists. “It
was done in one take on an extremely
cheap Ibanez Blazer that had three single
coils, with the bridge and middle pickups
engaged,” says West-Oram, who achieved
a wonderfully squashed sound from
either an MXR Dyna Comp or a Valley
People Dyna-Mite limiter. (“I’m not sure
which I used, but the compression made
the guitar just spit out the chords.”) The
CHECK OUT THIS EDDIE VAN
HALEN ISOLATED TRACK.
massive stereo spread came from an MXR
Stereo Chorus, which split the signal
into two late-’70s Marshall JMP 2x12
combos—each of which was set clean,
and both close- and room-miked. —JG
Also check out: “Saved by Zero” for
clicky, clucky, compressed single-note
lines.

LINK WRAY
“RUMBLE”
You can argue about this until your hair
falls out and your skeleton starts poking
through your rotting flesh, but this is the
sound that drop-kicked rock and roll out
of its clean, punchy ’50s phase and laid
the foundation for metal, punk, and every
other genre that relies on feral noise to get
its point across. In 1958, Wray wrangled
a ’53 Les Paul and a Premier amp (with
holes punched into the combo’s two
10” speakers—the lone 15” was left
unmolested) to cut “Rumble” live in just
three takes. The resulting thug-ish energy
and ragged distortion changed rock and
roll forever, and every guitarist who plays
it tough should salute Link every time he
or she picks up a guitar. —MM
Also check out: The frightening single-
note stabs and feedback-splattered chords
of any live version of “Jack the Ripper.”
NEIL YOUNG
“CINNAMON GIRL”
Is this where dropped-D, detuned riffage
originated? Quite possibly. Did this riff
give birth to the grunge tones that would
follow 20 years later? Definitely. On
“Cinnamon Girl,” Neil Young sports a
deliciously grindy, swampy tone to play
an infectious progression that instantly
conjures images of sex, drugs, and rock
and roll. A Bigsby-equipped Les Paul and
a maxed-out Fender Deluxe are the likely
weapons of choice.
Also check out: “Hey Hey, My My (Into
the Black)” from Rust Never Sleeps. Dirty,
filthy, cool. g
classic interview
october 2004
CLASSIC INTERVIEW
from the October 2004 issue
of Guitar Player magazine
Performing on the front line with Guns N’ Roses requires legendary tone.
And when Richard Fortus needs extra firepower he calls on the V-Type,
a thrilling new 12" guitar speaker from Celestion, built on 90 years of
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Richard Fortus reloads with the V-Type
celestion.com Find out more
30 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
classic interview
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 31
march 1987
32 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
classic interview
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 33
march 1987
34 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
classic interview
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 35
march 1987
36 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
classic interview
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 37
march 1987
38 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
classic interview
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 39
march 1987
CLASSIC INTERVIEW
from the March 1987 issue
of Guitar Player magazine
STERN GOES ALL “UPSIDE DOWNSIDE” WITH
MICHAEL BRECKER IN 1987.
40 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
classic interview
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 41
march 1987
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42 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 43
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44 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
current issue
Here’s what’s in the August 2014 issue of Guitar Player, on Newsstands Now!
RIFFS
A Jazz Fest photo essay, creative capoing, and more!
COVER STORY
James Burton
The Telecaster Titan talks about playing with Elvis, Ricky, Emmylou, and many others, as well as
the best part about being a living legend, how he developed his style, and what he looks for in a
guitar. Bonus! Heavyweights like George Harrison, Joe Walsh, Brian Setzer, and Elvis Presley
reveal what they think of James Burton.
ARTISTS
Matt Scannell · Chris Stein · Sheryl Bailey · Stephan Thelen and Bernhard Wagner
LESSONS
Under Investigation
A thorough examination of a particular style or player. This month: Bach’s Bourrée in Bm.
Rhythm Workshop
Rhythmic Displacement Pt. 3 – Mo’ Hemiola
You’re Playing It Wrong
You might think you know how to play classic rifs like the theme to The Twilight Zone.
Here’s the absolute real deal.
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ChATTER
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Craig Anderton on Technology A N E W B A Y M E D I A P U B L I C A T I O N
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42 GUI TARPL AYE R. COM/AUGUST 2 01 4
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TEST DRI VE
Gear
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But as wonderful as all of this attention to quality is for guitarists, the
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August 2014 · Volume 48, Number 8
alfred.com/teach-yourself-rock
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GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 47
classic lesson
june 2003
RANDY RHOADS. THE MERE MENTION
of his name evokes humbleness, wizardry,
and grace. Rhoads changed the course
of heavy metal guitar with the lyrical,
classically influenced lead parts he wove
into the maniacal anthems on Ozzy
Osbourne’s first two albums. Sadly, those
albums— Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a
Madman—would be Rhoads’ only major
releases during his short lifetime. We can,
however, listen closely to Rhoads’ playing
on those records to get some insights
into his magnificent style, technique, and
creative process.
Five-Note Flash
If being able to transform something
quite ordinary into something spectacular
is a sign of great artist, than Rhoads—with
his transcendent use of the pentatonic
scale—qualifies for such an accolade.
Using the standard minor-pentatonic
scale in Ex. 1, Rhoads came up with several
exhilarating patterns. One was to descend
in triplets while repeating every third note
of the scale, as in Ex. 2. This—along with a
pull-off between the second and third note
of each triplet—helped Rhoads achieve an
intriguing delayed-echo sound.
Rhoads also found that a repeating
slur has a striking sound, as in Ex. 3a’s
sextuplets. Like an evolved version of
Jimmy Page’s trademark pentatonic
descent in Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times
Bad Times,” this lick employs six-note
groupings that feature a repeated pull-
off between the first two pitches. Don’t
forget to try an ascending version of this
phrase, such as Ex. 3b.
S O N I C S N A P S H O T
Randy Rhoads’
Burning Pentatonics
E minor
pentatonic scale
XII
Ex. 1
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12 12
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14
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15
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Ex. 2
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15 15 12 12 12
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14 14 14
12
12 12 12
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14
12 12 12
14 14 12 12
12 12 15
Ex. 3a
B Y K E N S T E I G E R
Strike Two
Rhoads also injected new mojo into
the pentatonic scale by striking each pitch
twice, while ascending with an alternate-
picking pattern. With a touch of palm-
muting for that metal-approved chug, try
Ex. 4, which is still an E minor pentatonic
riff, though it starts with the 3rd finger at
the 12th fret of the bottom string.
Repeat Offenders
Rhoads also had fun with chrom-
aticism. While Ex. 5 isn’t chromatic in
and of itself (the Bb being accepted as
the b5 “blues” note), Rhoads would loop
this type of move and shift it down a
half-step with each repeat, creating an
aggressive chromatic descent against the
background harmony.
Another slippery Rhoads-style
repeater is Ex. 6. Rhythmically speaking,
nailing the G eighth-note on each
downbeat is easy, but if you have any
trouble phrasing the subsequent E-D-E
triplet, try saying tri-puh-let aloud as
you play it.
Aeolian Nation
One way Rhoads introduced classical
flavors into hard rock was to solo using
modes common to the Baroque period
of Western composition. Though newer
generations of rock guitarists take this
approach for granted, it was radical at
the time. In particular, Rhoads helped
popularize the Aeolian mode. Also known
as the natural minor scale, Aeolian
includes the five-note pentatonic scale
within it. Starting on G, the 3 in E minor,
Ex. 7 illustrates how Rhoads would ascend
the scale in triplets. Placing three notes
on each string, he sometimes picked the
first note and hammered the next two for
a legato effect. He also practiced the scale
in different positions, as illustrated by the
upward jump in bar 2.
Rhoads Scholar
Rhoads didn’t live to see the legions
of guitarists who would touched by his
music. Analyzing his signature guitar
riffs will help you obtain some of his
skills, but an even better goal is to use
these examples to conjure new exercises.
This way, you’ll continue his legacy
rather than simply mimicking it.
Ken Steiger is the resident metal
instructor at G.I.T. in Los Angeles, California.
Check out his dangerous new instra-metal
album at projectsteiger.com. g
classic lesson
Rhoads with his first love—
a white Les Paul Custom.
48 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT PHOTO: RON SOBLO
june 2003
T
A
B


4
4
Em

3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3 5 7
3 5 7
5 7 4
5 7 4
5 7 9
5 7 9
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7 8 10




Ex. 7
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6
6
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12 14 14 14 12 12
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6

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12 15 12 15
12
15
12 15 12 15 15 17 17
Ex. 3b
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Ex. 5
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 49
T
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2
4

3 3
12
12 14 14
12
12 14 14
Ex. 6
RANDY BURNS THROUGH
SOME PENTATONICS IN HIS
“SUICIDE SOLUTION” SOLO.
50 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
classic lesson
PHOTOS: PI A PAULAMÄKI
B E G I N N E R
The Harvard Concise Dictionary of
Music defines arpeggio as “the notes
of a chord played one after another
instead of simultaneously.” It goes
on to detail strict rules for execut-
ing arpeggios (including note order
and rhythm) that as contemporary
guitarists, we can cheerfully ignore.
Arpeggio is Italian for “harp like,” so
in a nutshell, when playing arpeggios
we’re trying to emulate the rippling
sound of a harpist plucking chord
tones in succession.
Ex. 1 illustrates the process. Instead
of strumming Am/E and Bm11/F#
voicings, we step through them one
note at a time, while keeping a steady
eighth-note pulse. Though you could
attack each string with your thumb,
you get more dynamic control—
and ultimately much cleaner, faster
rhythms—by using a combination of
thumb (p), index (i), middle (m), and
ring (a) fingers.
Here, we show two picking-hand
fingerings for playing ascending ar-
peggios on the top four strings: p,
p, i, m and p, i, m, a. Start with the
former—a three-digit pattern. Once
you’ve mastered that, try the four-
digit approach. Pedal steel, banjo,
and folk and blues guitar players
traditionally use the thumb, index,
and middle fingers for picking, while
classical and flamenco guitarists also
include the ring finger in their pat-
terns. It’s good to master both tech-
niques, because each offers subtle
differences in tone and control.
Watch the accents—they mark
the start of each arpeggio—and use
a metronome to keep a rock-steady
tempo.
In Ex. 2, rather than play strictly
ascending arpeggios, we skip select-
ed strings and thus create a rising
and falling melody. For additional
pizzazz, we toss in a moving bass
line—first on the fifth string, then
on the sixth.
Notice the two chords in bar 2
(beats three and four). To play these
fast, single-beat arpeggios, simul-
taneously plant your thumb, index,
middle, and ring fingers on the des-
ignated strings, stiffen your hand,
and then use a slight twist from your
forearm to “peel” your grip from the
strings. It’s just like pulling off a
Band-Aid—but without the ouch.
Once you gain some confidence
with arpeggios, you’ll find them in-
dispensable for all styles of music. g
EZ STREET
How to Fingerpick Arpeggios
B Y A N D Y E L L I S
To pluck an arpeggio, suspend your relaxed wrist above the bridge and lightly rest your fingertips on the strings, with your thumb held out to the side of your
hand [left]. Keep your fingers close to the strings as you pick them [center]. For fast, strum-like arpeggios, simultaneously grip the designated strings and then
“peel” away your picking hand [right].
FYI SLASH CHORDS
Sheet music and songbooks often show chord
symbols that contain a slash mark. These “slash
chords” indicate particular voicings that are cru-
cial to the music. The chord name is at the left of
the slash mark; the second element—to the right
of the slash—indicates the lowest tone in the voic-
ing. Arrangers write slash chords when the lowest
note is not the chord’s root. For example, F/C speci-
fies an F triad with a C in the bass (to a bandmate,
you’d say “F over C”). Seeing an Em7/D, you’d know
to voice Em7 with its b7 (D) in the bass. —AE
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 51
october 1990
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EX. 1
EX. 2
52 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
sessions
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 53
truefre
54 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 55
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
the who
56 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
the who
Slickstraps
®
, Slick
®
Pickups and Slick
®
Guitars are distributed in North America exclusively by www.Guitarfetish.com
The journey
The road is long and hard, but worth the journey.
I’ve bought, owned and played them all.
THIS ONE’S MINE
Nothing fancy.
Great solid ash... My alnico pickups... Solid brass
hardware. Just enough finish to let the wood
breathe.
Buy one for the price of two or three fillups on the
Caddy...
You’ve never played anything this good for the
dough, and that’s why my name’s on it. y y
Slick Guitars
The Real Deal...
Slick
®
Aged Pickups Slickstraps
®
®
SL59 SL52 SL50 SL54
Earl Slick
New York
58 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 59
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
van halen
60 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 61
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
van halen
62 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 63
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
van halen
64 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
van halen
Combining advanced 24-bit, feld-proven performance, easy setup and clear, natural sound quality, our System 10 Stompbox
delivers the ultimate wireless experience. With the tap of a foot on the rugged, metal Stompbox receiver, guitarists can
toggle between dual ¼" balanced outputs or mute one output without affecting the other. And, since the System operates
in the 2.4 GHz range, it’s free from TV and DTV interference. You can also pair multiple UniPak
®
body-pack transmitters with
a single receiver to easily change guitars. So go ahead, give it a try – we think you’ll be foored.
SYSTEM STOMPBOX
DIGITAL 2.4 GHz HIGH-F IDELITY WIRELESS
WE’VE TAKEN
DIGITAL WIRELESS
TO THE NEXT LEVEL. . .
THE FLOOR
66 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
van halen
68 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 69
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
van halen
70 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 71
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
van halen
72 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
van halen
EXTRA
LESSONS
MORE GEAR
ENHANCED
SEARCHING
AWESOME
VIDEOS
ONLINE
STORE
EXCLUSIVE
BLOGS
REVIEWS
AND MORE
®
74 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 75
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
pantera
76 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 77
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
pantera
78 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 79
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
pantera
80 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
GUITAR PLAYER VAULT | August 2014 | 81
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
pantera
82 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
pantera
84 | August 2014 | GUITAR PLAYER VAULT
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
transcription
pantera
Cl i c k HERE to get Guitar Player.
Just $11.99 for the year!
Visit alfred.com/the-who
TITLES INCLUDE:
• Tommy, containing a color photograph section and
an article on the creation of the historic album.
• Quadrophenia, The Who’s second “rock opera” based
on the personalities of each band member.
• Guitar TAB Anthology, featuring transcriptions
of the best songs from The Who’s storied catalog.
• Easy Guitar TAB Anthology, with easy guitar
arrangements of The Who’s greatest hits.
• Uke ‘An Play The Who, featuring 14 classics arranged
for ukulele based on the guitar riffs and solos.
Click Here for a
FREE SAMPLE SONG!
New Guitar Songbooks