Music blog by Ruddy Adam.
In Honor of the Greatest Instrument Invention in Modern Music: the Electric Guitar
Note: This is the first of many articles we have planned to showcase the amazing electric guitar, and the very best musicians to play it.
What makes the electric guitar such a wonderful and powerful instrument? How did it change music?
Guitar maestros can make an infinite number of musical sounds with it. Yes, an infinite number of musical sounds can come out of an electric guitar. It’s sound can overpower almost any other instrument, and it can stand out even when it is played at the same decibel level as other instruments. That’s why it changed music.
Without the electric guitar the Blues would not be anything like it is today, and Rock & Roll would have been stuck in a log-line of lullabies. What would Ennio Morricone’s show pieces have been without that wicked guitar taking over at pertinent times in a film score?
The electric guitar has taken music to another realm, and guitar builders have kept improving it—to our pleasure.
As all of you know, we chose Gary Moore (1952–2011) as the greatest guitarist ever, because of his passion, his ability to play a vast variety of music, and his ability to entwine so many different types of music into his songs—putting his particular stamp on each one, ala Janis and Elvis.
Indeed, there are at least 200 guitarists who can come up with a theme for a piece and put in a solo that harmonizes with the theme; but they can’t entwine other musical types and make a piece their own. It has occurred once or twice, but not on a regular basis. Rarely do you see electric guitarists who can play solo for an entire show—and make it.
Richie Blackmore of “Deep Purple,” however, is a great guitarist, especially in the hard guitar realm, a field in which he is definitely our number one pick. Richie perfectly entwines Classical into songs, as well as some Blues. He in fact is the only strummer who stands close to Gary Moore in that respect, but most of our folks are not going to abide hard rock, though for those of you who can, his work (and “Deep Purple” itself) is not only worth a listen. It is choice for those who love power- and speed-strumming and –picking.
But it is rare this occurs among even the best strummers. We also chose a guitarist who could make the most harmonic sounds come out of his guitar. The winner there was, as previously mentioned, Jeff Beck, whom we’ll be showcasing here.
Over the years we’ve given you a lot of Gary Moore’s work. Here he is with one of the Kings of the Blues, Albert King (1923–1992). No kin to BB, when Albert was BB’s chauffer back in the early 1950s, he fell in love with BB’s guitar playing and singing.
Like BB, Albert was born Mississippi-cotton-field poor. These were also the lands where the Blues were born. He loved BB so much that he changed his name from Nelson to King, and went to work learning the electric guitar. In fact, he admired BB so much that he used to tell people that BB was his brother. You all know B’s reputation as one of the most easy-going musicians in music history; he never said nary word to the contrary. He named his guitar “Lucy”; BB’s was famously known as “Lucille.”
Therefore, in Albert’s guitar solos you certainly hear shadows of BB King, but in his vocals you often hear B coming right out of Albert’s soulful tones.
Although we’ll put some Albert King pieces out later and he is doing a duo with Moore here, just as he does in any duet, Moore’s talent and passion takes over. King does a little singing.
“Stormy Monday,” Gary Moore and Albert King (10:00) Live & Very Rare!
When Jeff Beck went solo after leaving the “Yardbirds,” he said this was his goal: “To give people sounds that no one else gives them.”
This he certainly does. For those of you who are not familiar with what he’s doing, just remember that those are not (for the most part) musical scale notes that he is playing. With his ear and the electric guitar Beck invented these sounds. That alone does not make them special—but the fact that they are so beautifully enticing does. No one does this better than Jeff Beck, and in fact very few even try it.
Watch Jeff work that vibrato stick; he’s the best at it—ever! By maneuvering that stick just under the strings, he can make non-scale musical sounds. Notice too that Jeff thumb-picks and -strums—no plastic pick for Mr. Beck. The drummer is a hotcake, too.
You may notice the young girl on the bass. She can’t quite get there yet, but notice that Beck is patient and covering for her when she gets behind. That is the sign of a master mentor!
“Jeff Beck Solo in Concert” Great Piece by Beck (5:30) Live & Raw & Rare!
“Cause We”ve Ended As Lovers,” Jeff Beck at the Crossroads Guitar Festival In Chicago, 2007 (4:25)
Beck can play anything, but like so many of us, he fell in love with the Blues in the 1960s. The master sound-maker at work.
“Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” is a Jazz piece from the 1950s. So here Beck starts with Jazz, then ends with the Blues, “Brush with the Blues,” which Tony Hymas wrote for Beck years ago, and was first on an old album of his.
“Goodbye Pork Pie Hat Melded with Brush With the Blues” (6:00) Live, Rare, & Raw!
“Women of Ireland,” Jeff Beck at the “Crossroads Guitar Festival” in Madison Square Garden NYC, on 4-13,2013 (4:25) Live & Raw!