Pentatonic Article 3 BB King

Mastering the Pentatonic Article 3 – BB King 6th and the BB Box

The Pentatonic Scale is the holy grail for guitarists. It’s easy to play and it sounds amazing.

This series will show you how to get the most out of our favourite scale, and how making small modifications will get you sounding like the pros and their signature sound.

Mastering the Pentatonic Article 3 BB King; 6th and the “BB Box”

In this article we will look at BB King’s unique note choice when soloing, and articulation techniques synonymous with the blues legend. Below is the A minor pentatonic scale.

Here are the notes and intervals of the scale:
A(root) C(m3) D(4) E(5) G(m7)

BB King 6th and the BB Box

Pentatonic Article 3 BB King

BB played these notes to great effect. But he also added different ones and incorporated them into an incredibly 
user-friendly “box” to solo over dominant blues progressions. It’s called the “BB Box” (see below).

BB Box

On the B & E strings, you can see familiar Minor Pentatonic notes (plus the 2nd). What gives this box the specific BB “flavour” is the use of the 6th on the G string, a note not found in the Minor Pentatonic. This box is also very versatile as you can play the Major 3rd as well with just a small half bend on fret 13. The blue note (b5) can also be added in between fret 10 and 12 on the E string.

This box will give you a brand new set of licks, as this formation of notes isn’t found in your usual pentatonic shapes.

On the right is a BB styled lick using the “BB Box” in A.

Article 3 - BB King

Articulation

BB had his own way of bending notes and using vibrato. His vibrato is incredibly fast and achieved by almost hanging your whole hand off the neck. BB would also make these huge leaps up to the tonic note of the key. These ideas are demonstrated below.

Pentatonic Article 3 BB King

Pedal Board Build

Build Log: Pedal board build 

Terry Relph-Knight copyright reserved.

The commission for this guitar effects pedal board build was to build a fairly compact, rugged and portable effects board based around effects pedals the client already owned and regularly used. Both the sequence of effects connections and the layout was to be optimised without the physical order limiting the connection order.  

A Pedaltrain Pro Junior was chosen for the base, being both light and strong and available with a tough nylon carry case. Nine volt power is provided by a small and economically priced switching supply, the Diago Powerstation. Rather than rely on plugging the mains power lead into the small two pin figure of eight connector on the side of the Diago, the mains lead from the Diago was wired to a standard 3 pin IEC connector, mounted on a bracket at the back of the Pedaltrain base. Nine volt power distribution is via a 6 way Diago daisy chain cable. For the original board layout with seven pedals the seventh power connection was provided by an extra cable that plugged in to the auxiliary power output on the back of the BOSS Chromatic Tuner. 

Build Log: Pedal board build

The pedals were attached to the Pedaltrain base using conventional hook and loop self adhesive Velcro with the hook tape fitted to the Pedaltrain and the loop tape to the pedals.

The only pedal modification was to the VOX Wah Wah. This pedal had been previously restored – cleaned, pedal polished, base re-painted and a new control pot fitted. For use on this pedal board it was fitted with an external 2.1mm power jack, having previously been battery only.

Pedal connection order

Pedal Board Build

Pedal Board Build

Right to left – Guitar in to ….

Crowther Audio Hot cake …………….. white to Tuner in

VOX Wah-wah ……………………….. green to Tremolo in

BOSS Chromatic Tuner TU-2 ………… blue to Compressor in

BOSS Compression Sustainer CS-2 ….. black to Wah in

BOSS Tremolo TR-2 …………………. yellow to Delay mono in

BOSS Digital Delay DD-6 …………… red from mono out to Reverb in

Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Nano Reverb …. to amp

Hot cake eventually replaced by BYOC Tube Screamer and Boost

Diago Powerstation 9V switching power supply

Pedal board components and costs

Pedaltrain Pro Junior frame & soft case                 £86.99

Diago Powerstation 9V switching power supply £61.88

9V power extension cable £05.50

Postage returning the faulty Powerstation £04.10

Patch cables £04.99

1 x IEC mains cable £05.00

IEC socket and custom mounting plate £03.90

Cable tie bases £05.00

£177.36

10/02/18 In for a clean up 

As received –

Guitar to Uber Scream Tuba

Tuba to BOSS Tuner

Tuner to Cali 76 compressor

Compressor to Viscous Vibe

Vibe to EP Booster

Booster to BOSS DD6 Delay

Delay to Holy Grail Reverb

Reverb to amp

Delivered with the VOX Wah to be restored to the board.

The Hot Cake is an always on buffer pedal. With the Hot Cake missing the pedal chain is no longer fed from a buffered signal. It seems the BOSS TU-2 may also have an always on buffer.

New connection order

Guitar to Tuner

BOSS Tuner to EP Booster

Booster to Uber Scream Tuba

Tuba to Cali 76 compressor

Compressor to Wah Wah

Wah Wah to Viscous Vibe

Vibe to BOSS DD6 Delay

Delay to Holy Grail Reverb

Reverb to amp

Fender Custom Shop 51 Nocaster Repair Log

Repair Log:  30th of July 2010 SN:NCxx Fender Custom Shop Limited Edition ‘51 Nocaster made by Fender in Corona USA

Guitar Repair. Hello and thank you for visiting our Guitar Repairs London page. Please feel free to check out some of our guitar repair logs below. We are meticulous with our guitar, amp & effects repairs and catalogue all our repairs. We produce a full range of Guitar Tech services to keep your instrument in perfect health including restrings, setups, electrical work and parts replacement. If you need anything relating to you guitar fixing please contact us here at London Guitar Repairs today to find the perfect solution for requirements. Our pro Guitar repairs and luthier services are by experienced Guitar Techs, we specialise in bespoke guitar and amp repairs including servicing, re-strings, setups, re-frets, refinishing, neck resets & vintage guitar repair. With over 30 years combined experience, our guitar techs have been trusted to work on the guitars of some of the most elite guitar players in the country and around the world.

Copyright reserved Terry Relph-Knight 01/10/17

Current value – Can be found on offer for £1,700. Purchased from Wunjo’s for £2,000.

Delivered with a rectangular cream and maroon Fender Custom Shop hard case, including a custom shop certificate and other documentation.

Strung 10 to 52 Ernie Ball STHB

 

Fender Custom Shop 51 Nocaster Repair Log

Fender Custom Shop 51 Nocaster Repair Log

Description – A Fender black guard Custom Shop replica of a 1951 ‘Nocaster’ Telecaster, reliced with all slot screws.

Body – Light swamp ash body in the traditional blond finish. Relic wear under the forearm and around the back edge. The black 5 hole pick guard does indeed appear to be made of a thin (0.0625 inch 1/16) sheet of un-bevelled phenolic material and the top surface is lacquered to make it look blacker and shinier. A small area below the top E string has been rubbed away to simulate playing wear.

Neck – One piece, fat soft V, maple neck with a walnut skunk stripe. Wear through on the lacquer up to the eight fret. 21 thin vintage frets. Headstock carries only the script Fender logo in silver with black outline,  Fender Custom Shop V logo on the reverse.

Repair Log Fender Custom Shop 51 Nocaster

Hardware – Kluson style tuners. A single round string tree next to the G tuner. Custom Alnico 3 Tele pickups (bridge pickup has flat magnets). Nickel plated folded thin sheet steel bridge with three brass barrel saddles, 4-40 height screws?. Through body stringing with flat ferrules. Four bolt, chrome plated steel neck plate stamped with the NC77 serial LIMITED EDITION and the Fender Custom Shop V logo. Standard Tele control plate with a three way switch and solid nickel plated brass flat top (slight edge radius) knurled knobs. All cloth wired. Tone and volume controls are modern CTS pots. Unfortunately these pots have no stress relief clip, the pot shaft slides in the collar and is only held in place by the locating post into the middle of the steel clip on cover.

This guitar as shipped from the Custom Shop was originally wired to the ‘51 Nocaster schematic with a 15K (wired between neck and middle on one half of the switch and an 0.05uF cap (wired from the other half of the switch – neck terminal – to ground). These components have been removed and the guitar re-wired to modern Tele wiring by a previous owner.

The original ‘51s had no variable tone control. The wiring offered –

Neck pickup with a set bassy sound (no variable tone control)

Neck pickup with no tone control at all

Both pickups with the second rotary control acting as a blend for the bridge.

The neck pickup has the North of the magnet poles up and the bridge has the South up. The pickups do seem to be arranged for hum cancellation in the middle position.

Centre saddle low E to middle 12 fret 327mm, 325mm high E. 257mm front edge of bridge to middle 12fret. Bridge plate is 3 3/8” long.

Problems – Brought in for noise (hum) and a loose output jack. Guitar occasionally produces loud crackles and hums. Seems related to the tone control.

Work done –

Tightened up the nuts on all the controls, on the switch and on the output jack. Dabbed on some clear nail varnish to help lock the output jack nut in place. Replaced one of the rusted ‘reliced’ pickup screws with a clean screw. Re-bent the cover tabs on the tone controls loose cover, shifted the output jack ground over to the back of the volume control where all the other circuit grounds are. Sleeved the long bare wire on the tone cap. Placed an M3 nut inside the Tone knob as a spacer to stop it scraping on the control plate. Replaced the missing switch tip with a barrel tip (the original barrel tip was included in the case, but the slot for the switch arm was so gouged out that it would no longer fit securely).

Having removed the strings in order to lift the bridge I removed the saddles, sanded them down to remove old string notches and soaked all the screws and springs in WD40 to remove dirt and rust. Also cleaned the bridge plate. With the saddles re-assembled and replaced on the bridge plate I set up the action and intonation.

Diagnostics – Loose output jack. Missing switch tip. Pot nuts are loose. Control plate screws loose.

A quick fret rocker test shows fret 8 is high in the middle and one or two other frets further down the neck are a touch high. Fret surfaces look as though they have been levelled fairly recently, but not re-crowned.

A continuity test showed that the bridge plate and strings weren’t connected to ground. Removing the strings and lifting the bridge plate revealed that the ground jumper between the pickup ground lead tag and its elevator plate was intact. It turns out that all three reliced bridge pickup screws were so rusty they no longer made an electrical connection between the pickup elevator plate and the bridge.

Input jack tip contact seems slack, jacks don’t make a positive insertion. Ground lead from tone cap (cap added by previous owner when the guitar was re-wired to modern wiring) is not sleeved and runs over the top of the volume wiper where it could short out.

The tone control seems loose and repeatedly rotating it fully anti-clockwise often produces loud crackles and hums. Looking closely the steel back cover is loose on its four folding tabs. Ridiculously, the only ground return for the output jack is through a black cloth covered wire that is soldered to the back of this cover. With the tabs to the cover being loose the output jack ground has only a very sketchy and intermittent connection to the guitars circuit ground. Perhaps the 1950’s pots had more reliable connection to ground from the cover, the pots in this guitar are of course modern CTS pots. CTS do seem to have changed to using a thinner, softer steel for the pot casing and the fixing tabs are quite easily loosened through down pressure on the pot shaft.

Along with the bad ground connection to the bridge plate the grounding scheme seems very poor. Fender may have been intending to exactly copy a ‘51 Nocaster, (the Fender shop wiring drawings do show this as how the ground was wired) but in the process they seem to have done some really daft things.

Screws – American guitars have either 4-40 or 6-32 saddle height adjustment screws. The first number indicates diameter and larger numbers greater diameter. The second number indicates thread count – 40 is more per inch than 32.

4-40 is 0.112 inch clearance

6-32 is 0.138 inch clearance

4-40 are smaller screws found in Strat saddles.

So 6-32 is the larger size found in the early Tele 3 saddle bridges.

My DeTemple titanium 3 saddle Tele set has ½ inch long screws in the centre and 3/8 long on the two outside saddles. My Rutters is 3/8 and 5/16.

Bridges like the Wilkinson are metric and use M3 screws. They seem to be all 10mm long.

Parts

Black barrel switch tip.

Further work – 20/12/17

The original slot head saddle grub screws stick up and are sharp and uncomfortable under the palm of the right hand. I replaced the original screws (six 7/16” long 6-32 slot head) with two stainless steel 1/4” long 6-32 hex head screws for the high and low E strings and four stainless steel 3/8” long 6-32 hex head screws for the other four strings (1/16” hex key for adjustment).

Mastering the Pentatonic Carlos Santana

Article 2 – Carlos Santana – blend Dorian

The Pentatonic Scale is the holy grail for guitarists. It’s easy to play and it sounds amazing. This series will show you how to get the most out of our favourite scale, and how making small modifications will get you sounding like the pros and their signature sound.

Mastering the Pentatonic Article 2 - Carlos Santana; blend Dorian

In this article we will look at how Carlos Santana adds two notes to the pentatonic to create the latin-blues mix he is known for. Below is the A minor pentatonic scale.

Mastering the Pentatonic Carlos Santana
A minor pentatonic scale

A minor pentatonic scale

The two notes we need to add are the 2nd (B) and a major 6th (F#). Our scale now looks like this (see right).

the Dorian mode

the Dorian mode

These new notes create semitones within our pentatonic scale. This interval is key in sounding like Santana. If you were to add these two notes in both octaves of the pentatonic you would now be playing the Dorian mode, but more on that later!

We will now look at song examples where Santana strides between the pentatonic and Dorian:

Oye Como Va” Intro melody:

The song is in the key of A minor, hence our use of a minor scale. The melody ascends, making full use of the 2nd (B), before falling back to the tonic note. Syncopated (off-beat) notes also give this lick a latin flavour.

Oye Como Va

“Oye Como Va” Main melody:

Here Santana uses the 6th (F#) on the 7th fret of the B string. He mixes this dorian lick with a classic blues motif in the second bar.

OYE COMO VA MAIN MELODY

“Evil Ways” Solo: (transposed to Am)

A quintessential Satana lick; starting on the “and” of beat 1 gives the lick a real syncopated feel. The first bar is strict Dorian, followed by a classic blues lick in bar 2.

Evil Ways Solo

“Samba Pa Ti” Main melody:

One of Santana’s most famous instrumentals. The following three licks are all taken from the opening section. Here we introduce a new Santana technique of grace notes. These quick notes add another latin flavour. Lick 1 is the opening melody, lick 2 its response, and lick 3 is a turnaround used to get back to chord I.

“Samba Pa Ti” Main melody

Article 2 – Santana

Fender Pro Junior valve amplifier Repair Log

Repair Log – 1996 Fender Pro Junior valve amplifier

Terry Relph-Knight copyright reserved.

The Pro Junior is a 15W combo amplifier with two 12AX7 dual triode valves and a pair of EL84’s in push pull for the output. The power transformer is rated for 230V and a solid state rectifier produces around +319V for the B+. Note – check if this particular amp has an export transformer with adjustable input taps. Checked and it does, but only for 110V and 230V.

The semi-open back cabinet on this amp is of particle board covered in much worn lacquered tweed. A 10 inch 8 ohm loudspeaker is mounted on a ‘floating’ baffle board with a brown synthetic grille cloth with horizontal baize highlights. Top mounted controls on a chrome plated steel panel with white silk-screen legends –  Input jack, volume, tone, power indicator and power toggle switch.

Fender Pro Junior valve amplifier

Fender Pro Junior valve amplifier

Various problems – Crackling and chronic instability. Also distorted output. Broken handle, and later on a ripped out input jack.

Fender Pro Junior

Work done – When first seen I simply replaced the blown Fender branded 10 inch loudspeaker with a new Eminence Legend 125 and cleaned all the valve bases with contact cleaner. The crackling problems seem associated with the old phenolic bases being fried by the output tubes idling at high dissipation. Later replaced all 4 mini Noval valve bases with ceramic bases and installed an output tube bias adjustment. Set bias to  2.7V (for that particular set of output valves) across one half of the output transformer. 

The ripped out PCB mounting input jack was replaced with a floating nylon jack connected via two short wires to the PCB.

At some point the output tubes were replaced with a matched pair of JJ’s and a new handle was fitted.

Parts –

4 x ceramic mini Noval valve bases – £ 13.44

1 x 50K preset – £ 1.64

Stripboard and wire – £ 2

Parts total – £ 17.08

Later on – A problem with almost no output. Turned out the phase splitter DC balance was completely out of wack. One triode was hard on the other off. This problem was extremely difficult to diagnose. It was eventually found to have been due to leakage currents through dirt on the PCB surface. Cleaned the PCB with isopropyl alcohol and the phase splitter returned to proper D.C. balance.

July 2017 – Latest problem – the amp squeals when flat out. First 12AX7 is microphonic. Swapping the first valve with the second cures the problem. However one of the set of JJ EL84 output tubes is running hot – the red silk screen logo on the valve is burnt brown (and the heater filament flares bright yellow at the pin connection when the amp is turned on !!!!). 

Work done – Replaced all the valves with new Electro Harmonix valves.

Continued …….

Diagnostics – 

Mains voltage setting check – The amp appears to be set to 230V and this is the highest primary voltage available. 

As wired 110V230V

Blk/Blu S1B S1B S1B Power Neutral, trans to switch

Black from switch CP4

Blk CP5 CP10 CP6

N/C CP6

Blk/Red CP7 CP7 CP7

N/C CP8

Blk/Grn CP9 CP9 CP9

Blk/Yel CP10 CP8 CP10

Blk/Wht CP11 CP5 CP11 Fuse SW and Power Live

CP5 connects to CP6 on the PCB and both go to the fuse and eventually mains power Live. CP7 connects to CP8 on the PCB, CP11 is an isolated connection parking point on the PCB.

The transformer windings are; BLK/BLU one end of the thermal protection, BLK/RED the other end of the thermal protection and the end of the tapped winding, BLK/WHT is the tap, BLK/GRN is the start of the tapped winding, BLK/YEL is the end of the second winding and BLK is the start of the second winding.

 

Fender schematics aren’t available at – https://support.fender.com/hc/en-us/articles/212774686-Fender-Guitar-and-Bass-Amplifier-Owner-s-Manuals-and-Schematics-Hard-Copy-Archives

You have to ask for them!!

With a complete new set of Electro-Harmonix valves fitted and before any re-biasing, measured B+ 340.8V, red to blue 94.7 ohms 3.6V, red to brown 96.7 ohms 3.13V. Primary currents are 3.6/94.7 = 

0.038014784 amps and 3.13/96.7 = 0.032368149. So idle power is 12.818585165 Watts and 10.930723917 Watts. Maximum idle dissipation rating for the EL84 is 12Watts, so before re-biasing right on the dissipation limit for these valves.

Re-biased to 2.2V red to blue we get 2.2/94.7 =  0.023231257Amps or 7.866103485 Watts.

Output power test into an 8 ohm (5%) resistive load. 34V peak to peak @ 1000Hz = 18.0625 Watts

Temperatures of the output pair at 23 degrees ambient, left 130 and right 165 centigrade (viewed from the back of the amplifier). 

07/07/17 Ordered a complete set of Electro-Harmonix brand valves

EHX-12AX7-FT 2 £23.00

EHX-EL84-Pair 1 £25.00

   Subtotal £48.00

Shipping & Handling £4.25

Grand Total (Excl.Tax) £43.54

Tax £8.71

Grand Total (Incl.Tax) £52.25

The slammed stop bar myth and movement in Tune-O-Matic bridges

The slammed stop bar myth and movement in Tune-O-Matic bridges

by Terry Relph-Knight 27/02/18, copyright retained

This idea, that a screwed down stop tailpiece transfers vibration to the body and provides more sustain is an evil meme. It is perhaps something that some guitar journalist, who didn’t understand physics, wrote in some popular guitar magazine years ago and has been repeated mindlessly ever since.

 

For a start it is a contradiction – if the screwed down stop bar did provide a better mechanical coupling to the body then more of the string vibration would be adsorbed by the body resulting in LESS sustain. For sustain you want as much of your picking energy to remain in the string as long as possible. Bolting down the stop bar (and the bridge) reduces movement and lossy vibration in the components directly connected to the strings and that is why sustain may be affected. 

Tune-O-Matic

Tune-O-Matic

Secondly the standard stop bar is not designed to be locked down. The design of the slots in the bar and the collars on the fixing bolts means that the stop bar is more or less equally coupled to the body no matter what height it is set at. To be able to couple the stop bar rigidly to the body you would need to use bolts without collars.

All the Gibson guitars that use a stop bar and an Advanced Bridge 1 or a ‘Nashville’ bridge (should probably be known as an ABR-2) derive from a guitar design using a trapeze tail piece. The stop bar, with its collared bolts, is actually designed to allow the string ends to be raised to approximately where they would be if a trapeze tailpiece was used, otherwise why would those bolts have collars?

The slammed stop bar myth and movement in Tune-O-Matic bridges

The slammed stop bar myth and movement in Tune-O-Matic bridges

If the stop bar is set as low to the body as it will go, over time there is so much pressure on the Tune-O-Matic bridges that they gradually start to collapse and bend in the middle.

Some guitarists recommend ‘top wrapping’ the strings, fitting the strings with the ball ends on the bridge side of the stop bar and then folding them back over the top of the bar. This method of installing the strings to the stop bar does allow the stop bar to be screwed down, while still providing a shallow break angle for the strings behind the bridge saddles. However, if the standard collared bolts are used, this method still does not lock the stop bar firmly to the body of the guitar and many people do not like the rough feel of the strings over the top of the stop bar, which over time will get scratched and grooved by the top wrapped strings.

   

So why top wrap, when you can use stop bar bolts without collars, fit spacers under the stop bar, and both lock the stop bar firmly in place and set it at the height it was always intended to be, which by the way reduces tuning problems by minimising string friction over the bridge saddles and doesn’t collapse the bridge.

If you are interested in this sort of stabilisation modification for your stop bar equipped guitar then please contact me via terry.relph@gmail.com or through an enquiry to the London Guitar Academy.

Slop in the Gibson style Tune-O-Matic ABR-1 and Nashville bridges

Like the standard Gibson style stop bar the Tune-O-Matic bridges rely on string tension for their mechanical stability and often have a degree of movement. The holes in the bridge have to be larger than the diameter of the support posts and the screw posts on the Nashville model are often not a tight fit in the threaded inserts into the top of the guitar.

Epiphone are to be applauded in their efforts in addressing this problem. Their solution, called  ‘LockTone’, involves fitting small stainless steel leaf springs in the bridge holes and in the slots of the stop bar. This solution does not firmly lock the bridge or the stop bar in place, but even so Epiphone have published test results that they claim show improvements in sustain  http://www.epiphone.com/News/Features/News/2011/Understanding-The-Epiphone-LockTone-Stopbar-Tune-o.aspx.

There are other solutions, from for example TonePros http://www.tonepros.com/ that will mechanically lock the bridge in place, improving sustain, tone and tuning stability.

The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones London Stadium 22nd May 2018

As a 25 year old, I was quite astounded when Sir Mick told me how he and the boys started “at the Marque Club in 1962”. That’s 56 years ago. My lifetime,doubled, and then some.

And it really was an evening of numbers. 6 decades of shows, 300 birthdays, 2 hours of hits, and 65000 fans, whose age gap was as large as the bands repertoire. They really are, in the words of Liam Gallagher (The Stones’ very well received support act), the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll stars.

Starting early, they jumped straight into “Street Fighting Man” and within seconds, everything seemed so familiar. Every movement, mannerism and sound from each individual synonymous with popular music history.
15 songs later, the show really built to a crescendo. The final sprint of “Start Me Up”, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Brown Sugar”, before an encore of “Gimme Shelter” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was live music at its very best.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones

As a guitarist, did I worry if the boys could still play? Of course. However, not only did Keith’s bluesy noodling soon put me at ease, but something else became clear. The sheer gravitas of the band I was lucky enough to be stood in front of would outweigh any technical difficulties these 70 year olds now face.

They had a great contingency plan too. Flanked with talented session musicians, led by Chuck Leavell (The Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, David Gilmour, John Mayer), The Stones could relax and enjoy themselves, and it showed in their performance. Special mention to Sasha Alan who sang the legendary top line in “Gimme Shelter” perfectly.

The Rolling Stones London

One thing that needed no back up was Sir Mick Jagger’s showmanship. It was a full course of dancing, clapping, “YEH”-ing and hosting. The original and ultimate frontman.

With Gibson going bankrupt last week, and the absence of guitars in the charts, it’s easy to hop on the “guitar is dead” train. However last night fills me with confidence. At every turn you saw air guitars from young and old, teenage girls with Keith Richards lighting up their iPhone backgrounds, and Ronnie’s guitar solos awarded the loudest cheer. It may only be Rock ’n’ Roll, but a lot of people still like it.

Rolling Stones

Indie = Psychedelia

Indie = Psychedelia in 2018

by Peter Marchant

In 2014 I was introduced to my friend’s new boyfriend who was a massive fan of ‘psych’ music, especially one band in particular: ‘The Brian Jonestown Massacre’. I had played guitar in ‘indie’ and ‘pop’ bands for my entire performing life and yet I somehow managed to miss this strange term. However, four years on and I am now fronting an outfit that I can categorically say is a ‘psych’ band (short for Psychedelic Rock or Pop by the way).
It turns out that this was a genre that I had been into for years without even realising it. The Beatles, Oasis, Kasabian, MGMT…these were all bands that I loved and simply considered to be Rock or Indie bands. My new friend encouraged me to delve deeper into his Spotify playlist and into the fuzzed out, reverby world of psychedelic rock.
2018 is a crucial time for this ‘macro-genre’ (as I call it) as we are seeing more bands than ever who would have previously been considered all-out indie now playing very ‘spacey’ and ethereal sounding music, strongly influenced by artists of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Indie = Psychedelia

Indie = Psychedelia

A perfect example of this is Arctic Monkeys, whose album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino’ was released on the day I wrote this. As a guitarist, one of the first things that you notice when the needle drops on this record is that there is hardly any guitar…or so it seems. The guitar is used, but sparingly. When there is guitar it’s never a conventional crunchy, twangy Fender Stratocaster sound that is so closely associated with their first two albums. For example, towards the end of the first track ‘Star Treatment’ a guitar part (finally) comes in, which acts like a call and response with the ‘Beach Boys sounding, palm muted, melodic and guitar-like’ bassline. The effect on this guitar part is more accurately described as a subtle ‘fuzz’ sound more than a crunch or distortion, with a clipping characteristic that is typical of tape saturation. Even the chord progression in this section of the song is classic psychedelia. The chord progression Cm to F repeating is reminiscent of that used in Pink Floyd’s ‘Great Gig in the Sky’ when that famous vocal solo kicks in (the chords being Gm to C repeating). A far cry from their days of playing ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ in 2006. See what spaced out inspiration lies in the more recent music of those indie bands of days gone by.
Other examples: The Coral – ‘Sweet Release’, Foals – ‘What Went Down’, Gaz Coombes (formerly of Supergrass) – ‘Walk The Walk’, Phantom Isle – ‘Focus’ (my band!)

Indie = Psychedelia in 2018

Learn to solo like Angus Young

Learn to solo like… Angus Young (AC/DC)

PART 1 / 4 : Minor and major pentatonic scales

One of the key components in the music of AC/DC are the instantly recognizable, crazy guitar solos. Angus Young has got a few tricks he will constantly use to achieve this classic hard rock sound.

In part 1, we will look at the kind of scales Angus uses to improvise and write solos.

The most common scale used in rock (and in many more styles of music) is the minor pentatonic scale, which you probably already know. In many songs, Angus would often switch between the minor pentatonic and the major pentatonic, often at regular intervals (half a bar in major, half a bar in minor for example)

Let’s have a look at this lick using the G major and minor scales:

How to Solo like Angus Young

Learn to solo like... Angus Young (AC/DC)

Learn to solo like… Angus Young (AC/DC)

Now, let’s highlight the notes from the major pentatonic in pink and the notes from the minor pentatonic in blue:

Learn to solo like Angus Young

To create licks following this kind of logic, we can take 2 pentatonic scales, one major and one minor, in the same area of the neck, and improvising using notes from either the major or the minor pentatonic. Here are the 2 positions the example above uses:

 

How to Solo like Angus Young

How to Solo like Angus Young

How To Play Lead Guitar Like Angus Young

Learn to solo like… Angus Young (AC/DC)

G major Pentatonic

G major Pentatonic

Guitar Lessons Acton West London

Guitar Lessons in Acton London

Guitar Lessons Acton fun, enthusiastic instructor will help you play your favourite songs sooner than you thought possible! Lessons are designed around the goals of the students. Your ambitions become our ambitions.

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Tuition and lessons in Acton, London Guitar-Lessons-Acton-London

Tuition and lessons in Acton, London Guitar-Lessons-Acton-London

London Guitar Academy offer private guitar lessons to students of all ages and skill levels in a fun and patient environment. Whether you’re picking up a guitar for the first time or you’ve been playing for a while and are looking to break out of a rut, I can help.Helping students achieve what they are most enthusiastic about is what is most rewarding to LGA.

Guitar Lessons in Acton West London

Guitar Lessons Acton, London

Guitar Lessons Acton, London

Tuition and lessons in Acton, London

GUITAR LESSONS IN ACTON, WEST LONDON

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London Guitar Academy

The London Guitar Academy is London’s only dedicated Rock Pop and Blues guitar school specialising in one to one guitar tuition in either electric or acoustic guitar.

Each lesson is tailored to suit each students individual taste and ability; offering a fresh and innovative approach to learning the guitar.

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