26 November 2020

Another week with no gig news to report, and with out local area moving into tier 4, we’re pretty much locked down again.

Too keep myself sane, relatively speaking, I decided to tackle some Scottish pop from 2007 for this week’s Lockdown Lead Guitar; it’s my take on the solo from Wet Wet Wet’s ‘Too Many People’, originally played by the awesome Graeme Duffin – and his recent solo album is well worth a listen if you’re looking for something less poppy and beautifully executed.

The backing was sequenced in Pro Tools, and all the guitar parts were direct recorded with a Line 6 POD Pro.

18 November 2020

Lockdown Lead Guitar episode #27 is on YouTube, this one was inspired by a student asking about the song, so it felt like a little self indulgent improv was in order.

The original version of the song from JJ Cale dates back to 1975, with the Clapton version appearing 2 years later. The version of the song I know best is from the ‘One More Car One, More Rider’ live album released in 2002. While I like the choice of material on the album, my feeling has always been that Clapton’s playing lacked some of the fire and energy that was apparent in his playing in the late 80s and through the 90s – I’m thinking specifically of the 24 Nights album and the first Crossroads concert at Madison Square Garden where his playing was, in my opinion, outstanding.

Love him or loathe him, and I know people that go both ways, Clapton’s playing has been a massive influence on a generation of guitar players, and that can’t be a bad thing.

10 November 2020

No gig updates to share just at the moment, however there appears to have been some progress on a Covid vaccine, so just maybe thing will start to improve, with that in mind, yesterday I recorded the next installment of Lockdown Lead Guitar

This time I’ve gone right back to the start of the Speedtrap set list from 2002; while it wasn’t the first song we played live (that was Radio Gaga), this was probably the first on we played as a group and is still in the set list when we get together for our annual reunion gig – currently booked for December 26th, but we’re unsure if it’ll actually happen this year.

2 November 2020

I noticed last week that it’s been a while since I last uploaded a Lockdown Lead Guitar video to YouTube, I’d been listening to the recent Queen + Adam Lambert live album, so chose a song from that.

This solo features a technique that Dr May often uses where he’ll play a note, then fret the note one semitone below and bend it back up to the previous note.

7 October 2020 – R.I.P. Eddie Van Halen

It was late yesterday evening while I was watching an old Star Trek movie (Why does god need a starship anyway?), I glanced at my phone and a guitar playing friend (and massive VH fan) had posted the news that Eddie had passed away…

My earliest memory of Van Halen (not including the Darth Vader scene in Back To The Future) is from the 1990’s when the Balance album was released and Eddie had started contributing a monthly column to Guitarist Magazine – this was during his short spiky hair phase and, as it has turned out, not the happiest time for VH as a band.

In the late 90s I worked in music retail and we often had Van Halen CDs playing in the shop – I don’t think Eddie’s influence on music in the late 20th and early 21st centuries can be understated – and while I was more a fan of the ‘Van Hagar’ era, the early albums are brimming with Eddie’s passion and energy and now, knowing that Eddie in no longer here, the music world is a little darker today.

29 September 2020

The last time I touched on Bon Jovi for my Lockdown Lead Guitar series on YouTube I said if I covered anything by the band again it’d either be some classic Jovi from the 80s or something more up to date focusing on Phil X’s playing – and that’s what we have here.

While it’s a pretty short excerpt, the solo delivers what the song requires and gives an otherwise very commercial radio friendly pop/rock song a little bit of flair.

Phil X’s approach to tone is a but different from his predecessor with a preference for P90 pickups and a bit less gain – as I didn’t have a P90 equipped guitar handy I decided to use my Harley Benton TE 90 FLT – with it’s humbucking Filter-tron style pickups it sits in a tonal middle ground between more single coils and traditional humbuckers.
Like the Slash example from a few weeks ago, I used the Amped Roots plugin from ML Soundlab (get your copy here) instead of mic’ing an amp and speaker cabinet – and I’m sure my neighbours appreciated it.

18 September 2020

I’m a couple of days behind schedule with updating the blog and front page, but this week I recorded another episode of Lockdown Lead Guitar, and this time I tackled a little Dark Side era Pink Floyd.

The guitar I’m using is a modified Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster that I bought new in 2010. The original chrome hardware was removed and replaced with Kluson tuners and a Gotoh Bridge, the stck pickups were replaced with Fender Custom Shop 69s in the neck and middle positions and a Seymour Duncan SSL-5 in the bridge.

Effects used an Electro Harmonix Big Muff, Mosky Obsessive overdrive, a TC Nova delay and a Voodoo Labs Microvibe running into a boss Katana which was recorded to Pro Tools via a Motu 8pre interface.

8 September 2020 – Guitar Lesson Gift Vouchers

With 2020 flying by at an unheard of rate I’m thinking about Christmas – last year I had a few people come to me to inquire about buying guitar lessons as a gift for family members, so I’ve added the option to buy a gift voucher for the budding shredder in the family.

Vouchers can be for any number of lessons – and blocks of 5 lessons will qualify for the usual 20% discount.

For further information, get in touch.

1 September 2020 – Lockdown Lead Guitar #22

With lockdown conditions still being an issue for many of us I recorded a new episode of Lockdown Lead Guitar, this time I’ve gone back to the 90s and recorded the solo from Smells Like Teen Spirit – again using the new amp simulation software that I tried out last week. The video can be seen on YouTube here.

25 August 2020 – Lockdown Lead Guitar #21

Having been trying the couch to 5k app in an effort to be more active there has been an additional benefit – while I’m running I’m able to enjoy music in way that’s becoming old fashioned; listening (more or less) to an entire album, and this week one that I got through was Guns ‘n Roses ‘Appetite For Destruction”, and what an album it is, I don’t know how I missed it when I was a teenager.

From that I decided to revisit a tune from my days with Speedtrap (and Little Secret, but the less said about that the better) and that Sweet Child o’ Mine would be the subject of the Next Lockdown Lead Guitar video.

The guitar I’m using is my old faithful Patrick Eggle Berlin pro from 1991 (I’ve had it since 1997 but believe I am the only owner), I’m using a Morley Bad Horsey wah pedal and the final tone is coming from some new amp simulation software from ML Sound Lab and can be had for free here.

It does the overdriven guitar thing really well, but the free version appears to lack any clean tones – with many, but not all, amp sims the clean stuff sounds like something of an afterthought, but based on how well it does the dirty stuff it may well be worth upgrading to the paid for version.

Since the camera cut out before the end I’ve uploaded the audio to SoundCloud and it can be heard in full here.