18 January 2021

2020 is over!!! That’s a good start to 2021 by it’s self, and I’ve added a new video to the Lockdown Lead Guitar collection, this time is a track from David Gilmour’s 2006 Album On An Island.

This is based on the main solo towards the end of the song and is interesting in that it’s changing key every two bars, moving from the E blues scale to the aeolian mode of G minor.

22 December 2020

With tier 4 covid restrictions being imposed on Scotland from December 26th, it would appear the Speedtrap reunion gig scheduled for that day won’t be happening. Hopefully we’ll be back on track for December 2021 where the guitar solos will have twice as many notes.

With this in mind I’ve decided to pluck episode 31 of Lockdown Lead Guitar from the set list.

15 December 2020

All the way back in March we thought the covid pandemic would be resolved within a few months and I thought my YouTube series of guitar solos would be lucky if it reached 10 episodes. Well… Episode 30 was uploaded last week and there has been some progress with a vaccine, fingers crossed 2021 will be better.

This one is based on a student’s request, originally by Billy Idol and covered more recently by HiM – our goal was to add some flavour to the guitar solo.

Episode 31 will be a tad more up to date… well… from this century at least.

3 December 2020

No bitching about the lack of live music today, instead I’m gonna pretend to be happy that we had some snow fall over night, since it’s December I’m only a Die Hard viewing away from agreeing it’s almost Christmas.

Musically I’m keeping myself busy learning new songs that my students have asked about, this week saw me working on an updated version of a Billy Idol track that will make it’s way onto the Lockdown Lead Guitar Playlist next week, but this week I went for something less energetic; The intro to Only When I sleep by The Corrs.

Dating back to 1997, it was only today that I found out the song featured the guitar playing and co-writing skills of John Shanks who has been heavily involved with Bon Jovi for the last decade or so, but seems to have worked with everyone at some stage.

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.