Misirlou is the quintessential surf instrumental and Dick Dale’s sonic signature – or is that redundant? In any case, rock history acknowledges this tune as the first surf genre piece to feature the “wet” sound of Fender’s reverb unit. Coupled with Dale’s furious upside-down Strat attack through the immediately overdriven, 100-watt Dual Showman stacks, it is absolute dynamite. For most, the definitive surf sound. Misirlou has unusual origins for a seminal piece in American rock. Its roots are in Middle Eastern music, and it was a 1940’s pop hit in Turkey two decades before Dick revived and reinvented the piece in 1962 – when he gave it a high-energy twist by performing it on electric guitar with his Deltones band. (more…)
This time we check out the playing style of someone Jeff Beck once referred to as the greatest guitarist ever – Django Reinhardt. There’s nothing too taxing here except for all the position shifts. As usual, play through the piece very slowly until you can perform it without having to think too much. One of the students asked me to explain the theories and techniques behind gypsy jazz-guitar playing and also how to go about writing and playing in that style. I thought about it for a bit and came up with this little dittie inspired by old recordings that I’d heard of the gypsy genius Django Reinhardt. (more…)
This bone crusher still packs so much power and punch it’s hard to believe that it’s almost 30 years old. A standout track from the landmark AC/DC album Back in Black, You Shook Me All Night Long embodies everything that was good about late 70s hard rock and metal, and points unerringly to the future of the genre. Heavy metal entered a golden age in the 80s, and this is one of the tracks that took it there. It abounds with tough, crashing guitar mayhem, taut, metallic song hooks and one of the most driving grooves in the form. At the center of the carnage is the dual-guitar rhythm machine that is the brothers Young. The two-prong attack of Angus and Malcolm is hard to resist under most circumstances, in You Shook Me All Night Long it’s darn near impossible. (more…)
You Oughta Know is the tune that broke it wide open for singer Alanis Morissette. A gutsy, no-holds-barred collaboration from the unstoppable team of singer Morissette and producer Glen Ballard, it was culled as the first single from the monstrously successful 1995 debut album, Jagged Little Pill – and she hasn’t looked back since. In fact, You Oughta Know is currently enjoying even more success these days as the flip side of the Top Ten Morissette entry, “You Learn.” In any event, You Oughta Know remains one of the power-pop diva’s most acerbic and unflinching releases to date. Bristling with emotion, top notch production, well-layered instrumental arranging, and some unexpected retro guitar touches, it is made even more significant by the presence and contributions of Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist and guitarist, Flea and Dave Navarro, on the track. (more…)
One of the most important elements of the flamenco style is rhythm, so this time we’re looking at a particular pattern of accented beats known as the compas. Although there are no excessively difficult chords or progressions in this piece, the rasgueado and golpe techniques together with the importance of keeping accurate rhythm mean it will require a fair amount of time and practice to master. Rhythm and the rhythmic compas are at the very heart of flamenco. There are many different types of compas: Malaguena, Alegrias, Bulerias and Soleares to name but a few. Each compas has its own individual rhythm and pattern of accents and a thorough understanding of these is of utmost importance to anyone seriously interested in the study of flamenco. (more…)
Landing somewhere between the classic rock sounds of the Beatles, the bottom-heavy pop metal of AC/DC, and today’s mainstream offerings, Tonic’s Open Up Your Eyes is rapidly becoming a favorite guitar piece with contemporary audiences. The A&M artists scored a big No. 2 on the Modern Rock charts with this single in late 1996 and threaten to make even bigger waves with their debut album, Lemon Parade.