December 7, 2023

Unusual guitar practice

As a follow on from my post here on being unusual, having something unique and not running with the crowd I thought it might be good to run a short list of unusual guitar related ideas. Being unusual really, really helps stylistically. Here’s a few interesting players off the top of my head!

Keith Richards – 5 strings only and G tuning – D, B, G, D, G (high to low)
Django – predominantly two  finger playing style as other fingers were badly burnt
Robert Johnson – almost supernatural physical technique beyond the horizon
Mississippi John Hurt – earthy brown-dirt piedmont picking souds like  molasses, treacle and golden syrup
Charlie Christian – pioneer of amplification
Jesse Lone Cat Fuller – one man band blues-folk player who invented the Fotdella bass machine
Jeff Healey – Being blind the guitar is played on his lap
T bone Walker – played behind his head, with teeth and before Jimi
Jimi Hendrix – uses teeth, lighter fluid, art-destruction, plays behind head,  attacks amps and heavy feedback
Jeff Beck – one of the early feedback pioneers, also uses unorthodox approach to neck-scales-tremolo etc
Frank Zappa – watermelons in easter hay and shut up and play your guitar – theme from the 3rd movement of sinister footwear
Stevie Ray Vaughan – uses half step down tuning
Eric Mongrain – a highly melodic tapping style (see also Kaki King for a percussive style)
Jimmy Page – used a violin bow and a theremin on occasion
Alvin Lee – completely unique English sound and style  – live, using a drumstick for a right hand, incredible
Johnny greenwood,  Adrian BelewReeves Gabrels – completely insane sounds
Robert Fripp – loops and frippertronics
Frank GambaleAlan HoldswothJohn Maclaughlin – jazz fusion of various degrees
Paul Ubana Jones – mind blowing and unique style
Fred Frith – avante garde un-guitar playing
Richie Havens – open D tuning tour de force
The Edge -underrated master of skeletal arpeggios soaked with melodic feeling – redefined rock/pop guitar sounds
Adrian Legg – idiosyncratic individual picking style complemented with technique and taste
Son House – unimaginably authentic individualism

So, do what feels best even if it`s unusual and strange!

Do what suits you.  Do what you like. Use your limitations to your advantage & if you only know a few scales – there`s no limit to what you can do – explore them fully in all senses.
You dont have to be blind, crippled or named after a fruit, but it might help…a little.

Here are some pictures of me practising underwater, great for making those  leagues below sea-sounds.
Later this week I`ll be travelling to the earth`s core to conduct electromagnetic, heat exchange, tone experiments.

Personally, Ive got my Strat` set up with the bridge in a unique way that should leave the guitar out of tune. It came about through an accident where I ripped the unit out of the body years ago and the tremsetter fell apart. It`s now become part of my overall style…it`s great.

Cheers, Jake.

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