Welcome to Masters of Rhythm Guitar.
Even though since Chuck Berry (or at the latest, since Jimi Hendrix) there has been no such thing as pure "rhythm guitar" or "lead guitar", the guitarist today spends most of his time working on improving his solo playing. There are countless books and methods for every imagineable style with which one can learn "how to play great guitar solos". Although this is extremely worthwhile and important, rhythm guitar often gets the "short end of the stick", despite the fact that in almost any playing situation, rhythm playing is 90 % of the job. And, just by the way, consider this: if you play a wrong note in a solo, only a few listeners are likeley to notice. If you, on the other hand, loose the groove, everybody notices! So, in rhythm playing there is, in fact, a lot to do.
My intention with this book is to expand your repertoire of authentic rhythm grooves in a number of popular styles. Using different examples of the playing styles of the influential guitarists, I'll show their characteristic sounds, playing techniques and harmonic approaches. This, combined with background information and a discography will provide you with a comprehensive view of the work of each guitarist. This book should serve as a reference work which you can draw on as you need or choose to.
The great number of musical styles and guitarists make it almost impossible to write a definitive work on the stylistic development of rhythm guitar. To keep a reasonable amount of control over this project, I've restricted my choice to 22 "masters of rhythm guitar". The playing of these guitarists, which has been just as important to the success of record production as the lead guitar work, has made the guitar into one of the most important elements in music and is responsible for rock's establishment and subsequent development.
Mixing many different musical styles together came naturally to me, as I personally don't generally categorize music so much by style, as by whether it is good or bad music. All styles have their own worth and influence each other. It often happens that one style flows over into the other or that two styles join forming a new one. A clear separation between musical styles is simply impossible to make. Terms like rock, soul or jazz, or the order in which they appear when combined, are in this book only "working" expressions used for the purpose of organization.
However you choose to work with this book, I hope you have fun reading, listening and playing. With the necessary diligence and patience you'll find that a well rounded vocabulary of rhythmic ideas will become available to you, leading you to success in the studio, in bands or as a teacher.
Joachim Vogel, graduate of the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in California and professional guitarist (studio work and live projects with different, well-known artists, e.g. Marianne Rosenberg), has written two books in the AMA series “Masters of…”: “Masters of Jazz Guitar” and “Masters of Rhythm Guitar”.
Just like in the whole series, the author presents the 22 guitarists who, in his opinion have been the most influential because of their innovativeness and originality and who have coined their style of music. The reader receives background information in the form of biographies, as well as their personal influences and a list of their works. With authentic audio tracks, the characteristic features like sound, playing techniques, harmonic and audio material will be practiced. In doing so, the aim is to broaden the repertoire of the guitarist with authentic grooves and rhythmic patterns.
The following guitarists will be covered:
For 1950’s rock music, the following artists are represented: Scotty Moore, Elvis’ studio guitarist, who played a crucial role in shaping the rockabilly sound, “Mr Rock’n’Roll” Chuck Berry and the musical brain of the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards. Jimi Hendrix had a fundamental influence on the introduction of chord and solo playing in rock music; he coined the term orchestral guitar. Eddie van Halen refined the two hand tapping technique and Steve Stevens merged heavy metal with new wave music. As prime examples of hard rock or heavy metal, the following artists are presented: Jimmy Page (member of Led Zeppelin), Malcolm Young (former member of AC/DC) and James Hatfield (member of Metallica).
Soul/reggae music originated in the middle of the 1960s over the course of the “Black Power” movement of African Americans, who referred back to their musical gospel tradition. In this chapter, the following important guitarists are presented: Steve Cropper, Jimmy Nolan, Nile Rodgers, Prince, Paul Jackson Jr. and Bob Marley.
Representing new wave, which originated in the middle of the 1970s as a reorientation of punk rock, are Andy Summers (member of The Police) and David Evans (member of U2).
Joachim Vogel also dedicates a chapter to rhythm guitar in country music - rural folk music of the white population of North America. The two musicians presented are Merle Travis and Albert Lee, both of whom are famous for their particular fingerpicking technique.
In the final chapter about jazz, Joachim Vogel chooses the following musicians based on their virtuosic solo improvisations and their brilliant rhythm and accompaniment techniques: Joe Pass, Charlie Byrd and John Mc Laughlin.
Table of Contents
Scotty Moore Behind Elvis
Chuck Berry The First Rocker
Keith Richards It's Only Rock'n'Roll
Jimi Hendrix The Orchestral Guitar
Jimmy Page Classic Rock Patterns
Malcolm Young Dirty and Loud
Eddie van Halen Dr. Rhythm
James Hetfield The Riffsmith
Steve Stevens Heavy Metal Meets New Wave
Soul / Reggae
Steve Cropper The Soulman
Jimmy Nolen Funk Pioneer
Nile Rodgers 80's Funk with 60's Roots
Prince Sex and Funk and Rock'n'Roll
Paul Jackson Professional for Rent
Bob Marley Rebel Musician
Andy Summers Rhythms From Space
David Evans The Edge
Merle Travis The Country Picking King
Albert Lee The Flatpicker
Joe Pass - Virtuoso Guitar
Charlie Byrd Jazz Meets Latin
John McLaughlin The Mahavishnu
List of Symbols
Musik Style Development