Monday, 20 February 2017

Rig Rundown

A few weeks ago, I took some time out from rehearsals at Vision Recording and Rehearsal to film a quick rundown of the rig I'm taking on stage with me for this year's gigs. John Davies shot the footage and the editing was courtesy of Donna Greene. Please enjoy!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Guitar Vinci Guitars #4

Track 4: Petra

Petra was another drop D tune played on the GG6FG although this one is in the key of E, with the drop tuning allowing the D to E main riff.
This track started with the main riff idea, which I doubled with a staccato string section. Once I had settled on a tempo, the rest of the piece came in a rush, with melody and orchestration ideas coming to me as I was writing and recording the other sections. I spent very little time reviewing parts as everything felt right as it was going down. The arrangement, while not simple, flows from part to part, the orchestra/band interplay describing mystery and high drama in turn. In one section in particular the horn line (written and recorded first) inspires and compliments the guitar melody, something I didn't plan or even realise until after the parts were all recorded. I think I got more of a handle on orchestrating recording Petra, and after playing it a few times in rehearsal, it is definitely one of my favourite tunes to play so far.

The GG6FG is perfect for this track, allowing me to clean up the rhythm parts where needed simply by changing my pick attack and palm muting, and to roar when the tune opens up. The solos vary in intensity from section to section, and I'm finding it easy to replicate live due to the guitar's responsive feel and the pickup's sensitivity to attack. When the drama hits in the tune's story, the 'FG sings gloriously - one of the reasons that Petra was so enjoyable to record and play.

Oh, I should mention - that's the 'FG in the background image of this blog. 😏

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Guitar Vinci Guitars #3

Track 3: The Guitar Vinci Code

The title track of The Guitar Vinci Code started out with the main riff idea on the GG6FG - a series of hammered-on or slid power chords on the 4th, 5th and 6th strings, made easy by the drop D tuning. The chords are punctuated by open notes on the low D, and each phrase is separated by two beats of chugging rhythm on an open D5 chord, semi palm muted. Being a big fan of drop D, I have used this method of playing chord riffs in a few tunes, and this time around doubled the riff with strings and underpinned the whole thing with a sustained-note horn figure. The result was powerful and majestic, and inspired the rest of the arrangement.

The first solo drops to half time with the guitar being answered by strings and woodwind in places. This was the first time I had kept second solo instruments in mind when playing a solo, and I was very pleased with the way it turned out, both melodically and dynamically. In the middle of the tune are two unison riff sections which were fun to both record and play. Coming out of the middle section is a return to the intro riff, but with the guitars and bass providing a relentless chugging rhythm under the string motif and underpinning brass.

The outro section wraps up the piece in mighty fashion, and the GG6FG was perfect for this track, with just the right balance of drive and clarity. While I sometimes use more than one guitar on a track, The Guitar Vinci Code was GG6FG all the way - the guitar was playing particularly well on the day I recorded, and it was a great feeling to hear the parts come together as the track took shape.
I had had the idea for the title for a while, and as I was laying down the solo tracks I knew that this would be the tune to bear the name - it just felt right. I love this track, and I hope the people who hear it on record or live will love it too.