All-time favorite electric guitar tracks

In an interview last year with Contemporary Guitars Blog, I was asked to name 5 Desert Island albums. Now, I’ve never been one to get too carried away with making “top 5 lists,” but thought what if I were to do one for electric guitar tracks that continue to have a profound effect on me years after having heard them the first time. So, after some thought, I recently decided on a top 3 list.  I know, it’s only 3…..Anyway, here they are:

1. Machine Gun – Jimi Hendrix (Band of Gypsys)

What else can be said about this live version of Machine Gun. Just a mindblower. If I could go back in time to see one concert, it would be this one.

2. Where Were You – Jeff Beck

I could go on and on regarding Jeff Beck. This track is pure electric guitar poetry of the highest order. Simply incredible music and one of the more beautiful things I’ve ever heard.

3. Watermelon in Easter Hay – Frank Zappa

FZ was very underrated as a guitarist. Gorgeous music in a slow 9/4 (or 4/4 + 5/4 – however you prefer). This track shows off FZ’s more sensitive side.  It’s not even from my favorite Zappa period though. I’m more of an early Mothers person (see my 5 Desert Island albums).

As with these types of lists, it’s always tough leaving stuff out. Here a list of a few Honorable Mentions (I may continue to edit this..)

The Final Peace – Jeff Beck

Power to Love – Jimi Hendrix

Pink Cashmere – Prince

Black Napkins – Frank Zappa

Is It Sweet? – Bill Frisell

and definitely a few more….

Some electric guitar memories, feedback and a new piece

I’ve always had a fascination for electric guitar feedback. My first experiences go back to when I was around 13 –14 years old.  After many hours of intense practice (all I did was practice from the ages of 12-17), dealing with frustration and sore fingertips, I would turn the amp up as loud as possible allowing the guitar to howl and scream.  Then I discovered that I could manipulate the feedback by walking around the room and swirling the guitar around in the air. I also discovered that at certain spots in the room the feedback was very consistent and could get that long sustain to add to those certain held notes.

painting by Richard Whadcock

Here’s a link to my brand new piece utilizing electric guitar feedback, Fractured Sky (2012). The sounds in this piece come mostly from electric guitar with the addition of a few percussion samples. The painting above is by the British artist Richard Whadcock. Click the photo to check out his wonderful artwork.

Both recording sessions for these pieces involved recording electric guitar feedback at a very loud volume.  For me these compositions are not only about the finished result, but about the process. A reliving of those youthful electric guitar feedback experiments and sculpting them into compositions. It’s the stuff that keeps me drawn to the electric guitar and makes me want to keep playing and wrenching sounds out of it.

Hope you like these pieces.  I still have some feedback experimenting left to do..