Why Zep remain the ultimate blues rockers!

When I think of the term “blues rock” I instantly think of Led Zeppelin. For me they are the ultimate band when it came to playing heavy blues rock.

Formed in 1968 they had the archetypal set up of lead vocals, guitar, bass and drums. On guitar was Jimmy Page who was somewhat of a prodigy from a young age. He was a session musician well known on the music scene playing with bands such as The Yardbirds but Page wanted to form a heavier blusier sounding group.

Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones soon joined and the band went on to write some of the greatest riffs in rock history! Check out Whole Lotta Love , When The Levee Breaks and of course the classic Stairway To Heaven to name just a few.

Zeppelin had a solid heavy rhythm section with Bonham’s drums sounding like roaring thunder and John Paul Jones’ bass driving the song with simple yet explosive power. Pages’ guitar was what really gave the band their bluesy edge and in Robert Plant they had a vocalist whose awesome power and range took the band to a whole new level.

If you like your music heavy and bluesy stick some Led Zeppelin on and you won’t be disappointed!

Why it always comes back to the blues!

Whenever i pick my 335 up for a jam i always play the blues. i love the sound of that minor pentatonic scale. Sad and mournful. You don’t play the blues. You feel the blues! Playing the notes is one thing but its the subtle techniques of vibrato, slides, micro and quarter bends that bring the notes to life.

An important thing to remember is that speed is of no importance in the blues. Sure it may impress your buddies but after a few minutes everyone will be bored. Some of the best blues players actually don’t play quick at all, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker are two examples of true bluesmen with great feel and soul where a few notes on the guitar is all that’s needed.

Tone is also very important. I like plugging my Gibson 335 straight into my Fender Deluxe Reverb and letting that bird sing. Get myself a beer and i’m halfway to heaven!

Being a bass man!

Most of my blogs are about the guitar but I also teach the bass which I have played for 30 years!

Its actually a fantastic instrument and one I love playing when I’m in the wedding band. The job of the bass is to keep rhythm with the drums and but you can be very expressive too and play some great melodic lines.

My favourite bass guitar is the humble fender precision. It is very simple but gives you a punchy sound.

Bass players I like are Adam Clayton from U2. He plays very simple melodic bass lines and was my first influence for the bass.

Another great bass player is flea from the chili peppers. He is a bit busier but plays  some great funky lines.

New rock school books.

The new rock school books have just come out so I thought I’d tell you a few things about these great learning tools.

Each book is graded from what they call debut right through to grade 8. You can choose from 6 songs all of which are designed to improve different areas of your technique and the songs are really very good and enjoyable to play.

There are technical exercises to complete which range from scales and ear tests which again are very useful in becoming a better musician.

If you want to work yourself up the grades or just play for fun these books are a great way to improve your playing!

This weekends antics -life in a function band!

For many years now I have been playing in a wedding band called superfuzz.

We play all over the country and have a great time even though it can be tiring as it’s normally a late finish.

This is one avenue any musician of a good standard can go down to earn some money using your skills

On Friday we were in derby playing at our drummers daughters wedding and it was nice to see everyone having a bop and a great time. Last night we were near Doncaster and it was a very big affair with a huge marquee, pizza stands, champagne stalls and fireworks. We were due to finish at 12 but the guys wanted us to play on so after a bit of negotiation we played on till about 1.30 ish.

By the time my head hit the pillow it was 4.00. That was a late one. We had a lot of fun, a few beers and got paid for playing music.

It ain’t Glastonbury but it beats working for a living!

Superfuzz are available to book for your party or wedding. Please see their website for more details.

The best guitar riff ?

Check put my favourite guitar riffs.

1. Johnny b Goode by chuck berry.

2. Smoke on the water by Deep Purple.

3. Whole lotta love by Led Zeppelin.

4. Satisfaction by the Stones.

5. Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix

6. Black Night by Deep Purple.

7.  Sweet child o mine by Guns n Roses.

8. Iron man by Black Sabbath.

9.Sunshine of your love by Cream.

10. You really got me by The Kinks.

The greatest frontman

my band mates and I are always discussing this subject. What some people love in one singer other people dislike.

I suppose all great frontmen gave certain characteristics in common. Voice. Image. Charisma. Stage presence.

Here is a top ten that I have put together.

1 Jim Morrison.

2. Mick jagger.

3. Roger  Daltrey.

4  axl rose

5 Freddie Mercury.

6. Ian Gillian

7. Paul Rogers

8  Dave Coverdale

9  Liam gallacher

10. Ian brown.

 

Muddy Waters

One of the greatest and influential bluesmen was McKinley Morganfield better known as Muddy Waters.

Born in 1913 in clarksdale, Mississippi he was playing the guitar and harmonica by the age of 17.

By the early fifties Muddy had recorded several blues albums with some great songs including the classic “Hoochie Coochie Man”

Muddy was one of the first bluesmen to use an amplified electric guitar. He played slide to great effect on his fender telecaster.

With a huge voice and blues songs that had a band and amplified guitar-sound he bridged the divide between the delta blues and rock and roll.

Muddy died in 1983 but his musical legacy lives on!

FIVE pointers for your first private music lesson

1. Arrange a day and time that suits us both. Lessons can take place at your home or workplace or wherever is suitaible for you.

2. Organise a quiet space for the lesson to take place with plenty of space to move around especially if you are learning the guitar.

3. Be ready to start your lesson when I arrive and a cup of tea or coffee wouldn’t go a miss!!

4. Getting to know you and your ability: if the instrument you are learning is new to you then we will start from scratch. If you’ve had lessons or have some ability already then I will need to assess your skills.

Depending on what you want to learn I can either teach you from the Rock School Grade book or song based.

5. As the lesson comes to a close I will give you suggestions of things that you could look at for next lesson.

The rise and demise of cream.

Cream were formed in 1966 by Ginger baker. Eric Clapton joined on the condition Jack Bruce was hired as bass guitarist. Clapton was already very established on the music scene in London and was considered the best blues guitarist in England.

The band produced 3 albums. Fresh cream in 1966, Disraeli gears in 1967, and Wheels of fire in 68  which was the worlds first platinum- selling double album.

The powerhouse trio were well known for their long live blues improvisations. Jimi HEndrix was a big fan and the band were forerunners to the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep purple and Black Sabbath.

Unfortunately the band was not long lived due to tensions between Bruce and Baker that had festered for some time and Clapton saying that at one gig the volume was so loud that he stopped playing and neither Baker nor Bruce realised.

The bands biggest hits were “I feel free”, “Sunshine of your love” and “Crossroads”.

Cream are well worth checking out if you are into blues guitar with Clapton arguably doing his best work here with Cream.