Reading - May 2017

The Week (29 April 2017 / Issue 1122)
Guitarist (June 2017 / Issue 420)
I've been buying Guitarist since the mid-80s, apart from a break in the early 90s, and I've been a subscriber since the late 90s. I still have all of the issues - over 20 years worth of reviews, interviews and general guitar porn. I hate to think or calculate how much I've spent on the magazines. But this is my last one - I cancelled the subscription. I don't need two guitar-related titles a month, and Guitar & Bass is more interesting, varied and in-depth. I'm also going through the back issues prior to recycling them. It's kind of sad (possibly in both meanings).
Guitar & Bass (June 2017 / Vol 28 No 09)
The Week (6 May 2017 / Issue 1123)
It's Not What You Think by Chris Evans (2009)
I'm not a big fan of autobiographies (or biographies, for that matter), and one of the reasons is that too many of the subjects are long on their own magnificence and short on their sheer luck. Chris Evans' first volume is refreshingly different in this respect. Without selling himself short, he's quick to acknowledge how fortunate he's been - in his friends, his timing, and his talents. He's clearly worked hard and long to achieve what he has, and it hasn't been without sacrifices; he's a study in the truth of the maxim "the harder you work, the luckier you get". An enjoyable read, made more so for me by the fact that he clearly wrote it himself.
The Week (13 May 2017 / Issue 1124)
The Week (20 May 2017 / Issue 1125)
The Time Traveller's Guide To Medieval England by Ian Mortimer (2009)
This seems to me to be a genuinely innovative approach to history (not that I've investigated this extensively), and one that makes it a lot more accessible. There's an amazing amount of historical detail and research here, but by wrapping in the approximate form of a guide book, Mortimer has made it much easier to digest.
The Week (27 May 2017 / Issue 1126)


Solo of the Month #27

May 2017

We have a slice of what is probably a middle of the road rock ballad this time round. As the middle eight finishes it sounds like someone should be chiming in with "You know I love you, I always will ...".

The chord progression is simple: G, C, D. Maybe too simple. I found it really hard to hang any kind of interesting idea onto this. Also, I was slightly put off by the fact that the obvious - no, the cliched - sound over this is a smooth overdrive, which is what I expected everyone else to use, and I know there are people who are much better at that kind of playing than me. The main thing I can do is use my imagination to come up with something slightly different.

Since this is in G, I normally think in Em, in terms of shapes on the fretboard anyway. This also means that quite a few of the harmonics at the 12th, 7th and 5th frets will be valid notes in that scale. It turned out that the smooth overdriven sound (EXH Soul Food on max boost into the Tech 21 Double Drive running on full "class A" gain, and the MXR Carbon Copy providing some subtle delay) made the harmonics sound pretty epic, so that gave me a good intro. Then a simple repeated riff using basic notes from the chords did the rest.

I don't think it's particularly inspired but then, if I'm honest, I don't think the backing track is either. Apparently it's the middle eight from an existing full track, with the vocal and solo stripped out, and I think some of that context would have helped inform the solo. Anyway, here's what I ended up with.