Guitarist Alex Skolnick is a diverse talent who has created disparate music with Testament and his own trio. It’s no surprise, then, that his list of essential guitar albums, as described to Music Radar, is an eclectic assortment. In addition to landmark fare as Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow and Van Halen’s debut, Skolnick points to Miles Davis’ We Want Miles (featuring Mike Stern on guitar), Question and Answer by Pat Metheny and Live Album by Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit which stars guitarist Jimmy Herring. Skolnick on Live Album:

This is one of those records that, anytime I play it for somebody, it’ll make that person scratch his head and say, ‘Why have I not heard of this guy?’ It’s really that good. I was very impressed by Jimmy’s vocabulary on the guitar. His total approach to the instrument is vast.

Read the entire list at MR.

Right here.

 

Here’s a great 1974 clip of Jeff Beck performing “Down in the Dirt” with UPP, a group whose album he produced. It’s uncanny how much Beck’s phrasing sounds like the keyboard at times.

Michael Schenker is a man who has made numerous essential guitar albums with Scorpions, UFO and his own MSG. And now he’s identified what he considers required listening for guitarists. According to Music Radar:

All at once I got hit by these albums and this incredible guitar playing. I got swamped by them, and I loved it.

Schenker cites releases like Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow, Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, and Climbing by Mountain:

‘Theme For An Imagination Western’ really knocked me out. It’s like spending two days hearing the most beautiful, creative soloing ever. The compositions are very well thought-out. But it’s Leslie West’s playing jumps out at me. His vibrato, his choice of notes, his overall sound – he’s a total master on the guitar.

Read all of Michael’s picks at MR.

Right here.

Peavey Ultra Plus

There’s lots of info in this full page ad. Aside from some Peavey specs we have references to Jennifer Batten being on tour with Michael Jackson, a nod to her band Tribal Rage and their album Momentum, and a quote from Jeff Beck about that release.

Scanned from Guitar Player, December 1997.

 

The Jeff Beck Group’s take on “I Ain’t Superstitious.” The film footage doesn’t match the music, but it’s still pretty cool.

Yep, everyone was right: Jimmy Herring is awesome. Check out his Blow by Blow-esque take on Stevie Wonder’s “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers.”

In terms of guitar playing, speed is a most polarizing characteristic. For every fan or player that favors “feel over flash,” there is another who is exhilarated by a barrage of 32nd notes. Guitar World is fanning the flames of debate with their current poll that asks, “Who is the Fastest Guitarist of All Time?”

The multiple-choice poll features most of the logical choices: Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane and Buckethead are all listed. And as with any such endeavor, there are some truly mind boggling entries, such as Jeff Beck. Jeff Beck?! He rules, but not because of speed.

At least this is one poll in which readers won’t automatically crown Eric Clapton.

Read the entire list right here.

“Another Quality Product from Norlin”

Cool ad from a low point in Gibson history. As the caption reflects, Gibson was owned by the Norlin corporation from 1969-85, a period generally regarded as one of decline. The S-1, like its nearly identical cousin the Marauder, was an attempt to break into the single coil pickup game—Fender territory.

Coming from Guitar Player January 1977, this piece refers to Ron Wood’s past associations with Jeff Beck and The Faces and dates to the period of the Rolling Stones’ Black and Blue.

Jeff Beck is still on the road and will be for a while, it appears. It’s just been announced that he and his band will take part in next year’s Isle of Wight Festival. They’ll join Pulp and Foo Fighters among others at the June 2011 event. The Gibson website describes the legendary festival as:

… (an) enduring rock ’n’ roll summit meeting with a history that includes performances by Mark Bolan, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and The Who. The original festival was an annual event from 1968-1970. After a 32-year break it was revived in 2002 with a lineup headlined by the Charlatans and Robert Plant.

Read more right here.

I normally try to keep Pointy Guitar entries more universal, but I thought I’d file a brief report on something I saw with my own two eyes: last night’s Jeff Beck concert at Starlight Theater in Kansas City, MO.

It was incredibly fucking incredible.

Phone shot from the show. Photo by: ehh, who would claim it?

Ok, I won’t be quite that brief: Beck’s set—a satisfying concoction alternating the rude and funky with the sublime and ethereal—was perfection on a brilliant spring evening. His unearthly tone and playing passed briefly through our ears and minds in a straight line from the outdoor venue’s stage to the cosmos. Holy shit, what am I talking about? I guess if you’d been there you’d understand the folly of trying to describe the experience in anything other than hyperbolic pronouncements.

Admittedly, I haven’t heard Beck’s new album Emotion & Commotion and hadn’t been following the tour’s set lists online, so I was a bit surprised by what I didn’t hear (“Freeway Jam”) and, more importantly, what I did hear. Beck standards like “Led Boots” and “Big Block” were seamlessly interspersed with newer numbers to constitute an outstanding ebb and flow. Ever the crafty interpreter of others’ works, Beck took a turn on “Over the Rainbow” like only he could; and no sooner had I thought to myself that his phrasing had kept me engaged and hanging on every inflection like the cascading syllables of an operatic tenor did Beck close the show with the Puccini aria, “Nessun Dorma.” Pretty overwhelming stuff.

When a man and his band play and communicate with the audience and with one another like Beck and company did, there isn’t much that needs to be said. So Jeff didn’t say much. But even his quick asides were amusing. Referring the penetrating melody of “Mna Na Eireann,” he noted with a smile:

You’ll be … singing this for the rest of your goddamn lives.

I’ll certainly be thinking about this show that long.

Geoffrey Arnold Beck coaxing some enchanted squeak from his Strat.

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