Great Guitar Breaks...

Get Those "Breaks" Done!

Greetings all again! As a multi-instumentalist, I've learned over the years a few tips 'n' tricks to make my playing stand out and be noticed. However, I had to listen to a lot of players and especially mainstream radio-types whose playing was and is so influential to all. What was it or IS it that makes them, their music, their breaks so memorable? We hear a lot on the tube, online, and on the radio but what is it that makes a song or break REALLY stick with you forever?

Let's face it...we play and make music for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the pure enjoyment of playing be it for ourselves, or with others to 'make a sound'. For the latter group, I'm including some of my observations of great guitar breaks that you might want to check out, no matter WHAT the genre or style might be. I am assuming that some of you want to record, get noticed, play gigs, sell records and the like so hopefully you might learn a bit from these references.

Here's my picks for some of the all-time great guitar breaks...(btw, I'm sticking to 'guitar' right now as it is probably the most popular instrument that most start out with).

1. The break to "Ramblin' Man" by The Allman Brothers (1970's): You may not like country or 'that' sound, but this break is awesome, pure and simple. I believe it was played by Dickie Betts and please correct me if I'm wrong on that. Nevertheless, this break is set-up perfectly with the intro repeated just before it. No special effects here, nothing like that at all. Basic guitar playing with a few bends and stretches and mostly played on the bottom (top?) strings (G, B, and E). Lot of single notes that follow the chord line perfectly, mixed in with that southernish-country feel. This is a great break to practice with, bar none.

2. The break to "Hotel California" by The Eagles (1977): Well, WHAT do you say about the guitar break in this? A pure classic and to this day, this break scares me. Why? Because I feel this break captures the medieval, almost surreal/sensual feel of this song. This break hollers at you, with a bit of effect(s) that are not overdone, along with screaming licks both on the high and low ends of the instrument. Not a problem at all to remember the notes in this song...this song is eerie and I love and hate it at the same time, although the guitar break is nothing short of fabulous. Not a great one to start out with, though, until you've mastered the instrument to a certain point.

3. The break to "Takin' Care of Business" by BTO (1973): I have nothing but great respect for the guitar playing of Randy Bachman...this guy really knows the instrument VERY well. This is a light-hearted song about just being lazy and gettin' paid for it, as far as I can tell. The guitar break is NOT overplayed, follows the B-flat key perfectly, and he makes the notes 'pop-out' so effectively. Nice bends, stretches, pauses...short but very well played and fits this piece to a "T".

4. The break to "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith (1975): I adore this song,,,bar none. The only thing I don't like about this break is that it's just not long enough; however, what IS played is so great and fits the piece like a glove. Actually, if you notice, the break starts even before the last segment (just before it) is finished, like he 'gears-up' to play. Excellent choice of notes, doesn't venture to far and stays within a few frets, and has that comical-funky feel to it. Just a GREAT break, IMHO.

And so on...I won't go on further here, but hopefully you get the drift. Remember, you don't have to overload your listeners and fans with a zillion notes, all effected, etc. Some or most of the great classic songs in any genre, have had simplistic type breaks that are designed to COMPLIMENT the song, not overpower it. Songs are designed to say something most of the time, with a structured storyline...the artist wants to say something. The instruments (and remember that I've only focused on guitar for now), are there to put the message to music and there's a fine line where the instumentation will detract FROM the message.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned. I'll write a bit more on great breaks from instruments soon...I'll leave you with a break from a marimba! Yep,,,a "marimba", played on the piece "Moonlight Feels Right" by Starbuck (1976). As far as I know, the marimba is a cousin of the xlyophone but...WHAT a break in the middle of the song. So fast, so many notes, and so great to listen to. Kind of a bubble-gum feel to the song, but....what a break with that instrument. Best part of the break is at the end, when the player starts low and generates a million notes before he finishes right on the money, in the right key! Just fabulous to listen to.

Make or "break" your sound with what fits, and don't showcase.

Stay tuned...

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