More Great Guitar Breaks...

Me Again With More Breaks...

Hi musical folks again. After my last hub, I was thinking of some more sounds 'n' songs that have impressed me over the years, and we all know that for a song or break to stay with you forever, it's got to have that certain 'something'.

What IS that 'something'? For me, it's a great story embellished with the proper instrumentation and overall sound. Here's a few more that just never leave me:

1. "Maggie May" by that raspy-voiced Rod Stewart (early '70's): This tune continues to be played on pop/rock stations to this day and has endured great popularity and fame. Why? Well, it's pretty obvious of the young guy in a relationship with an uncaring 'older' lady and he now thinks he's just wasting his time and is just being used. Good story, actually and probably relates well with many. I love the instrumentation in this song, and the guitar break in the bridge is SO simple, yet SO lovely -- kind of 'muffled', played in the thicker strings with not much for effects. Kind of that 'dampened' feel. And to compliment it all, there's that mandolin at the end of the piece, wafting a simple melody. What's neat about the mandolin, is that it is one of those Greek-style, oval-backed instruments and not something like an F5 or A4 type used mainly for country music, bluegrass, etc. This is the old-time, European mandolin style, and it's a perfect fit.

One last thing about the end: As music is based almost entirely on beats of "4", THIS mandolin break takes "5" passes before he comes into singing again, cued-in with one extra note. Try counting at the end how many times the little mando break is played, and you will count "5", which is rather unusual, however very effective as it leaves you waiting to see what was next.

This song is pop classic.

2. "Jump" by Van Halen (1984): hehe -- I LOVE Eddie Van Halen, the consumate fun-loving rocker of all time, imho. Eddie's mastery of the guitar is so evident in this song where he goes all the way from upper-low strings to the high-end finish, complete with those flashy two finger hammer-ons and a few other guitar playing tidbits that he developed over the years.

The key to this song is the complete change of key in the middle, where Ed starts his break, right on cue. I think it goes to a B-flat but haven't checked it on my own axe, but I think you get the drift. Hits you right in the face with that change and Eddie blasts his way through it with tectonic precision. GREAT break, and again, a classic.

3. ANYTHING by the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan.

4. "Dead or Alive", Jon Bon Jovi (not sure year): The guitar here 'growls'! Yep, this a perfect break for this song, absolutely. 'Ol Jon introduces the break with a howl ("ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh...") and the guitar kicks in, following the melody of the song almost to the note. Great sustain, some vamps as he slides his way back down the neck, and some screaming melody notes. Pure and simple, this break is a great fit to a memorable song.

5. "American Woman", The Guess Who (1970): When this song came out back then, it was a monster smash hit by these Canadian Rockers. To this day, I still don't get WHAT this song is all about or trying to say... guess it was some sort of anti-war thing but I can Google it for more info. What's MORE important, is the guitar break by Bachman. This is a great break to say the least, not heavily improvised and in perfect time. I find the chosen notes to follow the melody quite closely and seem to stay in one part of the guitar neck, not all up 'n' down. This break has a 'druggy' feel and always had for me -- it's dreamy, subtle, yet with a deep-down rock feel. I personally have a love/hate with the song, but like the break. Clean, crisp, and very fitting. Great to learn from or just plain 'ol air-guitar it.

6. Anything by the lead guitarist for Pink Floyd. Rarely is there a group that comes along that is so popular and successful playing mostly minor chords. The lead breaks to all their songs are perfect, never over-played but I suspect highly engineered for that time.

Ok -- just a few more...brain doesn't want to cooperate this morning but trust me, I'll be blah-ing about more musical things shortly, after another coffee!

Thanks so much for reading! I might actually have some 'serious' content on the next hub!

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