Why I Play Rhythm Guitar Not Lead

I have been playing guitar for fifty-two years and I have always been a rhythm guitarist. Lying in bed this morning I started thinking about why that is.

Well, for one thing I’m not a good enough lead guitarist to play lead. But it’s not that; I love playing rhythm.

I started playing guitar because I was excited by the music I was hearing, on the radio (occasionally), on TV (even more occasionally) and on record. When I think back to the records that made an impression, a big part of their effect was due to the rhythm – Bo Diddley, The Kinks, The Beatles – and I wanted to be able to play those rhythms.

So, when I was fourteen, my parents bought me a guitar for Christmas, a small, steel string acoustic. Of course I didn’t know how to play it or tune it or even that you could get different notes by using the fingers of your left hand (I’m right-handed) to make chords. I didn’t even know what chords were. I moved my thumb across the strings and got six out-of-tune sounds. “Is that it?” I thought. “Is that all it can do?” I was very disappointed. Continue reading

1972 – Lou Reed, Lou Reed

Lancaster in the 70s was very different from how it is now – less alternative, fewer students, more traditional. But it had one thing we don’t have now, a really good indoor market. And in the market was the best record shop around, Ear Ere. 4426480

That’s where I bought my copy of Lou Reed. As far as I can remember Ear Ere was originally up on the balcony overlooking the market. You could go in and browse the albums, listen on headphones, and buy whatever you wanted – and I wanted all of them!

Lour72

This is when Christine and I lived on Havelock Street, before we moved to Golgotha Village. I can’t remember if it was before or after Matthew was born, but it was definitely around the time. So I took it home and listened to it…….. and I didn’t like it. It wasn’t like the Velvet Underground stuff and felt as though he didn’t really know where he was going without the band. And he had a strange assortment of backing musicians (Steve Howe! Rick Wakeman!). Not exactly cutting edge rock musicians. So I took it back, told them I didn’t like it, and they let me take something else. They were great like that at Ear Ere. I can’t remember what I swapped it for. Continue reading