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Tuesday

Instrumental Guitar Cover Tunes Done Right

Artist: Yamamoto Eiko Title: Petit Guitar Player

Ever notice that so many instrumental guitar covers are either too exhibitionist, corny or too elevator?

Some interesting covers I like are Jeff Beck's covers of She's a Woman and A Day in the Life by The Beatles, and Steve Morse's La Villa Strangiato by Rush. Fareed Haque released an instrumental tribute to CSN&Y's Deja Vu album, which is very cool.

Gary Hoey does a lot of unexpected covers which tend to put him into a humor-novelty niche, i.e. his Linus & Lucy.

Perhaps no better example of instrumental covers taken to corny extremes is the Christmas holiday stuff. Nearly everyone's!

Sometimes its fun when hardcore Blues Rock players take a Pop tune and roll it in the dirt with a gut level attitude.

Andy Timmons' rendition of The Beatles' entire Sgt Peppers album is an incredible study of the modern Rock guitar instrumental cover. I have to say "modern Rock" since Chet Atkins, George Benson and many others were reinterpreting a variety of Pop music decades ago. But check out Timmons' Sgt Peppers arrangement for power trio with no vocals and NO OVERDUBS. A marvelous example of anchoring to the melody and essential harmonies, and just drivin' it down the highway. Can't recommend it highly enough, even to acoustic players! And it isn't corny, cheezy or novelty, either. Remember that Sgt Peppers was a very studio indulgent recording project in its day. What Timmons does is as Zen as it is surreal. Click Here!

A genuinely good tune can be reinterpreted many ways. If you find something you'd like to cover, don't be afraid to play around with it and take it off the beaten path! Just don't expect everyone to like it. But if you can be objective in arranging it, it still may go over with some folks. Great melodies last forever. Usually its the groove that can use a change-up. How much is the trick.

Too many great tunes have fallen through the cracks!


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