What’s happenin’ here?

This is a music blog, this is a guitar blog, this is an album review blog, but mainly this is a blog about guitar accompaniment.  I am a guitar player who enjoys the extra energy and emotion that well conceived and executed guitar playing can bring to a song.

An average song can be elevated and a well crafted song can soar with the right accompaniment.  That accompaniment can come via many instruments – piano, woodwind, trumpet or more – but in many forms of today’s music  it is a function of the lead guitar.  Not necessarily the screaming solo guitar but the right little fill, chord inversion or even single note at the right time can turn the mundane to the magical.

There are many practitioners of this underappreciated art, some well known like Mark Knopfler or John Mayer who accompany their own songs.  Many others work in relative anonymity as studio musicians or in back-up bands for well know artists.  The intention of this blog is to bring artists and recordings forward and help all of those with an interest in and appreciation of the art of guitar accompaniment expand our knowledge and hopefully augment our libraries.

Most of my entries will focus on recordings that I find to have noteworthy examples of guitar accompaniment.  These might be recordings from the catalog of well known artists, recordings by less familiar artists that deserve wider popularity or new music from new artists.  Please participate in the discussion.  Add comments, suggest other musical examples.  There are lots of talented artists out there that should be heard and appreciated by as many people as possible.

Author: Ron

I started playing guitar in high school bands playing songs by the Ventures, early Beatles and other British Invasion bands. With excursions into many types of musical styles and genres in the intervening years I have developed an appreciation for the unique skills of the guitar accompanist. The accompanist serves the song and serves the singer, enhancing rather than competing with the song and the performance. This blog highlights those skills and the practitioners who exemplify this important bit of artistry.

6 Replies to “What’s happenin’ here?”

  1. Phil says:

    Nice website. I linked across from HC Songwriting, where you commented on a post of mine regarding appropriate musical restraint.
    My musical playing world started in high school in 1963 with Shadows and Beatles, so we may have trodden some similar ground there.
    There was nothing here for me to disagree with – somewhat unusual.
    Anyway, I’ve put you on my favourites toolbar, so I’ll be back soon.

    1. rfcaird says:

      Thank you for stopping by. I have certainly learned things from your comments on HC and I look forward to any contributions you make here.

    2. Sihen says:

      No offense back at you, but I’m doing a guiatr lesson that condenses what a whole band does, including trumpets, bass, drums. The goal is not to match every note, but to come up with an arrangement that sounds rich and full on a solo guiatr and that is close to the original song. I hope you agree that I’ve done that. If not, let’s talk about THAT, not about whether it should be a D or a D7, which really makes no difference in the context of this song.Thanks for the comment.Steve Baughman

  2. Phil says:

    At the moment you have chosen to discuss individuals who know how to contribute and support a song, but perhaps as important are the collectives of musicians who have done more than just support the song – they have probably ‘made’ the song.
    I am thinking particularly of ‘The Funk Brothers’ and ‘The Wrecking Crew’. Music history would be quite different without them.
    There are documentaries about both of them, and make compelling viewing for any budding support musician.

    1. rfcaird says:

      Interesting idea. I would add the Muscle Shoals rhythm section and Booker T. and the MG’s at Stax to the list as well. I suspect that there was a similar group of studio guys in London that helped define those sounds of the sixties as well. My intent was to focus on individuals, predominately guitar players, but there is certainly room and reason to examine these group efforts. It is, after all, critical for the guitarist to play nicely with others.

    2. Birgit says:

      Starting at the end, the chord you describe looks like F#mUse your first figner as a barre across the 2nd fret, then your 3rd and 4th figners on the 4th and 5th strings (or 2nd and 3rd figners.) Will take practice, but can be done.Having got the chord shapes, you now have to change from one to another instantly. Do you know which chords go together, like G C D are the key of G. Ehen you’re playing a song you know, are you working out strum patterns with your right hand, or playing in arpeggios, where you sound the individual strings quickly one after the other?Hope this helps but get back to me if you need more

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