Kurt's Guide to Modern Guitar Featuring Jeff Beck

by Kurt
22 replies
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We've had a lot of threads about great guitar players and some here know I'm a huge Jeff Beck fan. But those of you that have heard of Jeff Beck probably haven't listened to his newer stuff. He has kept progressing, adding new sounds and has pushed the limits of the tones and sounds a guitar can make.

He isn't about moving his fingers as fast as possible, with JB it's all about creating new and unique sounds you've never heard before, and he does it with his playing, not through the use of "gadgets". JB is all about creating and not repeating.

If you haven't listened to his newer stuff, here's some songs from his 2003 album called "Jeff". It isn't for all tastes, but if you can handle experimentation which means some stuff works and other stuff may not, give these songs a listen. I promise you've never heard anything like this before.

Let's start off with something a little more "usual" sounding than the rest...This song has a nice, modern groove:



Let's see if you can handle this one...Extreme distortion:


Pure emotion and another cool sound:


As pretty as a guitar can sound:


Let's get dirty:


This song is just for fun:


A techno mix of rythms and sounds:
  • Profile picture of the author Matt Bard
    Kurt, I too am a big fan of his but like you said I am one of those that haven't heard his newer stuff.

    I think I drifted away when he was doing a lot of soundtracks to some indie movies. I think :confused:

    At least I was under that impression for whatever reason and I just didn't keep up with him.

    This is so cool.

    Thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by Matt M View Post

      Kurt, I too am a big fan of his but like you said I am one of those that haven't heard his newer stuff.

      I think I drifted away when he was doing a lot of soundtracks to some indie movies. I think :confused:

      At least I was under that impression for whatever reason and I just didn't keep up with him.

      This is so cool.

      Thanks
      He's got a couple of other albums out that are just amazing...Who Else and You Had it Coming also really push the boundries of guitar playing.

      He has another called Crazy Legs which is his tribute to his favorite guitar player, a guy named Cliff Gallop that was the first guitar player for Gene Vincent...So it's an album of Gene Vincent music where JB stays true to the original sound.

      JB is coming out with another album in a month or two...It supposed to have a full orchestra on it, which I'm not too sure, but I will still check it out.

      Here's JB version of Muddy Waters "Rollin and Tumblin" from "You Had it Coming", with Imogen Heap on vocals:


      I couldn't decide which version I liked better, so here's the live version with a different sound:
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Bard
    Kurt, funny that you brought up Gene Vincent. I had a discussion with a couple of young guys who were trying to make a point about the British guitar player's style of playing and Elvis.

    I said that actually most of the British guitarists were influenced more by Gene Vincent and Cliff Gallop than Elvis.

    You can imagine the reaction I got.

    These guys also thought it was blasphemous of me to suggest that Elvis really made his start stealing from black artists and making it more palatable for white audiences.

    That was pretty much the end of that discussion.

    You can tell the guitar players from the people that just "like rock".

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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Hey Matt,

    Cliff Gallop is an interesting story...He only played with Vincent for a short time, then left the band to raise a family. I think he bacame a school bus driver...It was decades before he was told he had a cult following of guitar players, and he hadn't hurt of Beck, Clapton or any of the others. He just lead a simple country life after Gene Vincent.








    Here's a cool video of JB, Tom Jones and Jools Holland playing Be Bop a Lula...Jeff stays true to Gallop's original playing.

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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Hi Kurt:

      Now I understand why you love Jeff Beck so much.

      I took my lunch hour to listen to these pieces. It's really the first time I've
      ever really listened to Jeff Beck from an artistic viewpoint.

      A lot of his playing isn't so strange to me because I grew up listening to a
      lot of experimental music like John Cage. But as guitars go, this is some
      very unique stuff. Listen to some of the bends on JB's Blues. I'd love to
      actually see the fingerings for some of these pieces.

      There is no question that as far as originality, there is nobody like him. Maybe
      Hendrix, but I prefer to listen to this. Jimi was just too out there, even for
      me.

      Anyway, this is great stuff to listen to for anybody who wants to really
      broaden his playing.

      Now, if only I could play like Jeff Beck.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
        Oh and about Bulgaria.

        Wow...just amazing.
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        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
          I want to point out one thing that probably only gets picked up by musicians.

          The more way out pieces where Jeff really is all over the place, the song
          structure is a simple bass riff or single chord. This makes it easier to get]
          creative with your playing whereas songs with many chord changes tends
          to box you in more.

          This is the problem with a lot of popular music. Because it has to appeal to
          the masses, it doesn't lend itself to creativity.

          This is why Jeff Beck is able to do what he does because he's done away
          with the "pop" conventions that has made most music, as Kurt has alluded
          to, dull and pretty much the same old same old.

          In other words, it's more about the money than the music.

          Sad...but true.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Hey Steven,

    JB is in a good situation artistically in that he's got a big enough following that he can sell records, but not so big that he has to conform to a certain sound.

    To me what makes JB unique is how is has been progressive for 50 years. When you really think about this, it's more than impressive. Chuck Berry was great, but his sound was created in about 5 years and hasn't changed. While the Stones have new songs, their music really hasn't changed since the 60s. The Beatles broke up after a few years. Clapton and Page have the same sound and style they've had since the 70s.

    Again, not to knock Stevie Vai, but on the thread that had some of his stuff posted, it all sounded like the same guitar player. JB varies his sounds and styles from song to song.

    And he's a master of all styles...He played the c/w band in the movie "Twins", has done blues, rockabilly, fussion, reggae, metal, the groove line for Stevie Wonder's "superstition", and more. His next album (due out soon) will have a full orchestra on it.

    >The more way out pieces where Jeff really is all over the place, the song
    structure is a simple bass riff or single chord.

    Exactly. This is why JB has joined with younger people on his last few albums. He says the one thing that really gets him going is a great rythim/beat.

    This video features Tal Wilkenfeld on bass, whose only about 24 and has played bass with JB for the past few years. She had only been playing the bass for a couple of years when she recorded her first album and is considered to be among the best young bass players around...He really seems to feed off her youth in many of their jams.

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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      Hey Steven,

      JB is in a good situation artistically in that he's got a big enough following that he can sell records, but not so big that he has to conform to a certain sound.

      To me what makes JB unique is how is has been progressive for 50 years. When you really think about this, it's more than impressive. Chuck Berry was great, but his sound was created in about 5 years and hasn't changed. While the Stones have new songs, their music really hasn't changed since the 60s. The Beatles broke up after a few years. Clapton and Page have the same sound and style they've had since the 70s.

      Again, not to knock Stevie Vai, but on the thread that had some of his stuff posted, it all sounded like the same guitar player. JB varies his sounds and styles from song to song.

      And he's a master of all styles...He played the c/w band in the movie "Twins", has done blues, rockabilly, fussion, reggae, metal, the groove line for Stevie Wonder's "superstition", and more. His next album (due out soon) will have a full orchestra on it.

      >The more way out pieces where Jeff really is all over the place, the song
      structure is a simple bass riff or single chord.

      Exactly. This is why JB has joined with younger people on his last few albums. He says the one thing that really gets him going is a great rythim/beat.

      This video features Tal Wilkenfeld on bass, whose only about 24 and has played bass with JB for the past few years. She had only been playing the bass for a couple of years when she recorded her first album and is considered to be among the best young bass players around...He really seems to feed off her youth in many of their jams.

      YouTube- Broadcast Yourself.

      Kurt...you've made me a Jeff Beck fan. In fact, I sent Bulgaria to my
      daughter and she loved it. Now I'm getting her into Jeff Beck.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    JB is a master of distortion, but he also plays the purest notes anywhere...Here's some of his more pretty music, played with feeling. This collection of songs showcase how Jeff can imitate/replace human vocals.

    This first is called "Where Were You" and was recorded in 1988(?). At that time, JB said it was the hardest song for him to play. Just unbelievable the sounds he can make (and control)...If this song doesn't make you feel, nothing will:




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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Hey Steven,

    It's still Valentines Day, let's dedicate this one to your Mom:

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    • Profile picture of the author Bruce Arnold
      If you've enjoyed these Jeff Beck videos, run, don't walk and get the DVD "Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott's". Amazon has it - be sure to get the DVD instead of the CD.

      Steve, you can watch Beck's technique throughout this fantastic DVD.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Here's JB doing a couple of Beatles tunes:

    From 1975


    Grammy nominee from 2009 (recorded in 2007)


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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Here's a quick one: Stevie Wonder wrote this song for JB and JB actually recorded it before the Stevie Wonder version...But Stevie didn't like the arrangement and decided to release it himself, and JB also played the guitar on SW's release.

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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Jeff Beck with....

    This post will be of videos of JB playing with other artists.

    The first is with Brit comedian Lenny Henry, great blues guitar and jokes.

    Some SERIOUS blues with Buddy Guy:

    With Billy Gibbons, playing some Jimi:

    With Imelda May - Tribute to Less Paul:

    Now with Less Paul...What a fun jam:

    With Sting:

    With Kelly Clarkson...A very pretty song, shows how JB can take a back seat and use his guitar to accent the lead singer:

    With BB:


    With Jennifer Batten:

    And...With SRV...I was at this concert:
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Wow...wow...wow.

      I still have about 4 or 5 videos to still watch (when I'm alone) but what I've
      seen so far has been nothing short of amazing.

      Is there anything that Jeff Beck can't play? He seems to be able to adapt
      to just about any style.

      Watching him and Les Paul was a piece of history that we'll never get back
      again.

      Thanks Kurt...This is REALLY great stuff.

      ** EDIT **

      Just listened to Jeff with BB.

      How does he play like that?

      Amazing...just amazing.
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      • Profile picture of the author Lawrh
        This link is for you Kurt -

        25 Awesome Guitars
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    OK...Here's my favorite JB songs. Beck is probably the only person that I like better in the studio than live. In the studio he can "accompany" himself and will give layers to a song that are just incredible.

    Roy's Toy - About a guy name Roy that customizes corvettes...Basically a song dedicated to the Vette. You really need to listen to this song a couple of times to pick up on some of the subtle "sound effects" layered in the background. Great modern rock and roll and #1 on my iPod for "most played":



    Savoy, with Terry Bozzio on drums from around 1988...Maybe the best album cover of all time.

    Here's JB with bass great doing a song reggae feel called Jamacian Boy...Nothing spectacular, just a cool, laid-back jam. I love how the two play together. Sorry about the video, it's the only version of the song I could find:

    This is old school, off the album Truth, with Rod Stewart...They're doing an old Howlin Wolf song...Like the album says something like "I stole this from Howlin Wolf, but he doesn't mind because I asked him":

    Another classic..Amazing how many different sounds JB can play and still keep the melody going:

    And to me, JB is stilll at his best during his "fusion" days during the mid 70's.

    With Jan Hammer 1975:

    Come Dancing:

    This may be my favorite song of all time, and the one I still think of first when I hear the name "Jeff Beck":
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    • Profile picture of the author Bjarne Eldhuset
      The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (the Norwegian government-owned radio and television public broadcasting company) has a lot of freely viewable content.

      Whilst browsing today, I saw this one and a half our long Jeff Beck consert. Hopefully you will be able to view this from other countries too:
      Jeff Beck - While my guitar gently sings

      (It's great to listen to while reading on the warrior forum too :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    This song are from Jeff's latest album, another with the great Imelda May on vocals. She's big in the UK, but isn't getting her due in the US...What a great combo they are:


    Here they are together live:



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