Havas Worldwide London Executive Creative Director Mark Fairbanks calls on the evolution of electric guitar music for daily inspiration
The electric guitar.
Made of wood (usually).
Yes there are Stratocasters, Telecasters, Les Pauls, Flying Vs etc but to all intents and purposes the electric guitar is a remarkably unchanging beast.
Until, that is, it’s placed in the hands of someone who has lovingly, painstakingly learnt to make it sing. Suddenly it is reinvented.
First there was Robert Johnson.
Then came Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and John Lee Hooker. Everyone thought that was how you played guitar.
Apparently Eric Clapton disagreed. Then suddenly this was how you played the ‘axe’. But even Clapton’s own band, The Yardbirds, went from old ‘Slowhand’ to Jeff Beck and then onto Jimmy Page. All virtuosos, all very different.
And whilst all that was going on, along came a certain Jimi Hendrix who set alight as many synapses watching the stage as he did guitars on it.
Surely that was as far as incendiary guitar playing could go?
Try telling that to people whose neck hair leapt to the sounds of Tony Iommi, Johnny Ramone, Dave Gilmour, Eddie Van Halen, Ry Cooder, Johnny Marr, John Squire, Kerry King, Jonny Greenwood and countless others.
And then, when even I think no one can get anything new out of the old six-string warhorse, along comes Tom Marello (from Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave and more).
Why do I find this all so inspiring?
Because when I come up against a mental brick wall, it reminds me that there is always another way.
No matter what’s gone before and how good, there is always something fresh and exciting just waiting to be discovered. It just takes time, energy and a willingness to try.
Now where did I put that Mastodon CD?
Mark Fairbanks is Executive Creative Director at Havas Worldwide London
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Last updated 09/05/2014