Unplugged

Legends

Nick Valensi

When one of the few rock stars of the 21st century, Alex Turner, opens his band's latest album by exclaiming "I just wanted to be one of The Strokes", one can understand the enormous weight of the band that was leading the last time that rock & roll and playing guitar was considered cool and was a massive hit with the public. That band's lead...

Zakk Wylde

 A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing? Zakk Wylde looks like Thor - with his ripped muscles, a long blond beard and swathed in black leather - but he sings as sweetly as an angel. He plays piano beautifully, but has named his kids Hendrix, Rhoads and Page. He looks ferocious to many, but writes such touching songs that countless fans write to him...

Albert Lee

“I’m Albert Lee and I’ve been around for quite a few years,” says the Grammy-award winning guitarist, with a wry smile on his face.   It is a typically self-effacing introduction to a man who has played alongside the Everley Brothers, Eric Clapton and Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as taking the place of stars like Jimmy Page and...

Rick Nielsen

Kurt Cobain, one of Cheap Trick's biggest fans, once said that Nirvana sounded like them, albeit with louder guitars. Almost anyone receiving such praise from one of the greatest icons in rock history would be proud, but Rick Nielsen is not just anyone, so he did not hesitate to say that he found it offensive, saying: "my guitars sound fucking...

Nigel Tufnel

What can we at Guitars Exchange say about Nigel Tufnel and Spinal Tap that hasn't already been said? We're talking about a unique guitarist, as well as one of the greatest collectors out there, someone who has a '59 Les Paul, a Black Beauty, a Fender Bass VI with the label still on that you can't play (or even look at), an L5, a '50s Flying V and...

Dick Wagner

When your name is Richard Wagner, it is understandable that you are good at music - and also that you should choose another name if you don't want to be confused with the creator of Ride of the Valkyries. But, even so, there are not many people to whom the name of Dick Wagner says something, even though he has been heard by millions of people...

Jim Morrison

It has been 50 years since the death of Jim Morrison, one of the greatest myths in the history of rock music. He is a character that continues to fascinate and repel almost in equal measure; one of those controversial figures that generates absolute love or total contempt. That is something that wouldn't matter much to him either way, the leader of...

Tommy Bolin

In Tommy Bolin's final live appearance opening for Jeff Beck on 3 December, 1976, he encored with his song Post Toastee, on which he sang: “Well my mind’s been overflowin’, ‘bout some things that don’t seem right […] Seems I got to beware.”   Bolin then posed with Beck backstage for his final photo, which appeared in...

Seymour W. Duncan

The tone that sets you apart  Seymour W. Duncan is a name many musicians associate with the manufacture of pickups, but he is actually a pretty mean guitarist and it was his love of playing, and a piece of ‘bad luck’ on stage, which led him to be the man who legends like Jimi Hendrix, Jackson Browne, Slash, Peter Frampton, Dave...

Susan Tedeschi

If you wish to hear Susan Tedeschi’s hugely impressive voice you could do worse than watch her sing on one of our accompanying ‘Tiny Desk’ Youtube videos. Standing beside her husband, Derek Trucks, and eight others from the Tedeschi Trucks Band, in a miniscule space, the show reveals the love, joy and complicity among the performers in a way...

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell forms, together with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, the Holy Trinity of the great singer-songwriters of the 20th century, but, paraphrasing David Crosby, we could say that Joni is as good a poet as any of them and a much better musician. Mitchell's guitar playing, using more than 50 different tunings and those chords that she herself...

James Williamson

There has probably never been a guitarist with a dirtier, wilder and more violent sound than James Williamson. His intro for Iggy & The Stooges' Search & Destroy is so wild that it makes many other rock & roll bands sound as if they were nice 'bubblegum' bands. Johnny Marr, one of his biggest fans said of him that he had "the technical...

Glen Buxton

Picture this: it is 1971 and Alice Cooper have four albums behind them but are still looking for that one big spark to really set the house on fire. Guitarist Glen Buxton has already contributed the riff to I'm Eighteen, which has given the band a lot of exposure, but he is now looking for something that will speak to every adolescent: and what...

John Mayer - Continuum (2006)

 Stepping Up, from Pop to Blues On Continuum (12 September, 2006; Colombia Records) John Mayer sought to draw on the spirit of Hendrix, Clapton and BB King to give his music a blues edge that had been lacking on his previous two offerings: Room for Squares (2001) and Heavier Things (2003). The gamble paid off as Continuum sold more than...

Cliff Gallup

The approximate time that Clifton E. Gallup, better known as Cliff Gallup, was in the front line of rock & roll was eight months, from February 1956, when he was part of Gene Vincent's backing band, until October 18 when he had his last recording session with the singer. In those eight months he recorded 35 songs with Vincent that form, along...

Fast Eddie Clarke

To talk about 'Fast' Eddie Clarke is to talk about Motörhead… yes, we know that he had already been playing for more than 10 years when he met Lemmy, including his time with Zeus, Curtis Knight's progressive blues band, and also that when he left the mythical band he formed Fastway, another more than acceptable band. But it was his six years...

Hank Williams

Hank Williams was called the hillbilly Shakespeare and, believe me, this is not an exaggeration; his imprint on country music is absolutely gigantic. In just six years of recording career Williams left a legacy that still remains the Rosetta Stone of the genre.   If the US popular music of the early twentieth century has what is...

Johnny Cash, the greatest storyteller

"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash" - these simple words served to assure the audience that they were before possibly the best storyteller in popular music of the twentieth century. There were people with better and more expressive voices, but nobody knew how to make better use of his than Johnny Cash; every word that came out of his mouth rang true and you...

Steve Jones

To understand the importance and significance of Steve Jones and the Sex Pistols, but also all the misunderstandings around them, just take a look at the British singles charts of December 1976, the same month in which they became stars, and also the most hated guys in the country. We see artists and groups like Johnny Mathis, ABBA, Mike Oldfield,...