Hello – I’m David Kernohan (dkernohan on twitter) and as well as the various other things I do I am a guitar player.
I started playing when I was about 8 years old, but there was always a guitar lying around when I was growing up. My Dad plays, and he taught me my first chords. After that I was hooked, picking up ideas and techniques from my Dad, friends who played, music I listened to. I had about a year of semi-formal guitar lessons when I was about 16, and have picked up various books over the year. It was these latter two that helped me get my head around scales, but I’ve always much preferred playing rhythm to lead.
I have a horrible feeling that a “guitar solo”, in the traditional foot-on-the-monitor headbanging manner, is a complete anachronism in 2013. There’s a few current players that I do enjoy listening to though:
- Richard Thompson (Fairport Convention, Solo)
- Efrim Menuk (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra)
- Graham Coxon (Blur, Solo)
I guess what connects them is their use of unorthodox techniques and sounds as a means of expression, in place of the usual guitarists trick-bag of blues scales, overdrive and semitone bends.
Both of the bands I work with ask me to play the occasional solo, which is something I struggle with. With the jazz band I do have the leeway to be a little more textured and experimental, but the barn dance band do ask me to do a lot of stuff in the traditional rock idiom. I’m hoping to use the experience of sharing and learning from Talons adherents to get past this issue and unleash my inner wailing rock god!
Kamsin is a 1992 hard-tail Patrick Eggle Berlin in emerald burst, with a rosewood neck, locking tuners and two tappable factory-fitted Seymour Duncan humbuckers. She’s sophisticated and quite restrained, with a smooth tone especially from the neck pick-up.
Shirley is an AXL telecaster copy in a (very distressed) white finish. She’s got two EMG pick-ups, the neck one being an absolute joy for playing Curtis Mayfield/Steve Cropper -esque soul/funk fills. She seems to bring out the messier, noisier side of my playing.
I’ve had the same, very cheap, acoustic dreadnought since I was 16. One of the tuners is hanging off by one long screw, and it’s got a dead spot just above the 12th fret on the G and D strings.
I don’t like to get too distorted – if it gets too much I can’t hear the pick on the strings or the fingers on the fret board. I do play through an amp-simulator/effects unit but I use very few effects – usually a wah pedal or a phaser. I guess if I could spend any money on any amplifier I’d be using a Fender Twin, but as I like to have the option of playing my keyboard through the same ring I use a mono full range PA speaker with a cabinet simulator.
Who are some interesting current players that I should be listening to, especially in terms of interesting improvised “lead” parts?
Do other people find that they play in different ways with different guitars? Or is that just me being odd?
What are some interesting ways to approach lead playing?