Well, we finally got there. After delays and set backs, date changes and continued COVID cases making life difficult for all of us, The Nick Gladdish Band finally reached the day of their album launch gig.
The launch gig, on the 12th of September 2021, brought a year’s worth of writing, recording, mixing, printing and promotion to a close – at least, until I get to work finalising our next short tour, scheduled for Spring 2022.
Also playing were local singer songwriter Jenny Lascelles, performing a beautiful solo set from the piano, and The Baltics, a new indie group on the Newcastle local live music scene. Both acts were well received and it was great to be at a live show again. Our only other performance since the start of the pandemic was a warm up show in Stockton in August, in support of another talented young band, Gone Tomorrow. Safe to say the next generation of bands looks full of promise…
As for our set, we had a blast! We’d spent the best part of a year waiting to play the new songs live and our hour onstage seemed to fly by in a blur of smiles and camaraderie. Personally, I thought the guys in the band played a blinder. If there were any wrong notes played that night I certainly didn’t hear them.
The album is available in full on Band camp here. We’d love your support!
We’re having something of a break for the rest of the year. Everyone in this band has other projects to focus on, and it gives Nick time to write the songs for the next album (he could release a new album each year if he wanted to – I don’t know how he does it!). In the meantime, stay tuned for news of other fun things happening soon.
Single line lead guitar playing is great. But when you have six strings and four fingers to hold them down, why limit your playing to one note at a time? Throughout the history of guitar, players have used two notes (or more) at once, resulting in something halfway between a single note line and a full guitar chord. We do this for a few reasons:
It adds depth (useful in trio settings, for example)
To create a certain feel (which we will touch upon below)
To imply a chord through highlighting certain scale tones
To make certain phrases stand out
What is an interval?
An interval is he distance between two notes, in terms of pitch. Thinking of the C major scale (visualize the white keys on a piano), the root note (C) is 1, and the next note (D) is therefore 2, so the interval between C and D is known as a 2nd. More specifically, it is called a major 2nd because it is a whole tone away from C (whereas Db, only a semitone higher, is known as a minor 2nd). The next note in the C major scale would be E, which is called a major third (and Eb is the minor 3rd). I won’t bog us down in theory for this article, but if you need a more in-depth explanation, check out this video from Victoria Williams of mymusictheory.com.
It’s possible to use any interval when playing, especially lead lines. However, some are more effective than others. In this article, I’m going to stick to three types of interval: thirds, sixths and tenths, along with a few well-known examples in music. Go give some of these a listen and see if you can spot the intervals in use.
Common in any music with a Spanish in Latin twist, particularly on acoustic guitar. Try going up and down a major scale by playing each note with another note ‘two places higher’ in the scale on the next string up. For example, starting with a C by fretting the G string at the fifth fret, you ‘think up two notes’, skipping D, and playing E by fretting the B string at the fifth fret. The next note in the scale (D) would be played at the same time as F. Going up the fret board/scale, the notes should match up above each other like this:
It is also the most commonly used interval for twin guitar harmonies, such as:
Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town (recurring twin lead line after the choruses)
The Eagles – Hotel California (harmony lines at the very end, during fade-out)
One of my personal favourites, which I use a lot in my guitar playing. Sixths are essentially an inverted third, where the base note (eg, C) is played highest (such as one the E string at the 8th fret), while the harmony note (E or Eb) is played two strings lower (in this case, the G string, at the 9th fret for E, or the 8th fret for Eb).
They can highlight major and minor chords, and sound great when you slide into them up and down the scales you’re using, as well as chromatically (think of the stereotypical blues ‘ending’). They’re great for soul playing too, implying a chord or scale with only two notes (as with tenths – see below). I’m not alone in this – examples exist across the various genres that the guitar is used for, including:
Steve Cropper’s guitar intro to the classic Sam & Dave song Soul Man
Chuck Berry on the intro to You Never Can Tell
Steve Cropper’s guitar playing uses this time and time again, on many classic recordings from Otis Redding to The Blues Brothers. He had a knack for finding the right guitar line that complimented the songs he played on, without overpowering them, and rightly deserves his own article looking into his style in greater detail (watch this space)!
Tenths are essentially thirds, but with an additional octave between the two notes. This has the interesting effect of creating the impression of a chord, while still leaving a sense of space. It is the interval used in the opening phrase of the well-known classical guitar standard Lagrima. Here’s a chart to demonstrate where the tenth harmony for Bb (played alongside a D, two notes then one additional octave higher) across the guitar fretboard:
There has been a few examples of this in big singles recently. In each case, t tenths are used for the main guitar park in the songs:
Scar Tissue by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Love Yourself by Justin Bieber
Hold Back The River by James Bay
Tenths are also used in jazz. They provide a nice open-sounding stretch which is easy to play on guitar; they implied the chordal harmony while still leaving space for other instruments.
One thing that all three of these interval types have in common is their ability to reflect a major or minor chord. I think of them as the same interval, using a base note of C as an example again:
Third: C, played with an E (2 tones higher)
Sixth: An inverted third; C is played with an E a sixth lower (4 tones)
Tenth: A third, plus one additional octave between both notes; C, plus E (8 tones higher)
Each has it’s own feel and characteristic, and they are not always as interchangeable as you might think. Try playing around with them, across major and minor scales, then in your solos, and let me know how you get on!
Coming next: Part two of this subject will focus on intervals which can utilised over major and minor chords – fourths and fifths.
You might have noticed that recent posts have featured poems (especially Haiku) rather than my usual guitar or music-related topics. Well, you don’t have to worry about this site turning away from it’s main focus. For one thing, my efforts aren’t very good!
Due to COVID19, almost no one is gigging at the moment. Since March, I have managed one socially distanced gig in a garden with the Nick Gladdish Band, but otherwise have found myself with more free time on my hands, particularly on weekend evenings. All future gigs and musical projects are postponed. Also, not having much means (or space) to embark on live streaming or recording projects from home, I found my creative juices were becoming pent up, and seem to have manifested themselves via written ideas, rather than musical ones.
I decided not to be embarrassed about my poems any more
I recently discovered that a good friend has a passion for a very niche form of short story writing, which was as pleasing to learn as it was unexpected. The fact that I was happy for my friend made me realise that I shouldn’t have any shame in putting my own silly little rhymes and Haiku out into the world.
I enjoy writing them
Surely that’s the most important thing? I mentioned in my recent post about using the recent lockdown as a reminder to do the things you enjoy, when you can. For me, this is one of those things. Like a Sudoku, they serve to keep my sharp, in a creative sense, until I can start rehearsing my own musical compositions and playing gigs again.
This blog will still continue to be about guitar. music, music therapy and all sorts of arts-related subjects. Writing these articles are another way of channeling my creative urges, and if someone learns a little extra knowledge as a result, fantastic. In time, I will start to announce new tours, projects, albums, etc, as they start to emerge from our cultural hibernation – but expect to see the odd poem thrown in there as well, from time to time!