The starting points in the remarkable songwriting catalog of an often overlooked guitarist
This October marks the fifth anniversary of Tom Petty's untimely death. The American icon went into cardiac arrest and died on October 2, 2017, having contributed far more than his fair share to the American songbook over a career spanning over 40 years.
Celebrated as a songwriter but often overlooked as a guitarist in his own right, Petty was a master of his craft with a natural talent for how to time-tempo a song for maximum emotion and relaxation - often with just a handful of four chords. or less to do. then. In addition to your longtime accompliceMike Campell, he pioneered a succinct, understated, and distinctly American brand of guitar-led rock 'n' roll that positioned him as a working-class hero or "guitarist of the people."
Whether with The Heartbreakers, Traveling Wilburys or on his own as a solo artist, Petty belonged to a relatively exclusive club of guitarists who could never be accused of playing too hard, but he had an instantly recognizable sonic fingerprint and style.
It has become synonymous with the rhythmic, squeaky sound of Rickenbacker guitars, influenced by bands likeOs Beatlesand The Byrds, and learned the lessons he internalized from listening to their songs over and over as a youth to create richly textured songs with layer upon layer of six-string, twelve-string, acoustic andelectric guitars.
With so many standout songs to choose from, it's no easy task to narrow them down to a list of five essential songs. Petty's biggest hit Free Fallin' is packed with beautiful floating chords and layered guitar tracks. Songs like "American Girl" and "I Won't Back Down" are masterclasses of upbeat rock, while the electric sitar "Out There" and the '80s production of "Don't Come Around Here." shining example of Petty's ability to move with musical trends while maintaining his unique musical identity.
But by the time you get to this list, chances are you're familiar with all the hits. Here, we've selected five lesser-travelled greats from the Tom Petty canon to celebrate an artist, bandleader and guitarist we sorely miss the world over...
1. Zusammenbruch – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (1976)
"Breakdown" was recorded at Shelter's Hollywood studio in 1976 for the self-titled debut of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. With the support of producer Denny Cordell, the album would become the band's first big hit, but to Petty's disappointment, it did not attract much attention on American soil.
However, when the band toured the UK the following year, they were welcomed by both new wave and punk fans, thanks to their incisive songwriting and bold dual-guitar sound. In an interview in Peter Bogdanovich's excellent documentary about the band, Runnin' Down A Dream, Petty reflects on how he and The Heartbreakers "started out as sort of an alternative band. It was around the time when rock music itself got really big and bloated and the songs became seven-minute exercises in, you know, bullshit.
At just two minutes and forty-four seconds, 'Breakdown' was the complete opposite of that, becoming one of the band's first UK hit songs. It would eventually break the top 40 in the US as well.
In lead guitar terms, the standout element of the song is the slinky, bluesy descending minor pentatonic chorus played by Mike Campbell over the backing of Petty, who repeats the Am and G chords.
The story goes that Campbell originally only intended to play the now-classic and highly singable line at the end of the song, but was encouraged to do a hook when Dwight Twilley (who had been brought into the studio to play on some backing-supply vocal songs) voiced the how much he loved it. Petty agreed and the track was re-recorded with the lick now front and center.
A prominent early performance of the song occurs on a 1978 episode of The Old Gray Whistle Test, in which Campbell uses his Gold Top Les Paul Standard with capless P-90 pickups and Petty uses a Gibson Flying V - the guitar that inspired the song. The Heartbreakers album. classic "pierced heart" logo.
Interestingly, although Petty is pictured with this guitar during the UK tour (perhaps because of its superior and brand-appropriate appearance), he cut his guitar parts on the album with a 1964Fender StratocasterCampbell owned because he did not own an electric guitar at the time of recording.
Here Comes My Girl - Damn Torpedoes (1979)
Released as the third single from TPATH's commercially successful album, Here Comes My Girl was written by Mike Campbell with Tom Petty and recorded at Sound City Studios with new producer Jimmy Iovine at the helm.
Iovine was brought in to impart some of that New York grit that the band loved so much about their work.Bruce Springsteene Patti Smith.
The track starts off with some simple but not-so-conventional chord choices that repeat from the intro to the end of the first verse. The first is a swamp standard A major, but the second is a slightly spicy and flashy B/A.
By simply moving the A major chord up two frets but letting the open A string sound lower, Petty achieves a thrilling loop as he jumps between the two chords and delivers his thoughtful verses over the top/sings
Tension builds through an entire verse before dissipating in glorious, energetic heart-rock style as the first beat of the chorus's big E major chord arrives. It's a masterclass in how to accomplish a lot without having to do it. Get that "expensive" chord book that gathers dust on many guitarists' shelves.
The album on which "Here Comes My Girl" appears is also famous for its cover photo, which shows Petty holding a 1967 Rickenbacker 660/12 12-string guitar with a Fireglo finish. This is what first made Tom Petty synonymous with Rickenbacker guitars and, as an unintended side effect, association with the band has helped to strengthen the Rickenbacker brand image to no end. They paid off Petty in 1991 with a subscription model - the Rickenbacker 660/12TP.
Interestingly, the guitar on the album cover actually belonged to Mike Campbell, and he was the one who used it on Here Comes My Girl for all the tasty licks, embellishments, and alternate chord voices that elevate the song and add color to the lead chords played by Petti. .
The Wait - Difficult Promises (1981)
Contrary to its name, "The Waiting" is a shining example of a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers song, straight from the "don't bore us, go for the chorus" songwriting school. It was released as the first single of 1981hard promises,which was recorded at the legendary Sound City Studios in Los Angeles and produced by Jimmy Iovine.
The song's screeching opening chords are reminiscent of the style developed by Rickenbacker 12-string enthusiast and founding member Roger McGuinn, who heavily influenced Petty as a teenager by learning to play the guitar and write songs.
Petty prided himself on being a great drummer who served the music and didn't give a shit about showing off. In a 1986 issue of Guitar Player magazine, he was quoted as saying: "It's a dying art, I tell you. Rhythm guitar is a very important journey and a lot of people miss it. A lot of these kids today are just learning all that stuff with Ritchie Blackmore, but they don't know a chord that could save their lives. They can't write a song, but they can play a solo. I can use a tape. I can chug it along. That's an important thing. ”
The Waiting is an excellent example of Tom Petty's great functional chord skill. The simple chords in the G, G/F#, Asus4 and D progression in the intro have the common denominator that the third finger is firmly seated on the third fret of the B string to create a high D note that runs through the sounds.
The use of floating chords is also characteristic of Petty's playing. For example, when he played his megahit Free Fallin, he relied heavily on the Asus2 chord form, but raised it a semitone with a capo on the first fret. Floating chords help create that airy, not entirely dissolved feel that helps maintain the endless repeatability of many of Petty's progressions.
On The Waiting, he also adds flavor to his performance using a right-hand technique that falls somewhere between strumming and arpeggiating the individual chord notes. This creates a fluid, natural cadence that also invites cyclic repetition of the progression. The use of a twelve-string guitar gives the whole a shimmer, sparkle and that delightful, slightly lagged sound quality that is so characteristic of Tom Petty at this point in his career.
Runnin Down A Dream from Full Moon Fever (1989)
Driving rocker Runnin Down A Dream was released in 1989 as the second single from Tom Petty's debut solo album, Full Moon Fever. The album was produced by Jeff Lynne, who took the album in a brighter, more polished direction than previous, more down-to-earth records that Petty had done with the whole band.
The song's star is its descending riff played by Mike Campbell on the low E string. Notably, even in solo appearances, Petty was rarely seen without his longtime lieutenant, and the two Traveling Wilburys albums were just the only two significant studio projects he tackled without Campbell in their partnership spanning over 40 years.
One of Petty's calling cards was using various combinations of six strings, twelve strings, electric and acoustic guitars, and various chord voicings to get maximum texture from single chords. Below the main riff of "Runnin Down A Dream", a clean, contrasting guitar tone is used for the E major chord that Petty strums and resounds, and the studio version's chorus has additional, bright layers of acoustic guitar playing between the chorus. vocal. . Using a light, thin pick with some flexibility is a good way to reproduce that percussive strumming sound.
Rounding out this relentless anthem, Campbell brings the track to an epic, searing conclusion with a fast, hammer-filled, pentatonic-based solo that he allegedly recorded in one take—while Petty and Lynne watched in disbelief.
Wild Flowers - Wild Flowers (1994)
1994 Wild Flowers was the best-selling album of Petty's career, reaching triple platinum status just nine months after its release in 1994. It was his second "solo" album, although it featured all members of The Heartbreakers except Stanley Lynch, and was his first album he made with legendary producer Rick Rubin. Petty himself considered it his best work.
The album's title track is a singer-songwriter-style acoustic ditty reminiscent of the jingle-jangle of the 1960s California folk scene and the California landscape itself. Musically, Wildflowers is simple but superbly executed. It mainly consists of Petty singing and strumming the accompanying guitar part, while various other modest bass, harpsichord, piano, harmonium, and drum elements accentuate the chord changes at various points.
Building the instrumentation around a repetitive chord progression is a great tactic for keeping things interesting and elevating the simple three-chord folk song to something majestic and graceful enough to be played over and over again.
Played live, like the entire session, Wildflowers was cut without a computerized click trail, giving it a natural, human feel - something Rick Rubin was particularly keen on following the meticulously layered approach that Jeff Lynne had favored on the solo album. Petty's previous.
In Mary Wharton's documentary about the making of the albumTom Petty:Somewhere where you feel free,Rick Rubin explains the thinking behind this approach: “When you have six or twelve guitars playing the same thing, it stops sounding like a guy playing guitar and more like a guitar. What we're trying to do now is get away from the idea of the guitar as a bed, and more as a standout instrument being played by one person, with string and finger noise and the personality of a guitarist, as opposed to just the sound of a guitar."
"This guitar was developed over decades" - Gibson Tom Petty SJ-200 Wildflower acoustic guitar unveiled
During the session, Petty used a Martin Dreadnought and a Gibson SJ-200 for most of his guitar parts. As a shortcut (albeit an expensive one) to the "Wildflowers" sound, Gibson has released a small batch of exclusive Tom Petty SJ-200 Wildflower guitars inspired by Petty's original and featuring the distinctive "Batwing" pickguard. Likewise, in the early 2000s, Martin made available a limited edition dreadnought signed by Tom Petty in the form of the HD-40 TP, which featured Italian alpine spruce tops, Sitka spruce reinforcement and Indian rosewood back and sides for the coveted warmth, tonal balance and, of course, great projection.
In the song, the guitar part sounds extra sweet when playing it on the neck with a capo on the fifth fret.
Mike Campbell for over 30 years with Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
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Is Tom Petty considered a good guitarist? ›
Celebrated as a songwriter, but often overlooked as a guitarist in his own right, Petty was a master craftsman, with a natural knack for knowing how to pace a song for maximum tension and release - often using just a handful of four chords or fewer to do so.What is Tom Petty's number one song? ›
With the exception of “Stop Draggin' My Heart Around,” his breakthrough duet with Stevie Nicks, “Free Fallin'” is the biggest hit of Petty's career.What is the best Tom Petty guitar? ›
Petty has used a variety of different guitars over the years, but he is most associated with the Fender Stratocaster. He has said that the Strat is his “favorite electric guitar.” In addition to the Strat, Petty also frequently uses a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Telecaster.Who is the number one ranked guitarist ever? ›
1: Jimmy Page
The mastermind behind hard-rock giants Led Zeppelin is without a doubt the best guitarists who ever lived. Jimmy Page's clamorous fusion of blues-rock and hyperactive riffage took the revolutionary spirit of Jimi Hendrix's innovations and turned them into pure magic.
|1||Guthrie Govan||All-Around Technical Virtuoso|
|2||Pat Metheny||Jazz Voicing & Picking|
|3||Tommy Emmanuel||One-Man Band|
|4||Steve Vai||Technical & Harmonic Prowess|
Guinness World Records also states that double A-side charity single "Candle in the Wind 1997"/"Something About the Way You Look Tonight" (1997) by Elton John (rewritten as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, rather than Marilyn Monroe in the original 1973 version), is "the biggest-selling single since UK and US ...What is considered the greatest song of all time? ›
- Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana.
- Imagine - John Lennon.
- One - U2.
- Billie Jean - Michael Jackson.
- Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen.
- Hey Jude - The Beatles.
- Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan.
- I Can't Get No Satisfaction - Rolling Stones.
In this Mary Jane's Last Dance guitar lesson video, I will show you how to play this great song from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in it's entirety. The tuning is standard tuning, E A D G B E.What pedals did Tom Petty use? ›
- Ampeg Tube DI.
- Avalon U5 preamp.
- Boss CE-2 Chorus.
- Boss RV-3 Digital Reverb/Delay.
- Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal.
- Demeter Amplification Tremulator.
- Fender '57 Mini Twin Amp.
- Furman PM-Pro Series II Power Conditioner.
What was Elvis Presley's Favourite guitar? ›
Elvis often used Gibson SJ-200 acoustic guitars, aka “The King of Flat Tops.” Gibson has now created Elvis' favorite SJ-200 in Ebony that is based on a guitar that was given to Elvis as a gift at a recording session at RCA Studio B in Nashville, TN in the mid-1960's.What is the hardest song in guitar? ›
- Joe Satriani – The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing.
- John Petrucci – Damage Control.
- Steve Vai – Juice.
- Eddie Van Halen – Eruption.
- Animals as Leaders – CAFO.
The six-string F chord is one of the hardest standard chord shape to play on the guitar. When many people try to play the F chord on guitar (and often succeed), it's with far too much struggle and effort than is actually necessary. Even extremely influential guitarists can have a hard time with barre chords.Who does Eric Clapton think is the best guitar player? ›
However, the greatest, according to Eric Clapton, the bonafide guitar god, is Albert Lee. The guitarist has worked with some big names, including Emmylou Harris and The Everly Brothers. Considering Clapton's appraisal, we all should be listening to Lee: “He's the greatest guitarist in the world. The ultimate virtuoso.Who is the best guitarist in America? ›
- Jimi Hendrix.
- B.B. King.
- Stevie Ray Vaughan.
- Chuck Berry.
- Nancy Wilson.
- Joe Pass.
- Frank Zappa.
- Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
But there's a good chance that on most occasions, if you asked Hendrix who the best around was, he'd answer “Billy Gibbons”.Who did Eddie Van Halen think was the best guitarist? ›
Eddie's most commonly cited early guitar hero is Eric Clapton; in interviews he always cited EC as his great early inspiration, but he was also a great fan of Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore and indeed Allan Holdsworth.Who is the greatest living rock guitarist? ›
1. Best rock guitarist, 2021: Jake Kiszka (Greta Van Fleet)What song stayed number 1 longest? ›
"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.What are the top 3 songs of all time? ›
- 1 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen. ...
- 2 Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin. ...
- 3 Imagine - John Lennon. ...
- 4 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana. ...
- 5 One - Metallica. ...
- 6 Hotel California - Eagles. ...
- 7 Hey Jude - The Beatles. ...
- 8 Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd.
What is the 1 rock song of all time? ›
- 1) LED ZEPPELIN - STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. ...
- 2) QUEEN - BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. ...
- 3) LYNYRD SKYNYRD - FREE BIRD. ...
- 4) DEEP PURPLE - SMOKE ON THE WATER. ...
- 5) PINK FLOYD - COMFORTABLY NUMB. ...
- 6) LED ZEPPELIN - KASHMIR. ...
- 7) RAINBOW - STARGAZER. ...
- 8) FREE - ALL RIGHT NOW.
Michael Jackson's Thriller, estimated to have sold 70 million copies worldwide, is the best-selling album ever. Jackson also currently has the highest number of albums on the list with five, Celine Dion has four, while the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Madonna and Whitney Houston each have three.What is the most popular song in America? ›
- (1) Flowers. Miley Cyrus. ...
- (2) Kill Bill. SZA. ...
- (4) Boy's A Liar, Pt. Pinkpantheress and Ice Spice. ...
- (3) Creepin' Metro Boomin featuring The Weeknd and 21 Savage. ...
- (5) Last Night. Morgan Wallen. ...
- (7) Die For You. The Weeknd. ...
- (6) Unholy. Sam Smith and Kim Petras. ...
- (8) Anti-hero. Taylor Swift.
|"Best Song Ever"|
|Songwriter(s)||Wayne Hector John Ryan Ed Drewett Julian Bunetta|
|Producer(s)||Julian Bunetta John Ryan Matt Rad|
|One Direction singles chronology|
He took guitar lessons from Don Felder of The Eagles
Felder was four years older than Petty and taught him how to play the guitar when he was a mere teenager.
This tuning (D,G,C,F,A,D-a quarter step flat) was used extensively on “Walk” and “A New Level.” Further use of this tuning was used on Far Beyond Driven (“Becoming,” “I'm Broken,” “5 Minutes Alone,” etc.), and by Reinventing the Steel it was Dime's main “standard” tuning.”What tuning is ACDC? ›
E-Standard 1/2 Step Down: D# or Eb. Not really an odd tuning, but they've done a few songs in it so I thought I'd include it. Night Prowler, Love Hungry Man, and Rock Or Bust are all in Eb, as well as some others.What pedal did Jimmy Page use? ›
The Tone Bender Fuzz
The Tone Bender is a fuzz pedal made very famous in the 60s and 70s thanks to users like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and more.
Pedal Effects / Pedal Settings
The Smashing Pumpkins sound is created with a very wide range of pedals, so it is not easy to get the exact sound, but it is easy to get close. While there are many pedals in the setup, the star of the show was always the Electro Harmonix Big Muff pedal.
Eddie Van Halen Pedals - What Pedals Did Eddie Van Halen Use? In summary, the main gear Eddie Van Halen uses and main pedals Eddie used were a phaser, ideally a Phase 90 and a delay pedal, ideally an Echoplex all put through a 5150 amplifier. The rest is up to you!
What was John Lennon's Favourite guitar? ›
Gibson J-160E de 1964
The second of the J-160Es is the guitar that Lennon used most times, being, possibly, the most important of his guitars. This is the song that he used as his main instrument, and therefore to compose, from the times of Beatles For Sale until his death in 1980.
- Paul Simon.
- Nick Drake.
- Chet Atkins.
- Maybelle Carter.
- Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten.
- Joni Mitchell.
- John Fahey.
He used that guitar all through high school, and even in his early career. He owned many more, and much nicer, guitars during his career, and used many prop guitars in his movies. The guitar is the instrument most associated with Elvis, and while he was a good player, he wasn't a virtuoso.What is the most famous guitar riff? ›
- 5: Guns N' Roses: Sweet Child O' Mine (1988) ...
- 4: Deep Purple: Smoke On The Water (1972) ...
- 3: The Rolling Stones: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction) (1965) ...
- 2: Chuck Berry: Johnny B Goode (1958) ...
- 1: Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991) ...
- The best of the rest.
Although many feel it takes longer to master, the piano is a bit easier to actually play. If we look at the technical differences, the theory that goes into mastering both is quite different. The structure of a piano is quite logical, as is the sheet music.What song has the greatest guitar solo? ›
1. "Stairway to Heaven" — Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin (1971) Since its release in 1971, "Stairway to Heaven" has topped numerous lists as the best rock song and best guitar solo of all time, and it's primarily thanks to the masterful architecture of Jimmy Page's guitar solo.What song do you not play in a guitar store? ›
Why Is Stairway To Heaven Banned In Guitar Stores? “Stairway to Heaven” isn't actually banned in most guitar stores. The trope originates from the movie, Wayne's World, and is a tongue-in-cheek remark at how the song is overplayed by people trying out guitars in music stores.What is the happiest guitar chord? ›
They found that the sound most consistently associated with happy lyrics was the Minor 7th chord – and people apparently feel happiest when hearing the chord alongside positive terms such as 'life' and god'.What is the saddest guitar chord? ›
Minor is the place to start if you want to convey sad emotions and this chord progression can be used to create a depressing feeling with the music. It's hard to sound happy when you just use minor and diminished chords.How long does it take to be A good guitar player? ›
Depending on your commitment to practice you can become a good hobby player in as little as 6 months or as long as 4 years.
Is Jimmy Page technically a good guitarist? ›
Page is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential guitarists of all time. Rolling Stone magazine has described Page as "the pontiff of power riffing" and ranked him number three in their 2015 list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time", behind Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.Did Don Felder give Tom Petty guitar lessons? ›
He took guitar lessons from Don Felder of The Eagles
Felder was four years older than Petty and taught him how to play the guitar when he was a mere teenager. "He was playing bass at the time in this band which I think was called the Epics. I remember them as the Rucker Brothers Band.
Good Guitar Player: A good player with lots of technical skills or only focuses on emotion. Focuses to achieve something. Emotionally or technically, like playing lots of notes, or using necessary chords to make emotional rhythmic pattern (like major chords).Who is the best guitarist in Led Zeppelin? ›
There are not many guitar players in this world that supersede Jimmy Page. Not only was he the monstrous maestro behind much of Led Zeppelin's world-dominating success, but the guitarist was also a noted session musician before the idea of forming his own band even entered his mind.Who does Eric Clapton think is the best guitarist? ›
However, the greatest, according to Eric Clapton, the bonafide guitar god, is Albert Lee. The guitarist has worked with some big names, including Emmylou Harris and The Everly Brothers. Considering Clapton's appraisal, we all should be listening to Lee: “He's the greatest guitarist in the world. The ultimate virtuoso.Who is the coolest guitarist in the world? ›
- Jimi Hendrix.
- Eric Clapton.
- Jeff Beck.
- Chuck Berry.
- Stevie Ray Vaughan.
- Joe Satriani.
- Steve Vai.
- Yngwie Malmsteen.
“Nobody taught me how to do guitar work: I learned by trial and error,” he told Guitar Player. “I have messed up a lot of good guitars that way, but now I know what I'm doing, and I can do whatever I want to get them the way I want them.Who taught Taylor Swift guitar? ›
Taylor Swift's guitar teacher nearly gave up on her. Ronnie Cremer, a computer technician, first taught the 'Shake It Off' hitmaker how to play the instrument and whilst she was a ''good student'', he thought her parents were just playing a ''joke'' on him.Who taught Joe Walsh How do you play guitar? ›
Joe Walsh Teaches the Duane Allman Slide Method As He Learned It from the Man Himself. Did you know that Joe Walsh knew Duane Allman? Did you know Duane Allman taught Joe his method of playing slide guitar?How smart are guitarists? ›
Guitar Players Are Multi Skilled
- Problem solving.
- Motor coordination.
What makes a guitarist attractive? ›
Playing the guitar is a whole different level of creativity that attracts women the most. A guy playing guitar is strong with fingers i.e. his fingers are strong and precise. It means he has full control over his hands. Such strong hands will definitely win over his love to please, caress and love her in the long run.How many guitars should a normal person have? ›
Generally, one electric guitar, one acoustic guitar, and one classical guitar are enough to satisfy your needs and cover all styles of music. If you have varied interests, you may want to add new guitars to experiment with different types of pickups configurations, body shapes, and different necks.Who did Jimmy Page think was the best guitarist? ›
Speaking on that topic, Page had this to say: “We've lost the best guitarist any of us ever had and that was Hendrix. The other guitarist I started to get into died also, Clarence White. He was absolutely brilliant.Who is the greatest blues guitarist of all time? ›
- Otis Rush. ...
- Gary Clark Jr. ...
- Robert Cray. ...
- Albert Collins. ...
- Larry McCray. ...
- Rory Gallagher. Recommended Rory Gallagher listening: On The Boards.
- Dan Auerbach. Recommended Dan Auerbach listening: Thickfreakness.
- R.L. Burnside. Recommended R.L. Burnside listening: First Recordings.