Each day is a new musical trip here in Studio G at the Mohn Broadcast Center. Currently working on spots for the Pearson Foundation and their series of Live Talks Los Angeles conversations including Lewis Black, Simon Winchester and Roger McGuinn to mention just a few of the interesting people on the slate.
I always appreciated the guitar work of Roger McGuinn of The Byrds fame back in the 1960s. He had the special 12-string guitar sound that nobody else could duplicate. McGuinn developed two innovative and very influential styles of electric guitar playing: “jingle-jangle” where he could generate a ringing arpeggio like a banjo-picking style; and secondly he had a sort of droning style similar to a sitar.
McGuinn was known for his stylings on the Rickenbacker guitar, which he referred to as “The Rick.” In itself, it’s sort of a thuddy sound, but McGuinn added a compressor to the mix to get a cool, long sustain. I loved that effect.
To appreciate his accomplishment, you have to know that acoustic 12s had wide necks and thick strings that were spaced pretty far apart. Back in the day, I owned a Martin 12 string and used to tear my fingers up on that. McGuinn had the Rick with a slim neck and low action and he could fly up and down the fretboard and do hammer-ons and pull-offs in his solos. He is a master!
Another sound that McGuinn developed is made by playing a seven string guitar featuring a doubled G-string, with the second string tuned an octave higher. The C.F. Martin guitar company released a special edition called the HD7 Roger McGuinn Signature Edition that claims to capture McGuinn’s “jingle jangle” tone which he created with 12 string guitars. For more information on upcoming conversations at Live Talks Los Angeles, http://www.LiveTalksLA.org.