Tone Report Weekly Issue 80 - Page 36

RANDOM HOU SEHO L D IT EMS Tom Morello, of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave fame, bounced a pencil on his strings with a digital delay set for slapback to achieve the intro riff on Audioslave’s “Cochise.” While clearly a player with an extremely high skill level, Morello eschews traditional approaches to electric guitar to create menacing sonic landscapes. Nothing in his playing is sacred, and nothing should be sacred in yours. If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again, try something wild, even if it’s one time. Don’t know what to do with that mini screwdriver set you got in your Christmas stocking? Try using it as a mini metal drumstick right over your pickup. Not sure how to make use of your grunge-era wallet chain? Try pulling it through your strings to add eeriness to a wacky chord. T HIN KING OU T SID E T HE BO X The important thing to take away from this is that there are no rules, but there are some things you may want to steer clear of. You probably shouldn’t use a blowtorch on your guitar, although it’d give you some real stage presence. But short of causing damage to your instrument, your imagination is the only limit. If you’re curious about something, try it. If you frequently play with a band, don’t tell them what you’re going to try—just get up there and give it a go. The surprise may rejuvenate your bandmates a nd get them pumped up, just like when the short guy somehow throws down a tomahawk dunk at a crucial moment in a basketball game. The important thing to remember is that there are no rules when it comes to playing guitar. Do what works for you! Each player sounds at least a little bit different, and there are many variables that factor into that. Many moons ago, I was so inspired by Mike McCready’s live work with Pearl Jam’s Touring Band circa 2000 that I went out and copied his pedalboard as close as I could. I had a ‘60s reissue Strat and a Fender Pro-Sonic amp. I was sorely disappointed when I turned everything on and realized I didn’t sound anything like him. Besides not possessing his skill set, I learned that I play in a manner much different than him. At first, that bothered me, but over time, I’ve come to love the way I play, while still seeking out new approaches in hopes of broadening my horizons and improving. Playing guitar should be fun, and nothing is more fun than exploration. I challenge all of the sonic adventurers reading this to try something new the next time you pick up your instrument. You may not use an esoteric approach every time, but you’ll learn something and have fun—and that’s what it’s all about. 36 TONE TALK // Drop the Pick (on purpose): 5 Alternatives to Try