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Friday, September 05, 2008

The One Note Solo Neil

Now this is a pretty funny take on the criticism of Neil as a one-note soloist. But we're not a guitar expert or anything so what do we know?

Thanks Troy!

From USA Weekend:

Q: Do you think you're an underappreciated guitarist?

Neil: Man, I don't play the guitar. I hit the guitar. [Laughs.] I just go in there with a feeling and play. I saw in "Rolling Stone" something about "Cowgirl in the Sand" being one of the top 20 guitar songs, so that was cool. But I realize I'm not Eddie Van Halen; he can play rings around me.

Afterall, Neil Young is only the 3rd Most Underrated Guitarist in the world.


At 9/05/2008 12:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of us who play guitar and who love Neil's playing, let me come to his defense...

Neil puts the moment into his solos. It's about entering the soul of the song and extracting the feeling. He has a wonderfully idiosyncratic attack and a strong sense of melody and phrasing. He discovers the inner song as he solos.

Guitar virtuosos do what they do amazingly well but few can hang it out there and let the song and the moment dictate the direction. I'm always amazed at how different Neil's guitar work is everytime he plays Cortez or Hurricane.

Neil brings a distinctive acoustic playing style to his electric work. He is really a rythm guitarist playing lead (but not in rythm guitar style of say John Lennon or even Tom Petty). Neil can carry rythm and lead simultaneously like few others I know.

At 9/05/2008 03:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(sorry for my english, i'm a french guy !!)

Yes I agree with your comment !
Neil just play it from the heart !
We don't care if there are one thousand notes or just one.
It sounds good, he plays with a great feeling, dancing across the melody,
Neil brings us into his music. Some time he is on aa bad moon and it sounds just good, some time he's on a good moon, and so it's so terrific.
That's music, that's rock & roll
Because sound matter

Crazy Bear

At 9/05/2008 04:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

neil young only NEEDS to play one note and he's better than ALL the 'shredders' out there. Put on a CD by Satriani, Vai, Malmsteen, etc then compare to almost ANY neil'll see!

At 9/05/2008 05:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They all sound the same"...


And I hope he keeps on singing and playing it for many more years !!!

At 9/05/2008 07:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I portray Neil in my Tribute Band so I have a bit of an understanding of what it is that Neil does quite differently then other players. So often, the key to being considered a "player" is the use of "licks" put together to achieve the phrasing we are all so accustom to. Neil differs greatly on that behalf where-as he plays what the Songs calls for, more Melody then a string of licks stitched together. The Songs feel finds the Lead and Neil is the most opened player I have ever heard. His Rhythm has a "behind" the beat stager that makes for an almost lazy feel to both his Acoustic and Electric playing. A true Joy to play and discover with every Song we approach. Basically...Neil Kicks Ass on Guitar IMHO. Roger Potter

At 9/05/2008 09:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The key to any object's aesthetic value is its intrinsic conveyal of emotion. Thus, while John Grisham is technically a better writer than Charles Bukowski, Bukowski is the craftsman.

So one can see Neil Young that way - except - I'd go one further and question the whole methodology between ascribing "virtuoso" capabilities to a musician that is strictly technical. Neil Young conveys more emotion in his guitar playing than any guitarist I've ever heard live, and I've heard a lot of the greats...(I'd say actually that Trey Anastasio and Tom Morello came close, but both of their inherent "technical" side that Neil gladly eschews, prevents them from reaching his level)

At 9/06/2008 07:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crazy Horse is back guys, I'm fuckin happy. Unfortunately I wont be in Japan in november but what a great news ! The one and only Horse is back...

At 9/06/2008 12:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been listening to Neil Young since 1970. I was 13 then and the sound of a pedal steel guitar weeping and the mixing of rock-folk-country really turned me on. Southern Man was his first electric song to grab my attention. The man has a God given gift to take you through time and space with his music like no one else I've ever heard. I dare anyone to smoke some good krippy and play EKTIN in it's entirety and then tell me how, after 40 years, is it possible for a record to fold space the way EKTIN does and it not be a supernatural sound Neil puts together with the songs from that album. There truly is more to the picture than meets the eye when it comes to Neil Young's vision of Rock and Roll! I love Chrome Dreams II too. The spirituality communicated on that album is awesome. God bless you brother Neil and to say he is the world's most underrated guitarist is an understatement. I know that he will keep on "Rockin In The Free World" because he has the "Will To Love."

At 9/07/2008 12:17:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I tend to agree with everyone who's saying Neil is a rhythm guitarist trapped playing lead. Neil lives for the rhythm and life of a song. This is why Billy and Ralph, the thump and bump of Crazy Horse, play on such a flexible and primitive level, rather than trying to play tight and technically. They keep the beat, and their flexibility allows them to keep up with wherever Neil, who is truly the one carrying the tune, is going.

His one-note solos are pretty infamous to anyone who only has a cursory familiarity with his electric work, and his most popular electric tunes all have this element at some point. It's an emotional thing, you can feel the intensity with which he's HITTING that note on the guitar, you know he's not just standing there like Clapton (whom I love in his own right) casually picking away, Neil is INTO it. Each note is translating the energy of the song and the real meaning it has, Neil's solos are almost lyrical in that sense.

When DOESN'T the crowd go wild when Neil starts hammering that high note on "Hey Hey My My" as fast as he can? They love it because they can feel the energy and intensity with which he does it. This is difficult to translate for some people with a visual aid, which is why those people think Neil's one-note soloing is oversimplified and an overused gimmicky technique, they don't realize what's going on with the guy who's playing.

Anyone who watches Neil live immediately sees the physical aspect of his playing, he's never still, always moving to the beat, and when he solos, his body moves with every note. It looks a little weird sometimes, but that's how he does it, and there are precious few other performers who can take that energy and translate it into electricity like Neil does. He's intertwined the emotion of his music with the style of his guitar playing.

At 9/08/2008 08:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's the real genius: neil can express much more playing one note when others need 20 notes..

and no there's no objectiv POV when it commes to music...

At 4/28/2010 03:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish I could get a copy of this video. It was one I used in a class I taught! (


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