How was Marr a good guitarist?

All about The Smiths' music, gigs, stories, anything.

Postby MDbum » Sat Sep 16, 2006 5:14 am

I hear Marr play and i know it's good, but i don't know why it's good. His melodies are incredible, that's a given. However, I've never learned to play the guitar so could someone explain how Marr is a good guitarist... some slate him as being one of the world's best. Comments like that just leave me wondering.

Are his melodies difficult to play?
Was he innovative among other guitarists during that era?
How does he stack up to other guitarists in the same genre or other genres?

Also, you musicans out there, what would you say are Marr's best works?
MDbum
Newbie
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 8:51 am
Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Postby Cracked Pleasures » Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:33 pm

I am not the best music specialist technically, but fact is that Johnny created the simply perfect chords to enhance Morrissey's words to a higher level. There was a very strong connection between those two: whenever Marr came up with a chord Morrissey would find the suitable words, and whenever Moz had a lyric Johnny would create the perfect sound for it. They kinda 'felt' each other in a very unique way.

His best works: I like the fading intro of "Some girls...", the haunting riffs of "How soon is now", the riffs throughout "Hand in glove", the riff of "The queen is dead", ... Must say I am usually focussed mainly on lyrics, and that is with every band I listen to. But out of the head, these are Marr's highlights for me. Excellent guitarist, no doubt about that, he lifted the band to a higher level in the same way as Morrissey did with his lyrics.
Keep it flaming your desire, always rising higher - Aim for stars and hit the sky
(Echo & The Bunnymen - Evergreen, 1996)

Capital punishment = murder

Image
Image

THE PASSION OF LOVERS IS FOR DEATH (Bauhaus, 1983)
Cracked Pleasures
Smiths Nut!
 
Posts: 1903
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:52 am
Location: travelling

Postby elko » Sat Sep 16, 2006 5:44 pm

It's mostly in the phrasing, the way he uses arpeggios (picked chords) and works in elements of jazz and folk into pop songs without you even noticing. It's not that most of his tunes are difficult to play, the amazing thing is that he thought of them. Someone, I can't remember who, said that he "never takes the easy way out", and that is pretty much it. So little of his guitar playing is cliched, which is why it's very sad to listen to him play with Oasis or his writing with the Healers. He is clearly good at the all-out rock/blues technical stuff, it's just a shame that it's all he wants to do.

Every song on Hatful of Hollow has brilliance about it, the riffs on This Charming Man and Hand In Glove that are both memorable and spacious, the arpeggios on William, It Was Really Nothing that sound like about a hundred guitars, the minimalist clips of This Night Has Opened My Eyes, and the end of Please, Please, Please..... thinking about it...if you listen to that album concentrating solely on the guitar, there's never a moment when he's doing something merely adequate. It is genius, I think whether you are a guitarist or not.
elko
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5006
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 9:55 pm
Location: Bristol, UK

Postby Bref » Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:44 am

elko wrote:It's mostly in the phrasing, the way he uses arpeggios (picked chords) and works in elements of jazz and folk into pop songs without you even noticing. It's not that most of his tunes are difficult to play, the amazing thing is that he thought of them. Someone, I can't remember who, said that he "never takes the easy way out", and that is pretty much it. So little of his guitar playing is cliched, which is why it's very sad to listen to him play with Oasis or his writing with the Healers. He is clearly good at the all-out rock/blues technical stuff, it's just a shame that it's all he wants to do.

Every song on Hatful of Hollow has brilliance about it, the riffs on This Charming Man and Hand In Glove that are both memorable and spacious, the arpeggios on William, It Was Really Nothing that sound like about a hundred guitars, the minimalist clips of This Night Has Opened My Eyes, and the end of Please, Please, Please..... thinking about it...if you listen to that album concentrating solely on the guitar, there's never a moment when he's doing something merely adequate. It is genius, I think whether you are a guitarist or not.


Well said elko, just listen to the guitars - unlike anything I've ever heard.
<!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><!--fonto:Book Antiqua--><span style="font-family:Book Antiqua"><!--/fonto--><!--fonto:Arial Narrow--><span style="font-family:Arial Narrow"><!--/fonto--><!--fonto:Arial--><span style="font-family:Arial"><!--/fonto-->Half of the time we're gone but we don't know where,
we don't know where.
<!--fontc--></span><!--/fontc--><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--><!--fontc--></span><!--/fontc--><!--fontc--></span><!--/fontc-->
User avatar
Bref
Smiths Nut!
 
Posts: 686
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 10:29 pm
Location: Dublin

Postby HandsomeDevil » Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:59 pm

This video shows Marr talking about, and playing some of his preferred styles and techniques on guitar.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEpNq4wN9y4" target="_blank">Tony Wilson interviews Smiths</a>

The rockabilly style of Nowhere Fast is one of my favourites...
Image
HandsomeDevil
Supreme
 
Posts: 284
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 4:47 pm

Postby Bref » Mon Sep 18, 2006 8:55 pm

HandsomeDevil wrote:This video shows Marr talking about, and playing some of his preferred styles and techniques on guitar.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEpNq4wN9y4" target="_blank">Tony Wilson interviews Smiths</a>

The rockabilly style of Nowhere Fast is one of my favourites...


Thanks for that ;)
<!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><!--fonto:Book Antiqua--><span style="font-family:Book Antiqua"><!--/fonto--><!--fonto:Arial Narrow--><span style="font-family:Arial Narrow"><!--/fonto--><!--fonto:Arial--><span style="font-family:Arial"><!--/fonto-->Half of the time we're gone but we don't know where,
we don't know where.
<!--fontc--></span><!--/fontc--><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--><!--fontc--></span><!--/fontc--><!--fontc--></span><!--/fontc-->
User avatar
Bref
Smiths Nut!
 
Posts: 686
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 10:29 pm
Location: Dublin

Postby Still Ill » Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:40 pm

Having looked at guitar chords for the Smiths songs recently, you can see at once the difference in the placement of the chords compared to other songs with basic song structures. :huh:

Also with regard to the recordings, it was Porter who introduced Johnny to the technical side of layering guitar tracks. Ultimately, it's amazing the sounds you hear when you piece every bit of his genius together on record.

That interview was one of the most interesting ones I've seen of him. So technical, just fascinating to hear him speak about how he writes.
Last edited by Still Ill on Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Still Ill
Smiths Nut!
 
Posts: 2154
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 4:14 am
Location: California

Postby Grim O'Grady » Tue Sep 19, 2006 5:06 pm

I just watched These Things Take Time documentary & in it Johnny says that his guitar influences are American & English folk!
How Soon Is Now? Always blows me away.

love

Grim

P.s. SI I like your latest avvy, we could be twins :D
Image

<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>"It was time to wise-up and get a haircut."</span>
Grim O'Grady
Smiths Nut!
 
Posts: 1404
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:36 pm
Location: Edinburgh via Bolton

Postby MDbum » Tue Sep 19, 2006 9:44 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys :D
MDbum
Newbie
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 8:51 am
Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Postby Pashernate_Lover » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:35 am

I think the real question here is how was Marr NOT a good guitarist? :D
A note upon his desk
"P.S. Bring Me Home And Have Me!"
Leather elbows on a tweed coat
-Oh!-
Is THAT the best you can do ?
So came his reply :
"But on the desk is where I want you!"
Pashernate_Lover
Smiths Nut!
 
Posts: 2601
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 2:39 am
Location: Santa Cruz, California

Re: How was Marr a good guitarist?

Postby egosheep » Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:08 am

listen to girl afraid, the intro is just mind-boggling, and then it goes on to an awesome prechorus and then to another jawdropping chorus... the riffing just never lets up, never slows down...

listen to the effortless arpeggios on 'some girls'

The way he used alternate tunings: headmaster ritual and stretch out and wait are in open E, cemetary gates and meat is murder were in open D. He also used a nashville tuning, which is a 6 string guitar strung with the only the 6 high strings of a 12 string guitar. He was incredibly creative and inventive, he wrote incredible chord progressions, and he always found riffs to go over them. He was supremely tasteful, he always played the right notes at the right time. And he never limited himself, he played loud, soft, acoustic, rocked out, multitracked, backwards guitars, piano, autoharp... he continues to be an inspiration.

Did i mention that when the smiths broke up he was only 23???
egosheep
Newbie
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:10 pm

Re: How was Marr a good guitarist?

Postby rubygirl » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:40 pm

I totally second the above, very good post! :)
Image
Color me red when I'm feeling blue.
rubygirl
Smiths Nut!
 
Posts: 4015
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:18 pm
Location: the room downstairs...

Re: How was Marr a good guitarist?

Postby Qvist » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:04 pm

It's mostly in the phrasing, the way he uses arpeggios (picked chords) and works in elements of jazz and folk into pop songs without you even noticing. It's not that most of his tunes are difficult to play, the amazing thing is that he thought of them. Someone, I can't remember who, said that he "never takes the easy way out", and that is pretty much it. So little of his guitar playing is cliched, which is why it's very sad to listen to him play with Oasis or his writing with the Healers. He is clearly good at the all-out rock/blues technical stuff, it's just a shame that it's all he wants to do.

Every song on Hatful of Hollow has brilliance about it, the riffs on This Charming Man and Hand In Glove that are both memorable and spacious, the arpeggios on William, It Was Really Nothing that sound like about a hundred guitars, the minimalist clips of This Night Has Opened My Eyes, and the end of Please, Please, Please..... thinking about it...if you listen to that album concentrating solely on the guitar, there's never a moment when he's doing something merely adequate. It is genius, I think whether you are a guitarist or not.


Great post man, you are absolutely right.

cheers
Qvist
Regular
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 7:21 am


Return to The Smiths

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests