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James Byrd Fan Forum

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Forum: James Byrd Message Board
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Question about your playing style

Hey, Byrd

Hope you're doin well, man!!
Haven't spoke to you in a long time.
Hey, I had a question about youre style ...

Its EXACTLY like no-one in particular, but you can hear the influences. So, my question is, how'd you develop youre style, did you learn other peoples stuff note-for-note and then incorporate that into what you heard playing in your head or what??

Thanks man,
(Still lovin my Super Avianti!)

Re: Question about your playing style

Hi Ara

Great to hear from you and that you’re getting so much from your Super Avianti.

I learned solos note for note, by the hundreds, from many, many players. In many cases, entire albums. I would play along with records, and I was obsessed with duplicating every note, phrasing, and vibrato of the players I copied. I played between 8 and 14 hours a day during those 11 years prior to beginning to write and play original music in bands. Here’s a list (mostly in order) of solos I learned between 1970, and 1981:

The first solo I learned note for note, was “It’s alright now” by Free. Paul Kossof had the vibrato I wanted. I worked at it until my fingers bled.

Jimi Hendrix –Rainbow Bridge: “Hear my train a comin’, Earth blues

Jeff Beck –Truth: “Goin’ Down”

Deep Purple: Machine Head: Entire album.

Robin Trower –Bridge of Sighs: Entire album

Johnny Winter –Captured live: Most of the non-slide solos, all of Floyd Radford’s (Winter’s second guitarist) solos

Steely Dan – Ricky don’t lose that number (Jeff Baxter)

Lynard Skynard – Live: Free Bird

Peter Framptom – Come Alive: Entire Album

Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush – Live: Entire album

AC/DC Highway to Hell: Entire album

Montrose –Montrose: Entire album

Jeff Beck –Blow By Blow: Entire album

The Jeff Beck Group featuring Jan Hammer: Probably half the album

Focus – Hocus Pocus

Van Halen – Van Halen: Ice cream man, Eruption, The Atomic Punk

Rainbow –Rainbow Rising: Star Gazer

Rainbow –Long Live Rock and Roll: Gates of Babylon, Rainbow Eyes

Al DiMiola -The Elegant Gypsy: Race with the devil on a Spanish highway

UFO: Obsession: Entire album

UFO: Strangers in the night: Entire album

Scorpions: Virgin Killer: Entire album

Scorpions – Tokyo Tapes: Entire album

Those are the ones which come to mind, but there’s a bunch of others I’ve forgotten about.

There was a lot of stuff around that everyone else seemed to listen to, that I didn’t. I never owned a Led Zepplin album. Never owned a Kiss album.

I have no idea what my “style” is apart from an amalgamation of what I liked, learned, and combined, and the classical music I began listening to on the local classical FM station in about 1980. A lot of phrases from pianists, violinists, and flautists just sort of stuck in my head and I’d find myself playing solo sections of concertos and combining them with my rock chops. I listened to Paganini’s 24 caprices by Pearlman, and took a lot of phrases and lines from those. When I go back and listen to my various albums (seldom really) I think I sound different during different periods, and my style for lack of a better term, seems to keep evolving. It’s not something I ever thought about beyond just liking what I like, and having strong opinions, and what comes from it all, well, there it is.

Best to You Ara -Byrd

Re: Question about your playing style

Hey Byrd,
thanks SO much for the reply! Very thorough, great stuff!

I'm not a bit surprised that you weren't [arent] into Kiss, (a joke of a band, In MY opinion) but no Zep? - somewhat surprised, but not really though because personally I don't hear any Page type of riffing or soloing in your music.
Its funny because after listening to Zep for YEARS I recently "discovered" 'Rock and Roll' its such a fun tune to jam to, its kinda like a punk tune, lol - just crank up the amp ALL the way, hit those chords and whip out the Chuck Berry type of licks, LOLOL!

Anyway man, awesome to hear from you and I'm really glad that youre well!!!

You are truly a guitar God - this fact could not be any more obvious to ANYONE who knows ANYTHING about music!
Someday, (YES! one day!) your playing and music will get the credit it desperately deserves. We, the guitar players who understand and have the capacity to appreciate your music are truly privileged to feel and hear the magic of Byrd. Sadly [tragically] there are way, WAAAAY, too many that have not had the privilege and pleasure of hearing a true guitar and music Master!!

We have yet to hear anything even REMOTELY close to mediocre (or worse) from you (UNLIKE 'someone' else lol), but I just gotta say that we're DYING to hear you front a full orchestra as Conductor and lead guitarist!! That would be INCREDIBLE!!!

Take good care of yourself, Byrd, we luv ya, man!!!

I just finished listening to Mahler's symphony no.7 (Abbado / Berlin Phil. DG) and in your honor I just popped in Paganni's 24 Capricci (Mintz, DG).
If I lived closer to you I'd KILL for the opportunity of learning from you!!
(I'm back in Studio City / Toluca Lake, where you stayed when you were down here in L.A.)

Also, yes, I'm absolutely LOVING my S.A. EVERYONE who has played her has RAVED about the tone, playability, and looks!

Please, PLEASE continue to record albums for us!!!

Best Regards,


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