iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for The Twangmasters: The Art of the Lead Guitarist

Listen now 30 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Last on

Sat 14 May 2011 10:30 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 14 May 2011

All the attention is usually on the lead singer, but so often a song has been transformed by a great piece of lead guitar playing. Nick Barraclough tells the story of the lead guitarist; from Chuck Berry and BB King's licks to Ritchie Blackmore and Jimi Hendrix's riffs. What's more, he reveals the difference between and riff and a lick.

There's more to it than just twanging those strings, though. He's got to have the right attitude, swagger- and volume.

Three of today's working lead guitarists sit round a kitchen table and strum their way through a few stories, we hear how Deep Purple recorded with the police beating on their door, and the ways in which lead singers treat their lead guitarists.

We hear from Frank Zappa's 'stunt' guitarist and we hear of Ian Gillan's submission, and there is a discussion on whether the colour of a guitar's paint affects its tone and, a question that has been asked by lead guitarists since 1964 is answered: exactly what was that chord George Harrison played at the beginning of A Hard Day's Night?

Producer: Nick Barraclough
A Smooth Operation production for BBC Radio 4.


Featured in...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss