David Rhodes Goes It Alone

December 1, 2010

gp1210_riffs_Rho3_nrDAVID RHODES HAS BEEN PETER GABRIEL’S guitarist for a quarter century, has contributed to recordings by a list of luminaries that includes Paul McCartney and Roy Orbison, and has done his share of film work. His debut solo album, Bittersweet [Real World], is brimming with cool riffs and steamy grooves, great guitar textures and atmospheres, and rich, emotive vocals. “My writing process was very exploratory and began with simple rhythms and grooves,” says Rhodes. “Then I worked in some harmonic changes and began adding melodic parts, building up sections with a lot of small layers rather than a few big ones. I also used non-standard tunings such as DADGAD and dropped tunings when appropriate. For example, on ‘All I Know’ I tuned everything down a half step and then lowered the second string to G# to get more twang. My effects included a TC Electronic 2290 Dynamic Digital Delay, Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe and Octavia pedals, an Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress, a Boss Vibrato, an Ernie Ball volume pedal, and an old Matchless Hot Box distortion.”

gp1210_riffs_Rho1_nr_1When taking his new material on the road, however, Rhodes employs a more modest rig. “Touring with Peter I play through Rivera Knucklehead amps, the 2290, and a big pedalboard,” he says. “But for my solo show I just have a laptop running Native Instruments Guitar Rig, the Guitar Rig foot controller, and a Gibson Les Paul Robot guitar with motorized tuning pegs, which let me switch tunings easily without bringing more than one guitar. On some songs I’ll also loop a chord sequence or a bass part as I’m playing and singing and then solo on top of that, which allows me to get quite a muscular sound. People are often surprised when they see one bloke making such a fearful din!”

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