For our Radiohead inspired guitar lesson Tech Session, I have looked at the collective guitar playing style & techniques of both Greenwood and O’Brien, drawing inspiration from the classic period of “The Bends” and “Ok Computer”. Radiohead was always going to be difficult band to cover due to the use of unusual guitar effects, that many of us to don’t have access too, so with that in mind I have tried to make this piece approachable even if you don’t have access to many effects units.
Bars 1- 10:
Kick off with our intro and the verse chord progression. This is based around a simple chord arpeggio figure using the triad chords of D major and D augmented. The progression concludes with a figure based around G minor and Bb minor. This section uses a whammy effect, blended in with the original signal, pitching the chord part up an octave. I have also included a Space Echo, and a large space reverb for an ambient sound.
Illustrates the second half of our verse and has a slight harmonic twist. Although the original arpeggio part is now being performed by the backing guitar the bass and acoustic guitar change implying different harmony while the arpeggio part remains the same. The central part that you will play features a counter arpeggio, with the whammy off. This part is a two-bar loop based around a figure that uses both major and minor seconds resulting in an eerie, unsettling sound. This figure changes to accommodate the G minor and bb minor chords at the end of the verse.
See use performing a “Lucky” style melody over a “Street Spirit” inspired chord progression. This section uses a lot of bends as well as pre-bends, so take care with pitching. Here we are focused on chord tones, following the changes in the harmony of the chord progression. I use a mild fuzz for a Gilmour inspired tone for this section.
Switches feel again, opting for a grunge tone, and inspired by “Just” from The Bends”. Here we use a movable E shape, but leave the 1st and 2nd strings open to add extended harmony to the basic chords. For this section, I switched to a more aggressive tube distortion from my amp, although an overdrive pedal or patch will do the trick.
Reintroduces our intro section, and the whammy effect, with our D major triad, performed as a chord arpeggio.
Introduce our solo section, performed over the verse progression. The solo kicks off with some aggressive tremolo “strummed” octaves in true Greenwood style. For this section we are using our fuzz, but with a more aggressive tone and drive.
Shows the second half of our solo, with more tremolo picking but on single notes as we get to the higher register of the neck. To add to the aggressive sound the whammy effect is reengaged shifting the pitch up an octave.
Concludes our track with an ebow section, with a melody based around D Lydian for an ethereal tone. A second ebow melody is introduced, with the final note being accompanied with a major second interval for a slightly awkward unsettling sound.
Radiohead Gear Breakdown
Ed O’Brien uses mainly Fender Strats and has his own signature model. But he also uses Fender Jaguar’s, Telecasters, Gibson’s and Rickenbacker’s. O’Brian has used a mixture of Fender, Vox and Mesa amps. He uses a wide range of effects including Line 6, Origin, Electro Harmonix, Boss and Digitech.
Greenwood has favoured mainly Telecaster’s although he uses Gibson, Rickenbacker and the Fender Starcaster. His amps of choice are mainly Fender nd Vox. He uses a wealth of effects, including Marshall, Digitech, Boss and Roland to name a few. For our Tech Session, I used my custom single coil Music Man Axis, to achieve the twin pickup Tele sound. This was plugged into my Mesa Mini Rec head and into a Two notes Torpedo studio using a dual mic’d AC30 cab. For effects I used an Omec Teleport, to integrate my iPad into my studio rig, and used Bias effects for the whammy effect. I also used a UAD Space Echo plugin and the TC DVR250 reverb plugin. For fuzz, I used a Wampler Fuzzstration, while the chorus drive was the pushed clean channel of my Mesa with the preamp boost on my Music Man engaged. For the outro, I used an Ebow, with a healthy dose of UAD Space Echo effect.