Skill Centre: Marillion
Marillion's Steve Rothery plays Kayleigh | Marillion
Guitarist Steve Rothery shows you how to play 'Kayleigh' in words and pictures
Working out your favourite songs by listening hard to the record can be a frustrating business. To make things easier, every month in Making Music a top player will show you how to play a greatest hit, in words, clear diagrams and pictures. This time Steve Rothery remembers Kayleigh, and Tony Bacon listens.
Ever wrestled with the Marillion song-book? Their guitarist Steve Rothery has. This month he shows Making Music how to play the guitar chords and solo to 'Kayleigh'... not from the book, however, which he picked up in a music shop the other week.
"It's appalling, a joke," says Steve. "I'm quite annoyed about it - hopefully, we'll be a lot more involved in the next songbook. I guess some guy was paid 50 quid to sit down with an acoustic guitar for half an hour: oh yeah, that'll be E minor seventh, that'll do."
So now, just for Making Music readers, Steve sits down for rather more than half an hour and takes you step by step through the track. 'Kayleigh' was recorded at Hansa studios in Berlin, early in 1985, and on this track Steve used his Roland guitar synth controller (as a normal guitar - basically a Strat) with the pickup selector set out-of-phase between the bass and middle pickups.
He used a Boss DS1 distortion pedal (distortion on very nearly full, tone fully down), going through his Roland JC120 amp (set pretty much flat, with a bit of boost on the bass, a touch of reverb, and chorus set on full).
There's also a hint of digital delay, at around 450mS, giving a subtle little repeat throughout. The guitar track is the original take, apart from a little patching up done to the solo, and the only double tracking comes on the descending harmony line at the end of the solo.
Over to you, Steve.
Intro/verse/chrous/solo/(up a tone)intro/verse/chorus
Two chords repeat four times: Bm and Amaj inversions.
"You just hit the D, G and B strings together, throwing in a little flourish on the high E, B and G strings on the A chord. Listen to the record to hear how this goes: in fact, it's a good idea throughout to refer to the record, especially when you're following the picking instructions."
Twice round on main chords without voice: Bm, A, F#m, G, slide up to A; Bm, A, F#m, G.
Four times round with voice, same chords.
Then twice round using secondary chords (still with voice).
"On the opening Bm, pick the D and high E strings simultaneously, then the B; then hit the E-string on the next chord where you add the ninth. Sliding down to the A chord you pick the D and high E strings simultaneously followed by the B then the G string. Then to the F#m chord, where you pick the D and the high E strings simultaneously followed by the G then the B; on the G chord you hit the D, G and B strings together, then hit the A string and slide up to the A chord, where you hit the G, B and high E strings together. Then you play the same chords again - Bm, Bm9, A, F#m, but this time finish on the G."
"The first time through, just hit the A, D and G strings together on the Bm, A, F#m, and G chords, hitting the A-string to slide up to the A chord. Then hit the D string followed by the G string. Now you arpeggiate the same chords - the Bm, A, F#m - hitting combinations of the A and G strings simultaneously followed by either the D then the G, or the D then the A strings. Finish on the G chord, hitting the A, D and G strings together."
Four times round: D, A, G, D; C, G, D.
"The picking pattern on each chord is basically the same: start with the high E and G strings simultaneously, followed by either the B then the high E, or the B then the G. On the last D chord of each round you pick the high and G strings simultaneously, then pick the B, the G, the high E, the B and the G again."
Played over same chords as chorus.
LP version six times round: first on F#m position; second an octave up; improvise from third to sixth.
"You start with the F#m chord position (same shape as the main verse F#m chord). Arpeggiate by hitting the D-string, then the G, then the B, rapidly, then hit the D on the B string, then the B-string open, then the C# on the B-string. That gives you the basic phrase, which you repeat three times, adding a high A on the high E-string to finish; the second time round you end on a low A on the G-string. Then try it an octave up and fool around for a while."
"So that's Kayleigh," laughs Steve. "Just add water and mix!"