Skill Centre: Big Country
Big Country's Bruce Watson plays | Big Country
Country guitarist Bruce Watson shows you the chords to 'Look Away'.
Now then, concentrate. Here's 'Look Away' by Big Country, explained and played for you by their very own guitarist Bruce Watson. He showed us the lot. We have barre chords, we have A and E shapes, and we have the demonstration instrument, Bruce's custom Moon 12-string. Frets noted by Tony Bacon.
'LOOK AWAY' was the first track to be recorded for "The Seer" LP and was released (very successfully) as a single beforehand.
The bass and drums were recorded at RAK studios as drummer Mark Brzezicki likes the sound of the drum room there; the guitars were then recorded at producer Robin Millar's Power Plant studio.
Bruce mainly played a Wilkes Custom Strat (with sliding pickup), apart from the heavier chorus section where he opted for his trusty Yamaha SG2000.
What's this Wilkes, we wondered? "I had a newish Fender Strat, quite a good one," explained Bruce, "and I sent it off to Doug Wilkes who put in this sliding pickup affair. The body's hollowed out where the pickups usually are, and there's two brass bars on which two pickups slide along to any position you want.
"On 'Look Away' I used it on the chords and the picking bit: it sounds weird, but I used the bass pickup right up against the neck and the treble pickup right up against the bridge and it actually sounded really good. It needed quite a lot of EQ from the desk, and I had a Korg Digital Delay do the sort of tremolo effect from its modulation."
Bruce enjoyed working out the song to show you. "Usually," he confirmed, "we get stuck with in-depth interviews about 'why did you write this song', or 'why is that song so brutally frank', that kind of stuff. This is much more enjoyable."
So are you ready to run through, then Bruce? "Aye: if you can work out the names for the chords, I'll play 'em. I don't know any musical notes or chords whatsoever." No problem. Carry on.
INTRO First VERSE Second VERSE CHORUS Third VERSE CHORUS Instrumental (as INTRO) FOURTH VERSE CHORUS (Twice)
Stuart plays a little solo bit over the beginning (he wasn't around to show us this — see if you can work it out).
1,2,3; 1,2,4; 1,2,3; 1,2,4; 1,2,5; 6,7,8.
Stuart plays the chords in the first part of each bar, Bruce the fiddly bit in the second part of each bar. Listen carefully to the record and you'll hear how they interact (not a bad idea throughout).
1,2,3; 3,2,1; 1,2,3; 3,2,1; 4,5,6; 7,8,9; 1,2,3,10,3; 11,12,13,12,14.
Bruce's picked notes, four bars of each: rapid picking between notes 1 and 2; between notes 3 and 1; between notes 4 and 1; and between notes 5 and 1; then chords 6,7,8,9,10.
Rapid picking, two bars each: 1,2; 3,4; 1,2; 5. Then 6,7,8,9,10.
Feature by Tony Bacon
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