Paul Kantner's Rhythm Guitar

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Paul Kantner's Rhythm Guitar

Postby brumus on Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:52 pm

I'd just like to take a few moments to recognize the guitar work of Paul Kantner who's usually not identified as a skilled or proficient player and technically, in some respects, that's correct. He could be, at times, rather sloppy and simplistic but I always considered that in the tradition of the old folk artists who were primitive and unschooled in their playing. He wasn't a power chord rhythm player, like many associate with Rock music, or your traditional Rock n Roll player like Keith Richards, who, in some respects is similar to Paul in that Keith also used open tunings that he learned from Ry Cooder I believe.
He was like McGuinn and Crosby, a pioneer incorporating folk elements, unusual tunings, chords, into Rock by way of the Rickenbacker 12 string and in this respect, a very sophisticated rhythm guitarist who was unique and innovative.
I didn't come to know his playing until Baxters, which, thanks to the mix, really brought out the diversity of JA, a key component to their music, but it especially showcased Paul. His single note augmentations, like in Wild Thyme, that he used many other times on his Rick 12 added such depth to the music. His unique style of syncopation in his rhythm, especially in We Can Be Together/Volunteers, were masterful.
After I became more familiar with his playing, I went back to the first LP Takes Off and could more easily identify him from Jorma. Those first two notes that open Blues For An Airplane are Paul. He used a drop D tuning on many of the songs like Come Up The Years, And I Like It and crafted a beautiful intro to Tobacco Road.
His post JA work was equally noteworthy as in When I Was A Boy I Watched The Wolves where he again uses a drop D tuning creating a stunning piece of guitar work.
In concert, when Jorma solely just used a 6 string, it was always Paul's ringing Rick 12 string that brought the JA sound back to its origins, magically transforming the music like a magician's wand, beckoning the listener to soundscape of wonder and magic.
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Re: Paul Kantner's Rhythm Guitar

Postby MilkTrain on Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:57 pm

Couldnt agree more. You only have to listen to post JA work like Sunfighter or Blows Against The Empire to realise how very talented the man is. As a creative pairing i cant thing of any better than Paul Kantner and Grace Slick.
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Re: Paul Kantner's Rhythm Guitar

Postby brumus on Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:35 pm

True. Paul and Grace carried on the folk tradition of female/male duos, like Dylan and Baez, Ian and Sylvia, into folk-rock. Both complimented and contrasted each other nicely. Paul seemed to have done this from his very early folkie days playing coffeehouses in the South Bay with a lady named Elaine Gealer in the early sixties. But Paul and Grace together were pretty dynamic.
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