Larry Carlton Makes List of The 50 Greatest Guitar Tones of All Time

Guitar Player magazine released a list of the 50 Greatest Guitar Tones of All Time in their July issue, and Larry Carlton made the list, with his work on “Kid Charlemagne” noted as his signature tune. From the article:

Whereas many studio guitarists tend to stay in the background, Larry Carlton exerts his personality so strongly on this classic Steely Dan tune that he pretty much assumes co-star status. Plugging his tried-and-true tobacco sunburst Gibson ES-335 into a cranked Fender Princeton Reverb, Mr. 335 floored the guitar community with his touch, phrasing, and awesome tone. And, although his gear choices would shift to include Dumble and Boogie, this solo represents the Carlton tone. In the words of his disciple, Steve Lukather: “It’s all in his hands and heart, man!”

Words from the Master
“I have the claw thing happening down there on the strings when I play. It lets me know where I’m at, but I’d have better technique if I held my hand free of the strings.”

“I pick hard. In fact, I overplay the instrument. I’ve been squeezing a pick since I was six, and the pressure has curved by index finger. At this point, my hands have molded themselves to fit the guitar.”

“People often ask me, ‘How do I learn to hit the right notes when I solo?’ My advice is simple: Learn harmony. Once you know what notes go into a particular chord, you can base your lines around them, and you won’t get lost. The key to playing great melodies lies in understanding chords.”

The Article
Larry Carlton Greatest Tone

Listen to “Kid Charlemagne”

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