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Author: Subject: Pete Townshend

Peach Master





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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 08:38 AM
I know my question amounts to subjective drivel, however I am looking for an opinion of some of the folks here, maybe even some who are musicians Themselves ( I am not). I am a fan of The Who, never seen them live, but own, Live at Leeds, Meaty Beaty, By Numbers, Who's Next and Who Are You. Do You All really rank Pete that Highly as a guitar player or is what he does something that alot of players could do with a couple Marshall stacks and a Gibson SG????...........Peace.........joe
 
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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 08:49 AM
As a "lead" player probably not in the top ten but every now and again he comes up with a short little riff that just blows me away. "Sparks" comes to mind....

 

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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 08:51 AM
In my opinion, I have always thought of Townshend as an outstanding rhythm quitarist,
unbelievable songwriter, with a powerful singer and a wildly inventive rhythm section.

His solos are alright.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 08:57 AM
I think Pete is better than reflected on many on the Who albums.

Kep in mind that he is one of those "arty" types. I saw one of those behind the scene shows with Roger Daltry. He was sitting at the mixing console - dissecting "Whos Next". Evidently, Pete was in love with synth's at the time - so you hear a lot of that and some very sudued guitar work.

But on the show, Roger was bringing up the volume on some of the burried guitar tracks. There are a lot of great solos that Pete just decided not to use.

Some of his best stuff is accoustic. Check out the album that he did with the late, Ronnie Laine, "Rough Mix". Some very nice, tasteful stuff - almost bluegrass in places.

I'd bet Pete could hold his own playing 12 bar blues with most anybody.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 09:19 AM
I think Pete is one of those guys who is just not that interested in leads . He'd rather write killer chord riffs and he's done some of the best in rock history. I thought his leads were kind of sloppy but always fit the song and the Who's style to a T. I saw the Who around 2000 or so when the Ox was still alive at MSG. Pete was playing insane leads all night like Clapton on speed. I was floored by it. The guy is a monster.

I am a bit more into ABB/GD american melodic style guitar playing but sometimes you just have to blow the doors off with the Who.

There's really nothing like the power of the that group when they got it going.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 03:15 PM
As a kid growing up I went back and forth as to who i thought was the best band in the world...the who or Led Zep....I think Townsend is one of the handful of all time greats and very underrated in all aspects....incredible writer...great guitar player and quite a good singer as well
 

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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 03:20 PM
quote:
But on the show, Roger was bringing up the volume on some of the burried guitar tracks. There are a lot of great solos that Pete just decided not to use.


Not meaning to sidetrack the topic (big Who fan here) but I saw that show and some of the drum work that Roger was centering in on, that you don't hear in the mix of the whole song...simply incredible.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 04:08 PM
Pete has come up with some all time great guitar runs and leads in songs, but he isn't a great soloist in the way that many 70s guitar gods are considered. He is brilliant beyond belief to me, though.

I saw him around 2000 when it was just Roger, Pete, Entwhistle, Zak and Rabbit and it was an amazing show. Yeah, I would have liked to hear a few particular deep cuts I didn't, but it was a powerful, high energy 2 hour and 20 minutes of classic rock. Great energy from Zak too, who does incredible justice to Moon's drumming parts. It was so good I haven't been able to bring myself to see "The Who" again.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 04:57 PM
Pete is a fantastic rhythm player. Definitely one of the best, but he focused on it too. His strumming hand is flawless. He plays percussively with a bit of a drummer's attitude in his rhythms. he needed a player like Moon who could keep up with him. The Who lost a lot of energy with Kenny Jones but thankfully got it back with Simon Philips in '89 and later with Zak Starkey. I had front row seats for Quadrophenia with Zak Starkey, Entwistle, Daltrey & Townshend and it sounded better than anything with Jones. It sounded like The Who. Pete's percussive guitar parts come alive with the right drummer.

Plus, you don't have to be a great soloist to be a great guitar player. Townshend has a deep understanding of chord and song structure, chord voices, layering, harmony & melody and has the chops to play and assemble all the elements into cohesive songs. I rate him very highly obviously but I tried to illustrate why. I've been playing guitar since 1987 and one of the first songs I foolishly tried to learn was "Pinball Wizard" - that opening strumming is not for beginners!

 

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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 07:11 PM
quote:
not a music theorist or expert guitar player. So, with that being said...would I be wrong in thinking that the solo he did for Eminence Front is pretty good?...


I always thought that one had a David Gilmouresque quality to it!

 

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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 09:08 PM
Townshend is an excellent guitarist but most would not call him great by the standards of the great rock guitarists that we use such Hendrix, Clapton, Allman, Beck, Page etc.

HE is probably on par with Keith Richards. Of course as a composer he is a genius and his playing was perfect for the Who, one of the all time great bands and always greater than the sum of its parts.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 10:20 PM
Pete was never the fastest gun in the west but never needed to be. He created an amazing arsenal of riffs, understands dynamics and tone very well, can serve up incredibly tasty and juicy needs when warranted (Quadrophenia), wonderful guitar excursions where he paints the entire picture rather than offering the typical Lead Guitarist Solos (Live at Leeds), excellent acoustic player - I consider him a more complete guitar player in many ways than some of the guys who get named Guitar Hero but have fewer dimensions.

I always tell people who dismiss Townshend to learn to play some of his songs note for note. Many of them are harder than they sound.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2012 at 10:26 PM
Pete was never a guy I would tell other guitar players I hung with to listen to for his lead work. He can write and bang out the cords with the best.
 

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  posted on 5/12/2012 at 07:41 AM
Many of the guitar players I hang with need to listen less to players for their lead work and more for rhythm! Rhythm guitar is a lost art. Plenty of guys can bang out bar chords, but when it comes to knowing all the chords up and down the neck and really mastering the subtleties of groove and syncopation, there's a lot of work to be done. I include myself in the "lacking" list.
 

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  posted on 5/12/2012 at 08:34 AM
Fantastic rhythm player. Fantastic composer. Has come up with some truly incredible chord progressions and riffs . Can play some awesome chord based leads when needed. And I agree that he has a superior knowledge of chord interplay and dynamics. Definitely a groove player. And a pretty intelligent bloke to boot.

And on a non music level, a bit flawed as a human being (by his own admission...just pick an interview ) but also still to this day a spiritual seeker...

I think you're great Pete...

 

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  posted on 5/12/2012 at 11:12 AM
on the expanded version of who's next which to this day is one of my all time favorites there are some unreleased versions of behind blue eyes and love aint for keeping which feature some stretched out solos and jamming from townsend....great stuff,great artist...one of the handful of alltime greats...in addition live at leeds has some fantastic townsend jams including an epic version of my generation......

[Edited on 5/12/2012 by jonbrach]

 

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  posted on 5/12/2012 at 02:32 PM
quote:
Many of the guitar players I hang with need to listen less to players for their lead work and more for rhythm! Rhythm guitar is a lost art. Plenty of guys can bang out bar chords, but when it comes to knowing all the chords up and down the neck and really mastering the subtleties of groove and syncopation, there's a lot of work to be done. I include myself in the "lacking" list.


Warren Haynes is one of the finest rhythm guitarists I have ever heard. With the Mule he plays lead and Rhythm at the same time.

 

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  posted on 5/14/2012 at 11:11 AM
This is like asking if Napoleon was any good with a rifle. Townshend is mainly a great composer, ranking alongside any of the musical giants of any era. I had to learn all the guitar parts to tommy for a local theater this winter, and was blown away by the originality and complexity of the music, ESP sparks, unreal. And this was one of his simpler works. The man is a genius.
 

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  posted on 5/15/2012 at 03:43 PM
Great thread, recently downloaded an expanded version of an old Who boot from 1973.

Seems like "The OX" was handling most of the lead work. As noted above just amazing rhythm work from Pete and he rips off a nice solo on "Drowned."

I agree, "Quadrophenia" is the place to start if looking for Pete as a guitar god.

 

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  posted on 5/15/2012 at 03:50 PM
Big Thanks to All for the "feedback", very interesting and knowledgeable replies, inspired me to go back and re-enjoy the LPs I have...............Peace...........joe
 

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  posted on 5/15/2012 at 05:05 PM
quote:
I agree, "Quadrophenia" is the place to start if looking for Pete as a guitar god.

As a huge fan of The Who I have to recommend that you purchase Quadrophenia. It is by far my very favorite Who album. If you really like these guys you have to own Tommy as well. (the album by The Who, not the movie soundtrack)

 

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  posted on 5/16/2012 at 04:00 PM

Tommy is by and large built around acoustic guitar. Pete would compose on acoustic, do all the instrumental parts, drums, bass, keys, then present them to the group, who would then change it up to taste. Keith Richards flatly states that if you don't work on your acoustic, you will never be able to handle an electric. Listen to Beggar's Banquet, all acoustic, practically a folk album. Jumpin Jack Flash, Street Fightin Man are acoustic songs.

Here's a bit from Pete re lead and rythm playing, from Guitar Player '92:

PT: I used to listen to people like Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery. And Chet Atkins, clear thinkers. I hated Les Paul. Iíve never liked flash playing really. I donít mind flash performers, I donít mind showmanship, or guitar circus. When I was younger I used to listen to a hell of a lot to Charlie Parker and Charlie Christian and when you hear him play the way he did and as fast as he did without any flash at all, pure expression of the soul literally flying above everything else, why even bother to attempt to come close? And for me I feel Iím on the ground, physical, and a writer and words are really what Iím about. I wouldnít even attempt to try and approach that and I think itís impetuous of people to imagine that they can think that fast.
I heard an album recently by Larry Carlton that I enjoyed. I didnít necessarily like the music but itís effortless to listen to him. I feel Joe (Walsh) is a very expressive guitar player. And he has brought out a lot of expressiveness in the other guitar player in the band, Don Felder. And I like Pat Martino a lot.

Guitar Player: Do you listen to other rhythm guitarists?

PT: I think my biggest influence in that area was Keith Richards. And I still really like the way he plays but in that particular area I donít think Iím topped. Thereís nobody to touch me. Whatís really strange is I donít think thereís many people who have actually heard me play rhythm in the function of a rhythm guitar. Thatís where I really get off very well. I wouldnít object at all to have a guitar player in The Who so that I could just concentrate on rhythm. Because I love it. Itís a physical thing, itís like a dancing thing. Thereís a strong syncopation element in it. Thereís no guitar player that Iíve ever worked with that hasnít said it - Jimi Hendrix, Stephen Stills, Eric. Theyíve all said it was great to play with you."

Hereís Keith on the subject of acoustic guitar: ďNo matter what else you do, if you donít keep up your acoustic work, youíre never going to get the full potential out of an electric, because you lose that touch. You get sloppier. Electricity will give you some great effects and some great tone. But if you donít control it, it can easily take you over the edge into some supersonic nowhere land. I donít play electric guitars at home, I play acoustic.Ē (Guitar Player, Dec. í92)



 

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  posted on 5/16/2012 at 04:29 PM
I love Tommy and quadrophenia and I think live at leeds is along with the allman's fillmore one of the very best live albums ever recorded....that said I think who's next is perhaps the greatest and most consistent rock album of all time......as a kid i wore that album out and to this day it is one of my all time favorites!

[Edited on 5/16/2012 by jonbrach]

 

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  posted on 5/16/2012 at 04:50 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpjwE1_IJUw&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkIDAYZ6g_s


[Edited on 5/16/2012 by lolasdeb]

 

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  posted on 5/17/2012 at 05:03 PM
Thanks for the above links.

I couldn't agree more about Quadrophenia...powerful stuff for a teenager (me.) I also have the soundtrack for the movie album and then bought the dvd as well. The movie is tough to watch for the english accents, ha, ha, seriously, but is an excellent story.

Sticking with the acoustic Pete theme:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K9OFZ98zq8


Oh, here's Eminence Front, mentioned above, with a solo band, where he is indeed playing lead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmfXo4Lzvps&feature=related

[Edited on 5/17/2012 by heineken515]

 

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