George Harrison as a Guitarist

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by A Saucerful of Scarlets, May 11, 2018.

  1. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    So we’ve talked about Ringo as a drummer but...
    What do you think of George as a guitarist? Beatles work or otherwise.

    My friend thinks he’s not very good at all and is a big reason why he’s not the biggest fan of early Beatles. Likes and loves some of it, but finds it severely lacking. Clumsy playing and simple chords. Now I’m not a guitarist and know nothing about it so I have little opinion, but from what I can hear it’s not great pre-Rubber Soul and only decent afterwards. It’s definitely melodic, though. The guitar in music is the thing I play easily the least attention to. For a long time I’ve heard music as the overall melody, so when I listen to a guitar solo I don’t think a guitar solo, I just think of it as a section of the music. I’m interested in what others think.
    Paulwalrus and roger87 like this.
  2. klaatuhf

    klaatuhf Forum Resident

    Sydney, Australia
    George was a very average guitarist. His slide playing was much better though. His playing in 1962 - 1964 when heard in isolation is laughable at times and what a terrible sound.. his solos were like rubber bands. Things improved a lot after 1964 but he never got a lot better. It's possible and it has been argued a lot previously but IMHO I think Paul was probably a better lead guitarist but lets not start discussing that old chestnut. Of course George had his moments but overall... average at best.
    Paul W, MungoMusic, ltdrry and 9 others like this.
  3. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Forum Resident

    He was not real good at the start, but he grew in the job. By the time of the breakup, he was fairly accomplished.
  4. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Senior Member

    I like what he brought to Beatles songs and his own solo work. It sounds good. That's about all I can think to say. :)
  5. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    What do you think of his playing on Rubber Soul and Revolver?
  6. fallbreaks

    fallbreaks Forum Resident

    Like Ringo, he filled his role capably while contributing to the success of the whole enterprise. The Beatles were more than the sum of their parts.
    No Bull, supermd, Paul W and 42 others like this.
  7. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    Very true. However, Ringo’s drumming stands out to me often. George’s doesn’t on anything other than stuff on Revolver. But that probably doesn’t say much if anything at all as for reasons previously mentioned.
  8. hugo.polo

    hugo.polo Forum Resident

    His playing may not dazzle much today but he was pretty good for 60s rock guitar standards. It’s important to think about context. Back in the 60s the standards were much lower technically. There were no guitar mags or YouTube vids to learn from. In that context he was one of the pioneers of rock guitar, not as much as Clapton or Hendrix of course, but back then the rock guitar path had not been paved the way it’s now. So he deserves credit even though nowadays the average guy in Guitar Center is as good as George was. Plus the solo on “Something” is just perfect.
    supermd, Maltman, BPMC and 40 others like this.
  9. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Forum Resident

    Better, but I think he reached his peak with the Beatles at the end.
  10. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    My favourite Beatles guitar solo is on Taxman, and he didn’t even play it.
    His playing on And I Love Her is one of his standout moments to me however, as it is on She Said She Said as well.
  11. kollektionist

    kollektionist Forum Resident

    Immensely underrated !!!
  12. Bemagnus

    Bemagnus Music is fun

    I sincerely think Harrison was a very good guitar player.many of his solos are iconic and truly served the songs. He also of and the used chords not all that common within rock
    A great musician period
    Vic_1957, No Bull, sean3089 and 39 others like this.
  13. BDC

    BDC Forum Resident

    Wow people dissing George as a guitar player! Sorry but those Perkins licks are killer, and his solo on "This boy" was great and still is. I haven't heard isolated tracks.. George did Chuck Berry better than almost anybody in those days..... "Something", among later stuff is an all time great lead....and he was a pretty good slide player.... All this and the chord sophistication of the Beatles separated them from everybody else from the start... George was great at accenting John without stepping on his playing.
  14. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    I should make a thread on whether John was a good player sometime. Something I never thought of.
    bzfgt, The FRiNgE and ohnothimagen like this.
  15. Thomas Casagranda

    Thomas Casagranda Forum Resident

    George came into his own with that nifty slide sound from All Things Must Pass onwards. I love the story of how he began to deploy it on the Delaney & Bonnie tour, immediately post Beatles, and then grew as a musician with it.
  16. Trashman

    Trashman Forum Resident

    His playing served the music, which I think is the key requirement of any guitarist. He was not a showoff, which would not have worked for the Beatles. Same goes for Ringo's drumming. They were the right people in the right group.
    Vic_1957, supermd, Paul W and 45 others like this.
  17. drbryant

    drbryant Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA
    We have this thread about once a year. I’ll give my standard responses. Harrison’s solos on early Beatles hits were perfect, are now an integral part of those songs. Listen to any McCartney show. With the sole exception of “I Saw Her Standing There”, every early Beatles song he’s ever done contains George’s solo played note for note, and that makes sense. Changing a note in the solo of any early Beatles song would be as jarring as changing the lyrics - they are simply that iconic.

    As a solo musician, he’s the only one of the four ex-Beatles to develop a signature style (his distinctive slide) after the breakup. He was incredibly talented.
    Vic_1957, No Bull, supermd and 44 others like this.
  18. MonkeyLizard

    MonkeyLizard I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel.

    I used to think he was just an ok guitarist. But as time passes I realize how much emotion he packs in that fragile guitar tone.

    In passing it tends to just sound kind of sloppy and mediocre, but there's a real vulnerability in his playing that I find so beautiful lately. One of a kind.
  19. Rufus McDufus

    Rufus McDufus Forum Resident

    His playing was not technical or flash (and soulless in many cases) in the way we often seem to think is a great quality in guitar playing these days, but undoubtedly his ear for melody and a good riff was supreme. He does play things which actually aren't that easy too - not easy to get absolutely right. Beatles songs are among those I hear copied most badly by budding guitarists. And yes I love his Perkins style too. "What Goes On" is a song that most Beatles fans seem to have a bit of trouble with but I love the guitar on it.
    Vic_1957, No Bull, supermd and 15 others like this.
  20. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    I didn’t find any on the search. I’d imagine it’s mini discussions within other threads.
    bzfgt likes this.
  21. BDC

    BDC Forum Resident

    It often crosses my mind when I get on this topic, just how amazing a player he might of been if he got songwriting credit on the Lennon/McCartney stuff. Since writing was where the money was, thats where George's focus was. If the money was in woodshedding guitar chops, who knows. Regardless he's a great and iconic guitar player. OP here may do better to start a Lennon guitar bash thread.... It's best I stay away from that one. Lennon is underrated too.
    AudiophilePhil likes this.
  22. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    These aren’t hate threads. I’m expecting more positive things said about George here then negative, and I certainly don’t hate him or his playing.
  23. MHP

    MHP Lover of Rock ‘n Roll

  24. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Forum Resident

    IMO, he was not, and that's because he didn't care to hone his technique; he was all about getting the song out.
    Paul W likes this.
  25. BDC

    BDC Forum Resident

    Fair enough, I can be critical of him as a singer post Beatles, just not as the lead guitar player of the greatest band that will ever be. What goes up must come down, there are those with Beatles hangover.

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