Noel Gallagher talked with Guitar Player Magazine about his thoughts about guitar virtuosity.
Read what he said:
“The truth is, I’m not a great guitar player. I just use the guitar to write songs. I never wanted to be that ‘guitar hero’ guy. I wanted to be a songwriter. As far as I’m concerned, the guitar is just a means to an end.”
So when you heard shredders, were you like, ‘That stuff sucks’?
“I don’t think it sucks. I love to hear great guitar players. I think guitar playing is an art that’s becoming lost today. You see bands now, and there’s some guy wearing a guitar, but he’s not playing it. So shred isn’t for me, but I didn’t want to be like that, either. I still don’t care about lead guitar. I only played solos because nobody else could.”
What’s your idea of a perfect solo?
“Something that speaks. ‘Live Forever’ is a good solo because it lifts the song somewhere else. ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ is a good solo, too. Those things aren’t great technically, but they speak. That’s all that matters.”
Did you have those solos worked out before you cut them in the studio?
“No, I winged them. I still do. I’ll do something until I find a nice middle bit, and then I’ll think, ‘Okay, how do I get to that?’ So I go back and work out a beginning, and then an end.”
And the same goes for riffs?
“On this record [Noel’s third and latest solo album, last year’s ‘Who Built the Moon?’], I didn’t have any riffs prepared. I’d go in the studio, and David [Holmes, producer] would ask, ‘Got any riffs?’ That was fine, because if somebody says to you the night before, ‘Have some riffs for tomorrow,’ you’ll sit at home and overthink it. But if somebody asks for riffs on the spot, you can’t overthink it. You’ve just got to do it. Nothing on this record was thought out – it’s just moments of inspiration.”
You’ve always been a Gibson player. Are you still using that red, 1960 ES-355?
“I’m going to blow your mind now. Every song was played with the same guitar and the same amp. I used a Nash S Model and a ’70s Fender silverface Princeton. The only other guitar was what Johnny [Marr, who made a guest appearance on ‘If Love Is the Law’] used – a Nash JM.”