British Psychedelic Guitar Sounds

Psychedelic music was first popularized in 1965. British bands like the Stones, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin wore flamboyant pants, pumps, shirts and hairstyles. These bands helped to define fashion trends as well as the hottest musical innovations of the decade:

1. Multi-track recording increased from 4 to 8 tracks, allowing for wide experimentation with guitar sounds.

2. Psychedelic Guitar Effects:

  • Wah-wah pedal - a swooshing cry sound from compression and fluctuation of the guitar tone.
  • Sitar sounds - far eastern sounds created by playing Dorian and Phrygian scales.
  • Echo - recreation of the original tone delayed slightly after sounding. Sustain and feedback - achieved by standing in front of your amplifier until the signal continually regenerates.
  • Violin bowing - use of an authentic violin bow across the guitar strings or an electronic effect.

How to create a Sitar sound on your guitar

When playing a D dorian scale for example (D,E,F,G,A,B,C,D) your guitar may emulate a sitar sound. Try using a droning D, 4th string open as a repeated bass note and then add the D dorian scale on top. Use the 3rd string, 7th, 9th,10th and 12th frets to improvise the melody.

Try also using a droning D, 4th string open and a droning G, 3rd string open as repeated bass notes. Use the 2nd string 15th,17th,18th and 20th fret notes to improvise the melody. Slide into the notes once in awhile ascending and descending through the scale. When you start sounding like a far eastern sitar you know you've got it! For more info refer to the book Guitar Styles Of The British Invasion.

By John Tapella

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