Though rarely discussed, one of the most distinctive aspects of Van Halen's sound was Eddie's tuning of the guitar. Before Van Halen, most distorted, metal-oriented rock consciously avoided the use of the major third interval in guitar chords, creating instead the signature power chord of the genre. When run through a distorted amplifier, the rapid beating of the major third on a conventionally tuned guitar is distracting and somewhat dissonant.
Van Halen developed a technique of flattening his B string slightly so that the interval between the open G and B reaches a justly intonated, beatless third. This consonant third was almost unheard of in distorted-guitar rock and allowed Van Halen to use major chords in a way that mixed classic hard rock power with "happy" pop. The effect is pronounced on songs such as "Runnin' With the Devil", "Unchained", and "Where Have All the Good Times Gone?".
With the B string flattened the correct amount, chords in some positions on the guitar have more justly intonated thirds, but in other positions the flat B string creates out-of-tune intervals. As Eddie once remarked to Guitar Player:
A guitar is just theoretically built wrong. Each string is an interval of fourths, and then the B string is off. Theoretically, that's not right. If you tune an open E chord in the first position and it's perfectly in tune, and then you hit a barre chord an octave higher, it's out of tune. The B string is always a bitch to keep in tune all the time! So I have to retune for certain songs.
eddie van halen is now my favourite guitarist, just for mentioning just intonation. fuck knows i'll never listen to his music, but it completely nails why that major third is such a problem when distorted: because it's out of tune, which is exacerbated by the distortion.
tv go home is being re-printed, to cash in on brooker's more recent fame, although it will also expose his more recent self-plagiarism
ex-band father of boon, whom i saw supporting mclusky about 5 years ago in brighton and *loved*, have got their post-humous album out for FREE on otter recordings: it's really good, fun, angular indie.
victoria coren on stephen fry on sex
I quite enjoyed escape from the underworld, and it's soundtrack, although i'm completely stuck on it. i swear i've not heard the 'word' 'metroidvanian' until this week. but it sums up that entire line of games - i think zelda should be thrown in there too, even though it's not a platformer - well it's really just got gravity turned off, like echo the dolphin, with a fake perspective thrown on top. i really enjoyed watching my roommate at uni play through super metroid, i really loved all the back tracking and exploring. it was like... a bad sorting algorithm. every time you get something new, you need to check everywhere you've ever been in case you find something hidden. you really had to know your territory. maybe it's just a logical way to get the most out of a game, but i like how it's zeitgeisting atm. maybe zeltroidvania is the new jrpg?
gosh, i'm struggling with this shit already. maybe a weekly thing wasn't such a good idea after all?