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writing "stevie" sounding songs


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Originally posted by Chicken Monkey

Tambourine and fingerpicked electric guitars? And melodies at the bottom of her range?



Yeah, throw away your flatpick. But it is the combination of a fingerpicked or lightly strummed acoustic with a slightly distorted fingerpicked electric that is the key to Lindsay Buckinham's guitar sound.



Do you always use your fingers on the strings instead of a pick?

Almost always. Sometimes I use a flatpick in the studio on acoustic. If I need to get a nice clear strumming sound, it's a good idea. But I don't use a pick onstage at all...

They tried to get me to use a pick when I first joined the band. They had certain things they thought were appropriate. I tried to adapt as much as I could. I was playing a Fender Telecaster when I first joined. And I started playing a Les Paul, because it was somehow more appropriate to the pre-existing Fleetwood Mac sound, kind of a fatter sound.



Harmonically, keep it simple. Especially on the Stevie (to me Stevie will always be Stevie Wonder but I will try and use your naming convention for clarity's sake) penned songs, the basic guitar parts are pretty straightforward - walking bass parts with the thumb and open tuned arpeggios with hammer-on/pull-offs on the treble strings. Most of the time you can just brush the strings, but from time to time, for emphasis, you need to get under the strings with your fingernails and pluck (Lindsay also plays a lot of banjo) or add a more piano-style voicing by sounding the three treble strings in unison.


If it is just the two of you and she really does sing like Stevie Nicks that should get you to the point of recognition, especially if you throw in a couple of big fat hints (like covers of Rhiannon or Landslide).


If you are interested in a more filled-out, Fleetwood Mac sound (which is what I find interesting) you need to go quite a bit further. To start with, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood are an amazing rhythm section who were recorded and produced extremely well (at least in the FM/Rumours/Tusk period). The drums parts are tasteful yet driving: the cymbals and hats shimmer, the snare gets just the right amount of chuck, the kick gets mixed pretty far down but the bass is locked in so well that you don't really miss the thud/boom. And on the more uptempo songs (which are my favorites) there is an unobtrusive but undeniably rocking crunchy/distorted blues based lead guitar, often doubled in the studio.


So have fun, but try not to go overboard with the candelabra and veils.

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