Last week, we published a set of 10 Breathtaking Isolated Vocals, each of which offered a chance to hear a singer at their most naked. Over on YouTube, you can find other instruments isolated from master tracks too – most notably the guitar.
The first thing to note is that a lot of guitar tracks sound horrible isolated, like a rusty needle to the eardrum. The second is that the vast majority of isolated guitar tracks available are by either Rush or Van Halen. However, find the right one and something sublime happens: you can hear the strings squeaking, notes being stumbled over, hidden nuances that had gone undetected before. Here are five good ‘uns.
It’s undoubtedly one of the greatest guitar performances of all time: the late Allen Collins ripping through the monster-sized solo from Lynryrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’. And you thought it was hard to play on Guitar Hero…
Here's Eddie Van Halen solo-ing on Michael Jackson's 'Beat It'. Steve Lukather of Toto playing the iconic riff, also available isolated on YouTube – just one reason why Gibson Guitar Corporation named him among the top 10 session guitarists of all time.
If you were in any doubt that John Squire is up there with the greatest British guitarists, listen to this incredible isolated guitar part from ‘Love Spreads’. You can find the other instruments isolated on YouTube too, meaning if you’re incredibly bored you can open all of them at the same time and pretend you’re with them in the recording studio.
It’s not as cleanly isolated as some of the others, but the sound of ol’ slow hands Eric Clapton guesting on George Harrison’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ is that of a master at work. He really starts to make it wail at about two minutes in.
Stunningly intricate guitar-work from John Frusciante on this: more fragile than you might imagine.