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The Guitar World According to Noel Gallagher

Daniel Eriksson
|
06.12.2013
Noel Gallagher

Noel Gallagher has made a name for himself by writing catchy rock songs. With Oasis’ first two albums, it seemed he could do nothing wrong. Every song released became a massive hit for the band. After a disappointing third album, and struggling fourth one, Oasis came back strong with Heathen Chemistry, and it seems that Gallagher really has found his stride since. His first solo release Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds was a success both critically as well as with the fans. Here we take a look at what Noel has to say about some of his guitars, song writing, and his guitar playing style.

In an interview with MusicRadar, Noel spoke about his love for the Gibson ES-355, in the studio as well as when playing live:

“Usually, I just pick my 1960's Gibson 355 – that's the basis for everything... the guitars I bring on tour are either 355s or 345s. Those are what I play.”

In a promo clip for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, he can be seen playing a Gibson SG. Noel talked to MusicRadar about how the guitar was used on the album:

“That's a new SG. I bought it in Japan. I used it on ‘Record Machine,’ the part where we had to fill out the power chords – we were going for a Who thing, like in ‘Won't Get Fooled Again.’ Someone said, 'Try an SG,' and I just happened to have one.”

Noel spoke to TimeOutDubai on why he still enjoy recording and touring:

“Neil Young gave me a piece of advice once, he said: ‘just do it when you feel like it, because if you do it when you feel like it you’ll always enjoy it.’ That’s sound advice. I don’t live to work, I work to live. I do those tours because that allows me to sit on my [behind] for two years, and that’s it.”

In an interview with SPIN magazine, Noel was asked about his biggest regret career-wise. His answer is definitely something a young up-and-coming band can learn from:

“I wish we'd let (What's the Story) Morning Glory? settle and go away. It was still No. 5 in the Billboard 100 when we started making Be Here Now. I wish someone who's paid to be bright and clever had told us to go away and do a bit of living. But we were fueled by youth and cocaine. Everything was going to be bigger and better. We were surrounded by people telling us it was the greatest thing they'd ever heard. When you're the cash cow that lays the golden goose egg, people are always going to cheer you on, whatever.”

Gallagher spoke to MTV about how he ended up being the lead guitarist in Oasis. Turns out it was more out of necessity rather than actually wanting it:

“I played lead guitar in the band because everybody else, in the early days, was useless, so that kind of fell to me. It's not something I ever thought I would put myself up there with John Squire or Johnny Marr or all those great British guitarists, that's not my thing. My thing was songwriting.”

Noel Gallagher has always been extremely creative when it comes to songwriting. Every Oasis single would always be accompanied by B-sides that sometimes were even better than the single. So, what’s the secret to Noel’s songwriting process? Here’s what he had to say on the subject to Portland Mercury:

“The best gigs I ever do are the ones where I'm just at home. The best songs I write are just spontaneous things, where I just get in a [expletive] trance at home with the guitar.”

When it comes to acoustic guitars, Noel is often seen playing a sunburst Gibson J-200. He’s said that he’s more of a “strummer” than lead guitarist. Here’s what Noel had to say about his distinct acoustic sound on songs like “Wonderwall,” and “If I Had A Gun” in an interview with MusicRadar:

“To be honest, I don't consider myself a guitarist, so I don't sit around and think about the whole thing too much. I only try to think about the songs, you know? I've got my own style on the guitar, sure, and I play rhythm in a certain way, and I use certain inflections. People have said that to me, and I understand it. But I don't have any magic answers – I just do what I do.”

In that same interview, Noel talked about how he approaches playing chords:

“I tend not to play a lot of major chords. I think I drop the major notes and play fifths, you know what I mean? Again, it's nothing I spend a lot of time on. I try to play like myself, and I think I do.”

More on Gallagher’s guitars here.

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