Who better to teach the Roger McGuinn style than the original Byrd himself? Using his signature Rickenbacker 360-12, McGuinn details the characteristic opening of “Mr. Tambourine Man,” highlighting the way he achieves ringing sustain with the use of fingerpicks and flatpicks. Those up-picking fingers, third through fifth, are the key to the sound and McGuinn also demonstrates the banjo-like rolls, double-time picking and other techniques on classics like “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “Eight Miles High.” Switching to an acoustic Martin 12-string (a somewhat surprising choice), he explores Ledbelly’s “On Easter Morn’ He Rose” and shows other examples of bass lines and picking patterns that make the 12-string guitar such a vehicle for any sort of music. Throughout the video, McGuinn is relaxed and comfortable as he offers insight into not only his music, but also maintenance and repair tips (who do you think strings all those guitars, anyway?), recording preferences and more. One caveat; if you want to play along with the video, you will need to re-tune your guitar down a half step, as McGuinn has always done.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s August ’97 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.