Song Breakdown : Crossfire by SRV Pt. 2 | Guitargate

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Song Breakdown : Crossfire by SRV Pt. 2

In this masterclass, Lyle Brewer takes us on an in-depth journey through the nuances of playing a Stevie Ray Vaughan classic, emphasizing the importance of technique, tone, and the emotional expression behind each note. Lyle begins by sharing a glimpse into his temporary teaching space, which belongs to his son, showcasing a cozy room filled with guitars, music paraphernalia, and personal touches. He then transitions into the heart of the lesson, focusing on the intricacies of guitar playing that make blues music so soul-stirringly powerful.

Lyle meticulously breaks down various segments of the song, demonstrating techniques such as bending, hybrid picking, and the subtle art of muting with the pick. He shares insights on how to achieve the iconic tones that define blues rock, including the use of gauge 13 strings for a fatter sound, and how to effectively manipulate the guitar to express the desired musical emotions. Throughout the masterclass, Lyle stresses the importance of patience, practice, and persistence, drawing parallels between learning music and timeless tales of perseverance like "The Little Engine That Could" and "The Tortoise and the Hare."

The masterclass is not just a technical tutorial but also a testament to Lyle's teaching philosophy, which is centered around keeping the love for music and creativity alive. He encourages learners to set high goals, tackle challenging pieces, and ultimately find joy in the journey of mastering their instrument. Lyle's engaging teaching style, combined with his deep respect for musical tradition and innovation, makes this masterclass a valuable resource for guitarists looking to deepen their understanding of blues rock and improve their playing skills.

Transcript Summary


  • Introduction and Setting (00:00:03 - 00:02:01)
    • Lyle greets viewers and expresses joy in interacting and discussing music.
    • He mentions technical difficulties leading to streaming from his son's room.
    • Shows off his son's guitar setup, highlighting a Fender Princeton Amp.
  • Approach to Learning Music (00:02:01 - 00:04:48)
    • Lyle shares insights from teaching his son, emphasizing fun in learning.
    • Discusses the importance of understanding the entire composition of a song.
    • Mentions prior lessons on Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Crossfire".
  • Guitar Technique Overview (00:04:48 - 00:07:02)
    • Explains the use of slides and bends in blues and soul music.
    • Demonstrates specific guitar licks, focusing on the transition between major and minor thirds.
    • Touches on the unique tones achieved through these techniques.
  • Discussion on Gear and Tone (00:07:02 - 00:10:02)
    • Lyle talks about the impact of string gauge on sound, mentioning Stevie Ray Vaughan's preference for heavier strings.
    • Highlights the trade-offs in tone and playability when choosing gear.
    • Shares personal preferences and adjustments for achieving desired sounds.
  • Application of Techniques in Songs (00:10:02 - 00:13:55)
    • Illustrates how to apply discussed techniques in playing "Crossfire".
    • Emphasizes the importance of muting and articulation for clarity in fast licks.
    • Compares bending techniques and their effects on the musical expression.
  • Influences and Learning Process (00:13:55 - 00:16:45)
    • References Albert King as a significant influence on Stevie Ray Vaughan's style.
    • Encourages learning directly from recordings for accuracy and understanding.
    • Shares personal anecdotes on the challenges and rewards of mastering difficult pieces.
  • Conclusion and Encouragement (00:16:45 - 00:32:075)
    • Reiterates the value of setting high goals and diligently working towards them.
    • Encourages viewers to embrace the learning process, regardless of its complexity.
    • Concludes the session with thanks and anticipates future interactions.

Lyle has been one of my very favorite guitarists for the past few years, and I’m THRILLED to announce that he’s agreed to join the Guitargate teaching roster!

Lyle - if you didn’t know - is a big deal. He is a wildly respected member of the guitar community and is a monster player in what seems to be every genre. He is the lead guitarist of the band Neighbor, and also teaches at Berklee in Boston (so bring him the hard questions).

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