Living Colour Style

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Hi GMC!

    Welcome to my new lesson covering the style of Living Colour, an American rock band from New York City, formed in 1984. The band has become popular thanks to the album “Vivid” (1988) and their big hit “Cult of personality”. The band members are Vernon Reid (Lead guitar), Corey Glover (Lead vocals), Will Calhoun (Drums) and Doug Wimbish (Bass).

    Music Style:
    Their style is defined as Alternative metal, Funk and experimental rock. They do a very creative fusion that takes sounds from free jazz, funk, hip hop, hard rock and heavy metal. In this lesson I covered their more mainstream style that is a mix of Alternative with Funk Metal. Their riffs are usually very groovy and powerful, over very consistent drum and bass. Vernon Reid's playing is very unique and that’s why I consider him as one of the most innovative alternative rock/metal guitarists ever. In this lesson I will show his most used ways of arranging rock songs.

    Tonality, Chord Progression & Scales:
    Living Colour takes influences from fusion and jazz, and that’s why they have songs that have extra harmony elements compared with other more conventional alternative bands. This lesson is based on a riff around G dominant arpeggio and G mixolydian mode. The whole tune is around this mode, giving the song a funky, jazzy vibe. You will also find some use of chromatic passing tones near to the end of the lesson.

    This lesson is very cool for rock guitarists that want to expand their arrangements vocabulary. Vernon’s creative guitar playing is reflected and re-created in this lesson that includes techniques as only downstrokes, alternate picking, vibrato and use of tremolo bar.

    I used LePoin plugins to create the guitar tone. These are free amp emulators that are extremely recommended. The cabinet used for this guitar tone is Poulin LeGion which seems to be a Soldano Emulation. I also added a tube screamer emulation (overdrive) before the amp. Check out the settings:

    Click HERE to download my Patch.

    I used Cubase to record audio and midi, SSD 3.5 for drums and Trillian for bass.

    Tuning: standard EADGBE tuning

    Tempo: 100 BPM
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