Johnny Marr

Published 12 years ago on March 1, 2012

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

To accompany our Johnny Marr interview and player profile, Jamie Humphries gets all indie and offers a brief insight into some of the classic rhythm guitar and riffing techniques of the Manchester guitar legend

With the Smiths, Johnny Marr crafted some of the most beautiful and haunting guitar parts in '80s pop/rock history. From the jangling chords of 'This Charming Man' to the dark and sinister tremolo driven riffs of 'How Soon is Now?', Marr helped re-launch the electric guitar, in a time of synth-driven pop, inspired a generation, and defined the Manchester genre.

Like Johnny's heroes before him, he stood true to his beliefs and love and passion of the guitar, with no thoughts or concerns for fame and money, just a passion and drive to be creative. In this short stylistic tech session, I have put together a short Smiths inspired track that looks at some of Johnny's favourite and most famous ideas. Obviously there is a lot more to Johnny than these ideas presented, just listen to his 'textural loops' performed on the Hans Zimmer Orchestral/electronic score for the Hollywood sci-fi thriller 'Inception'. You will hear a different side to Johnny's playing - using the guitar to create more soundscape ideas. But for this lesson we have looked at his chord and riff driven Indie Pop style

For our verse progression or A section I have chosen to look at the jangly very 'Manchester sounding' approach to Johnny's playing. The chord progression is based around the chords of A major, C# minor, B minor, D and E major.


"I Remember Seeing Jennifer Batten Play 'Beat It' and Thought, 'What is that? I Need That!'": Gary Clark Jr. on Early Influences, Current Live Rig, and More | Interview
"London, are you ready to rock?" BST Hyde Park: Kings of Leon, Gary Clark Jr. and Paolo Nutini, Electrify Day Two
Mud, Rain, and Rock 'n' Roll — Guitar Interactive at The Download Festival 2024 | Feature
Tom Morello on new single with his son "Soldier in the Army of Love," the last time he saw Chris Cornell & beating Simon Cowell in the charts | Interview
Top magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram