Maybe I’m too young (that would be a first) or maybe it is because Mountain weren’t very popular in England but I had not heard of Leslie West until he supported Joe Satriani on his US leg of the Professor Satchafunkilus tour. This seems even stranger when you consider that Leslie was an influence on a young Joe Satriani.
This DVD, like the Mark Tremonti DVD I reviewed last week is part documentary, part instructional DVD and as you might have guessed is produced by the same company Fret12. The DVD comes with a tab booklet that includes all the examples that Leslie plays and it is clearly indicated on screen so you know which number to flick to. In all there are 14 exercises covering; Favorite Fretboard Patterns, Getting a Tone, String Stretching, Playing the Blues, Major vs. Minor Contrast, Songwriting Arranging & Melody, Importance of the Riff, Chords and Tension Notes, Soloing, Improvisation and more. Now 14 exercises doesn’t sound much but there is 2 1/2 hours of footage on this DVD so you can be sure that Leslie doesn’t just skip from example to example with no explanation.
There are special guest appearances by Zakk Wylde, Joe Satriani, Mark Tremonti and Corky Laing who talk about why Leslie has influenced them and as per usual Zakk acts the clown! I don’t think Zakk Wylde has given a serious interview in his life, Leslie seems to share the same sense of humour too.
Leslie as you probably know has a signature Dean guitar which leads me to my favourite part of the DVD, being such a guitar nerd, an extensive Dean Guitars USA Custom Shop Factory tour. This tour shows everything from how bookmatched body slabs sawn and glued together to the CNC machines that are used to cut the necks. This is a fascinating and unique look into the technology and secrets behind the Dean USA Custom guitars construction. You also get to see the custom pickups that are used in his signature guitar and how they are wound. Aside from the Dean factory tour there is also a look at Leslie’s Signature Budda amps with Budda’s head designer who explains how his amps are configured.
I honestly think that this should be a feature of every guitar instructional DVD. I think the artist should explain why they chose the guitar they are playing and what amps and effects they use to achieve their various rhythm and lead tones. It takes years to learn by trial and error, this helps cut that time down.
For more information check out www.fret12.com.