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Home » Bernie Marsden The Blues Rock and Slick Solos

Bernie Marsden The Blues Rock and Slick Solos

Bernie Marsden with his Gibson

Bernie Marsden was a highly influential guitarist who had a major impact on many of the guitarists of today. He was known for his bluesy, melodic playing style, and his work with Whitesnake helped to define the sound of 1980s hard rock.

“I suppose I am proud of what has gone on, after all I only ever wanted to play the guitar for a living, and that is what I am still doing.”


Cover Photo Credit

Bernie Marsden” by oiyou is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

What guitar did Bernie Marsden play?

Bernie Marsden played a variety of guitars throughout his career, but his most famous guitar was his 1959 Gibson Les Paul, nicknamed “The Beast”.

He bought the guitar in 1974 for £500, and it was his main guitar for his time in Whitesnake. He also used it on his solo albums and tours. The guitar is known for its rich, warm tone and its sustain.

Marsden also played other guitars, including Fender Stratocasters, Telecasters, and ES-335s. He was also known for his use of effects pedals, such as wah-wah pedals, delay pedals, and chorus pedals.

In addition to his electric guitars, Marsden also played acoustic guitars. He was a skilled fingerstyle player, and he often used acoustic guitars on his solo albums.

Marsden’s guitar playing was influenced by a variety of players, including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimi Hendrix. He was also a fan of blues and jazz guitarists, such as B.B. King and Charlie Christian.

Marsden’s Influence On Guitarists

Marsden’s guitar playing was characterized by his bluesy, melodic style. He was a master of string bending and vibrato, and he used a variety of effects pedals to create his signature sound. Marsden was a highly influential guitarist, and his playing style continues to inspire guitarists around the world.

Some of the guitarists who have cited Marsden as an influence include:

  • Joe Bonamassa
  • Gary Moore
  • Richie Kotzen
  • Warren DeMartini
  • Doug Aldrich
  • Marco Mendoza

These guitarists all admire Marsden’s technical skill, his feel for the blues, and his ability to write memorable melodies. They have all incorporated elements of Marsden’s playing style into their own music, and they continue to cite him as an inspiration.

In addition to his influence on other guitarists, Marsden was also a successful solo artist. He released six albums under his own name, and he toured extensively throughout his career. He was a highly respected musician, and his death in 2022 was a major loss to the blues and rock communities.

While it is difficult to quantify Marsden’s influence on guitarists of today, it is clear that he was a major figure in the development of hard rock and blues guitar. His playing style and songwriting were both highly influential, and he continues to be an inspiration to guitarists around the world.

Marsden Playing Other Guitarists

Marsden, is known for his ability to play the music of other guitarists with precision and skill. One guitarist he particularly excels at emulating is Rory Gallagher. Marsden’s attention to detail and dedication to capturing Gallagher’s unique style is evident in his performances. From the gritty blues riffs to the soulful solos, Marsden flawlessly recreates the essence of Gallagher’s music. Fans of both guitarists are in awe of Marsden’s ability to pay homage to Gallagher while still adding his own personal touch. Marsden’s talent as a guitarist truly shines through when he takes on the challenge of playing the music of other guitarists, especially when it comes to capturing the spirit of Rory Gallagher.

What was the best solo from Bernie Marsden?

Bernie Marsden had many great guitar solos throughout his career, but some of his most popular and acclaimed include:

  • “Fool for Your Loving” by Whitesnake (1980): This classic hard rock song features a soaring, melodic solo from Marsden that is both technically proficient and emotionally expressive.
  • “Lovehunter” by Whitesnake (1982): This album track is another showcase for Marsden’s bluesy, melodic playing style. The solo is full of soulful bends and vibrato, and it perfectly complements the song’s driving rhythm.
  • “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake (1987): This iconic power ballad features a memorable solo from Marsden that is both passionate and powerful. The solo builds to a dramatic crescendo, and it perfectly encapsulates the song’s emotional intensity.

It is difficult to say definitively which of these solos is Marsden’s best, as they are all all excellent examples of his playing. However, “Fool for Your Loving” and “Lovehunter” are two of his most popular and well-known solos, and they are both great examples of his bluesy, melodic playing style. “Here I Go Again” is another iconic solo that is full of passion and power, and “Hard Times” is a masterclass in blues guitar. Ultimately, the best Bernie Marsden solo is a matter of personal preference, but any of these five solos would be a great choice.

How To Play Guitar in the Style of Bernie Marsden?

Here are some tips on how to play guitar in the style of Bernie Marsden:

  • Learn the blues. Marsden’s playing is heavily influenced by the blues, so it is important to have a solid understanding of blues theory and technique.
  • Develop your vibrato. Marsden’s vibrato is one of his signature sounds, so it is important to practice until you can produce a smooth, expressive vibrato.
  • Use a variety of string bending techniques. Marsden is a master of string bending, and he uses a variety of techniques to create different sounds. Experiment with different bends until you find the ones that you like best.
  • Develop your phrasing. Marsden’s solos are full of memorable melodies, so it is important to develop your own phrasing skills. Listen to his solos and try to emulate his sense of melody and rhythm.
  • Use a variety of effects. Marsden is known for his use of effects pedals, so experiment with different pedals until you find the ones that you like best. Some effects that Marsden commonly uses include wah-wah pedals, delay pedals, and chorus pedals.

Here are some specific exercises that you can do to improve your playing in the style of Bernie Marsden:

  • Practice blues scales and arpeggios. This will help you to develop your understanding of blues theory and technique.
  • Practice string bending exercises. This will help you to develop your finger strength and flexibility.
  • Practice soloing over blues progressions. This will help you to develop your phrasing skills.
  • Experiment with different effects pedals. This will help you to find the effects that you like best and to learn how to use them effectively.

With practice, you can develop your playing in the style of Bernie Marsden and become a bluesy, melodic guitar player like him.

Chris Dempsey

Chris Dempsey

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