Guitar Shred – Ritchie Blackmore an Early Shredder

Ritchie Blackmore – An Early Shredder

If you are a student of shred guitar, it’s extremely important to go back beyond your current favorite players and check out their influences. Learning from your influence’s influences is one of the most important things to do as a musician. It gives you a look into where your favorites have come from and why they sound like they do. You should do this with all your heroes.

One example is Ritchie Blackmore – a huge influence to Yngwie Malmsteen. If you are into studying the guitar playing of Yngwie, you need to go back and check out Ritchie Blackmore –if you haven’t already.

Ritchie Blackmore, best known as the guitarist of Deep Purple and Rainbow was an early shredder. He combined elements of blues, jazz and classical into his rock guitar playing. There is so much more to his playing than just the main riff of “Smoke on The Water”.

For a taste of his playing check out the solo’s to “Highway Star” from Deep Purple and “Gates of Babylon” from Rainbow. Both of these solos will show you what he was doing before the whole shred thing started. One thing that may be interesting to do – As you listen to say, the solo from “Highway Star” look around the web to see what other guitar players were doing during that same period in rock guitar. You will see how Ritchie separated himself from the pack quite a bit with his use of arpeggios and the Harmonic Minor scale.

These days Ritchie is playing renaissance music with his group, Blackmore’s Night. blackmoresnight

I highly recommend to anyone studying guitar shred to search around the web for Ritchie Blackmore and listening to his huge catalogue of music spanning a very long career. He is an amazing guitarist who has influenced directly or indirectly just about every shredder out there!

I would love to hear your thoughts on Ritchie Blackmore!

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  • Paul  On January 19, 2008 at 2:06 am

    Underrated and undercredited. Probably the original shred guitarist, and the original neoclassical guitarist. Awesome alround ability, not just simply a guitarist, also a great musician and song writer. Underrated on rhythm (paradoxically remembered for excellent riffs, which often essentialy made up the primary aspect of the rhythm anyway) and that is probably because his leads and fills overshadow it, and sometimes he just wanted to make a bit of noise or give the keyboardist a go, he has so may options at his disposal. (But listen to some of his early live stuff and on some occasions he used this thrash-like chugging rhythm, not quite Metallica, but it was unheard of at the time anyway). He is also not simply a shred guitarist either, he is also very melodic and has excellent feel, and would incorporate a variety of genres in his music. Ritchie Blackmore is very improvisational and would naturally play according to his mood and how he feels in a particular situation or at a particular time, which often make his performances feel pretty fresh and make the purchase of many Deep Purple and Rainbow live bootlegs very worthwile, offering something different on many occasions. He certainly makes the Fender Stratocaster sound like no other.
    To all those that listened to Ritchie Blackmore’s 70s catalogue, and this is no slight on Eddie, but when Eddie Van Halen came along, a lot of us were probably wondering what the fuss was all about, we had mostly heard it all before. Van Halen I to me sounds kind of like a better produced and more american commercial version of Deep Purple In Rock, but without the hammond organ, a shame, I like hammond organ. I spose all Ritchie had not yet done was two-handed tapping, but often live he employed his own simple tapping method which essentially provided a similar enough sound (a pulsating effect) anyway (probably considered sort of psychedelic at the time) probably in a similar vain to Angus Young. He was certainly ahead of his time, and until Eddie came along, was essentially without peer in the field of rock. It is a shame that more people don’t realise how truly great and original this man is. Blackmore’s Night maybe isn’t a rock fans cup of tea, but it shows that Ritchie can play the acoustic guitar, and when he brings out the Stratocaster, displays the melody and feel that very few are capable of, so the band is a very worthwile listen for anyone on this factor alone.
    Ritchie’s only pitfall is the fact that he could be at the centre of in-band fighting because of his ego, controlling nature and temperament. Because of this, lineup change is part of his career, and has no doubt harmed his reputation. But at the same time his vices are part of what drives him to be what he is, a guitarist par excellence. Gives him fire and determination. A person who is willing to make changes when he is concerned about stagnation. A musician with an almost unrivalled catalogue of material. Or putting it another way, the greatest jerk of all time! Besides Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen and Yngwie Malmsteen, to name a few, probably have worse personality problems, so I’m sure we can forgive him.

  • Paul  On January 19, 2008 at 2:16 am

    I thank Guitar shred for recognising Ritchie Blackmore’s contribution to the development of shred. It is refreshing that someone isn’t just quoting Rolling Stone Magazine’s ignorant, fad related articles and often revisionist history, or other magazines much in the same vain.

    • bluesguitarlessons  On April 7, 2010 at 1:33 pm

      its good to see someone else wasnt too sure about that list. HAHA
      Thank you for the post

  • R E liddycoat  On December 25, 2008 at 1:40 am

    Blackmore is by far the most underrated.
    While it’s impossible to say who’s the best, you can separate Blackmore from many others who have gained more attention – Jimmy Page for example – listen to Blackmore play – no matter what he plays, or how fast he plays, the man finishes every single note. It’s astounding, really.
    You never hear a dead string as he misses. Listen to the others – you cannot say the same thing.

  • Gerald  On December 27, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Both Deep Purple and Rainbow were favorites of mine in the 70’s and 80’s and still are due mainly to the guitar work of Ritchie.Yngwie….well what can you say….he certainly took playing guitar to the next level and beyond with his mastery of sweep picking and just plain old blistering speed picking but to me his music doesn’t have the same feel as Blackmores perhaps because Blackmore was influenced by blues players as were a lot of the rockers of old whereas Malmsteen admits other than Ritchie his biggest influences were classic composers.Maybe the soul in the music is the biggest difference!
    I have to give a shout out to one of the best but most underrated guitarist of all and one of my favorites….Frank Marino!

  • james  On August 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Ritchie Blackmore is the bridge between Hendrix and VanHalen. He picked up where Jimi left off, and influenced millions of guitarists the world over including Edward Van Halen, you can hear it in his playing.

  • Accoustic Guitar Lessons  On January 8, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Considerably, the article is actually the best on this topic. I absolutely agree with your conclusions and look forward to your future updates. Saying thanks will not just be adequate, for the tremendous lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Gratifying work and much success with your site in the future!

    • bluesguitarlessons  On April 7, 2010 at 1:30 pm

      Well thank you very much I really appreciate it.

  • scottersofthewotters  On January 25, 2011 at 6:23 am

    Very few are comparable to Ritchie. John Mclaughlin was doing some shredding with Mahavishnu Orchestra. Check out album Inner Mounting Flame. Still for my money: Ritchie.

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