RnB and Guitar (Part 1)

RnB means “Rhythm and Blues” originally (and its range of artists is very wide, beginning from the 40s/50s when they started to add new, dynamic grooves to the basic blues sound) .In this article I want to start from the so-called “modern RnB” or “Neo-Soul”, if you like, the genre that we, the generations born between the 70s and the 90s, are familiar with, grown up with. I was a teenager in the 80s so I remember it very well, in addition to Hip Hop , Funky/Disco (bands like Cameo and similar) and the early House music (Frankie Knucles, Louis Vega, and so on). RnB always had that smoothness and fluidity that other genres (styles) did not have. The first guitar part that comes to my mind is the classical guitar arpeggio of TLC_ No SCrubs, a song that surely defines an era, a society (we were already in the 90s here but I don’t wanna  follow a precise timeline, being this genre very solid and often made of typical arrangements that seem to survive the different times /Eras).  My goal is to talk of guitar and not to describe exactly what they used to do in , letsay 1982,, or 1992…which synths, which kind of vocal effects, chords and so on. I find it pretty boring and sterile, in my view. So I will let my mind remind all those amazing songs and singers with no particular rule, only to find amazing guitar arrangements.like a scavenger hunt . The next song is once again produced and performed by TLC and it features a super cool 70s arrangement with wha wha, soul oriented guitar and all- listen to Waterfall and enjoy this simple but amazing track. Another band that I liked are Boys II Men, with their slow romantic ballads – guitar is simple, just a muted single notes part,plus some extra chords, but what a song ! Incredible.performance and totally top notch song writing.(well…it was written by Babyface..one of the most prolific musicians, songwriters and producers of that era) A great collaboration between Babyface and LL Cool J is This is for the lover in you with super cool and elegant guitars (funky, soul oriented). Now that I’m talkin about Babyface, another singer comes to mind,  Bobby Brown , who used to make a modern “synth oriented” funky/Pop (the style can be called “New Jack City”- dont ask me why- it was something very mid/late 80s, early 90s). So…this song is representative of his softer side (musically…) Rock with cha, with soul/funky oriented guitars and some gospel influences mixed to a pop sound. produced by Antonio M. “L.A.” Reid- another great producer (every day I discover one cool musician) He later produced big names from Mariah Carey to Usher, from Paula Abdul to Ciara, Whitney Houston, NeYo and many others. I will carefully talk about many more songs and productions, later in the day- that’s all for now folks !



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