Guitar Masters Vol. 3 & 4: Les Paul Dedication review by Various

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  • Released: Jun 1, 2010
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (6 votes)
Various: Guitar Masters Vol. 3 & 4: Les Paul Dedication
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Sound — 9
The Guitar Masters series' latest release is one that is fairly timely (and honorable) at the very least. With Les Paul's passing back in August of 2009, there's plenty of reflection upon the influence that the musical trailblazer had on generations of guitarists. While Guitar Masters Vol. 3 & 4: Les Paul Dedication doesn't necessarily devote most of its tracklist to Paul's own music, it does pay homage to him through the adventurous quality that the featured musicians bring to the table. The roster includes everyone from the man who spearheaded and produced the project, Brian Tarquin, to Dire Straits' Hal Lindes to Megadeth's Chris Poland. There is no shortage of jaw-dropping talent on the 2-CD offering, and in that respect it truly does pay its respect to Les Paul. The collection couldn't begin more aptly than with one of Les Paul & His Trio's own selections, Why Do I Love You? Classy in execution and perfect example from his heyday, the track is a welcome addition to the 24 other songs. The remaining tracks take on a much more modern feel, even the ones that are rerecorded versions of past favorites like El Becko (a cover featuring Jeff Beck's touring mate Gary Hoey) and Steely Dan's Peg, performed by Chuck Loeb with a much funkier approach. The classic Beck track Blue Wind shines the spotlight on bassist Billy Sheehan as much as Doug Doppler, with both musicians delivering insanely good solos throughout the track. There's a good balance between slower ballads and raw rock tunes, which keeps the CDs' momentum going. It's usually the up-tempo tracks that do steal the show, however, with Howard Hart's Hell Kat channeling a Stevie Wonder vibe and Leslie West/Randy Coven's Moby Dick ultimately becoming a jammers' paradise. Combining the 1950's traditional rock and roll style with more contemporary gritty blues work, Sammy Dee Morton Strat Struttin is a standout in its own right. There's certainly a wide range of guitarists represented on Les Paul Dedication, but the most unexpected and refreshing one is the metal world's own Chris Poland. The Megadeth guitarist can't be accused to sticking to one genre with Tarquinius Maximus, which although does have its distortion-fueled moments, also veers into polished, restrained pretty moments. The biggie on Vol. 4, however, is undoubtedly Steve Vai's Funk Me Tender (also featuring Randy Coven), an opener that delivers all the virtuosity and experimental goodness you'd expect from a Vai track.

Lyrics — 10
Les Paul Dedication doesn't take away from the theme at hand the art of the guitar. The 25 tracks on the CDs are fully instrumental and vocalists have been given the day off.

Overall Impression — 9
The Guitar Masters Vol. 3 & 4: Les Paul Dedication is a collection that should be fully appreciated by anyone who has made the guitar his or her chosen instrument. While the title is slightly misleading by the fact you might assume there would be a bit more Les Paul material within the content, it's still a fitting and respectful tribute. It would have been satisfying to possibly have even more metal guitarists included on the compilation, but these are two CDs that are enjoyable listens and excellent study guides.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    PeterPdeC
    EpiExplorer wrote: Best dedication to a passed artist is a collaboration CD. SO getting it.
    ^
    frankie1089
    RIP Les Paul overshadowed by the M. Jackson death, but Les Paul was a bigger blow to music, and the human race in general.
    Schism1985
    Yeah so... the extent of Les Paul's personal involvement with the actual design of his now ultra famous signature guitar is highly controversial yet this review says GMV3/4 is "a collection that should be fully appreciated by anyone who has made the guitar his or her chosen instrument." Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't this sort of thing honor his memory and his music rather than a guitar which he very well could have had nothing to do with?
    EpiExplorer
    Schism1985 wrote: Yeah so... the extent of Les Paul's personal involvement with the actual design of his now ultra famous signature guitar is highly controversial yet this review says GMV3/4 is "a collection that should be fully appreciated by anyone who has made the guitar his or her chosen instrument." Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't this sort of thing honor his memory and his music rather than a guitar which he very well could have had nothing to do with?
    List of accomplishments include designing the second most recognisable guitar ever so.. yeah.
    Schism1985
    EpiExplorer wrote: List of accomplishments include designing the second most recognisable guitar ever so.. yeah.
    Check your facts, there's plenty reason to believe that he basically did nothing to design the guitar aside from choosing the color :-/
    ConfusedBirdman
    Schism... When it says "his or her chosen instrument" it refers to a guitar not just a les paul guitar. In other words, any guitar player will appreciate this collection because of the music that it contains.
    Schism1985
    Yeah you're right, that's what happens when you skim read lol. I standby what I said about him not designing the LP though.
    Unknown_Biskit
    How do you know he didn't? I'm not saying you're wrong, I don't know enough about the subject to have an opinion, but I'm just curious where you got your facts.
    Randomrings
    Lester Polfuss is his full name, he invented a crappy guitar prototype called the "Gibson LOG". Gibson made fun of it. Later it was worked on for years and it's design became the Les Paul guitar, which Polfuss helped with if I remember right. But he's not a musical legend because of that guitar. If you think that's why everyone looks up to him then I'm sorry if this offends but you are ignorant. He created a recording system, and a style in his own music. Both of those things created what you're listening to today. If he didn't do what he did when he did, everyone from Led Zeppelin to Metallica to Avenged Sevenfold even to non-rock stuff like Rihanna and T-Pain would just not be the same. Correct me if I'm wrong on anything. If not, I'm done, I won't rant on about this anymore, I already feel like a big enough loser typing what I have...
    thebabymaker
    frankie1089 wrote: RIP Les Paul overshadowed by the M. Jackson death, but Les Paul was a bigger blow to music, and the human race in general.
    Amen to that.... Les Paul was far more important to the history of music than MJ and his "influence" on today's commercialized Pop bullshit. People loved him soon as he died, but Les Paul is a legend all the way through!