OZ NOY Video Masterclass
Guitar Techniques|February 2022
In another exclusive GT video feature, we welcome back New York based fusion icon Oz Noy to solo over Jason Sidwell’s new track, Guzzle. If you want to solo with bluesy sophistication over a Stax styled stomper, Jon Bishop is your guide.
Jon Bishop

This month we are looking at another cracking lead performance courtesy of fusion master Oz Noy (check out Oz on the funky Grease & Grit from GT319). Guzzle is a retro ’60s groover and the second piece recorded by Jason Sidwell especially for Oz. This one is influenced by Booker T and The MG’s, the Stax house band that was central to much of the label’s artistic output (Otis Redding to Aretha Franklin). The track is in the key of E Major (more about that later) for the verses but to add harmonic colour, various other chords were added as well as temporary shifts to other keys for the various sections.

For the Intro’s B7b5 chord, Oz uses a strong rotary speaker effect courtesy of a Univibe style pedal. Very arresting. The Verse has a Booker T-style vibe where the home chord of E is generally played without a 3rd which means it’s power chord-like sound (E5) and can allude to E Major or E Minor. Rather than thinking of it like a rock chord though, consider it more like a bluesy E where E Major or E Minor phrasing can work. As Oz explains in the video, he treats the E chords from an E Minor Pentatonic (E-G-A-B-D) perspective with added notes. The chords move quickly here so the E Minor Pentatonic suits the E-G-A main progression well. We have written out a fretboard diagram for the six note E Blues scale, (E-G-A-Bb-B-D) as this is the main scale that Oz uses for the basis of his ideas. As an aside, other options are the E Major Pentatonic scale (E-F#-G#-B-C#) and E Mixolydian (E-F#-G#-A-B-C-D) but these Major based scales are more challenging to apply due to the progression’s quick G, A and C chords. That being the case, use these scales fleetingly for just the E chords.

The Bridge transitions to B Minor before a few chord twists (C/F and Fmaj7/Bb) lead to the closing B7 (the V chord of E). We have provided a fretboard diagram for B Minor Pentatonic (B-D-E-F#-A) to cover at least its first three bars (Oz uses E Minor Pentatonic/E Blues for the remaining bars).

For the middle section Oz plays his Les Paul for bluesy C Minor Pentatonic (C-Eb-FG-Bb) licks, straight 16th Minor based lines with liberal chromaticism and then bluesy B Minor Pentatonic licks with a brief foray into arpeggios to cover the C/F and G/C chords. For the initial C Blues licks we’ve provided a diagram of C Minor Pentatonic scale (C-Eb-F-G-Bb).

Throughout his performance Oz employs three main rhythmic subdivisions. The track has a driving feel at 138bpm so the swung eighth-note feel acts as the foundation. For slightly faster lines Oz uses eighth-note triplets (counted 1&a, 2&a etc) and to step into the next gear the 16th note is an exciting ‘step on the gas’.

As an extra layer of detail Oz moves between three different guitars in order to get just the right tone. A Fender Telecaster is used for the R&B rhythm parts, a Fender Stratocaster for the rotary effected chords and a Gibson Les Paul for the main soloing.

Overall the combination of blues orientated phrasing, sophisticated note choices and those three great guitar tones makes this a must study piece. The backing track and chord chart is also included for you to practice over, in addition to a full transcription of Oz’s performance from the video. It’s well worth studying the video closely, in conjunction with the notation and with Oz’s personal playing tips, to get all of the nitty gritty with regards to fingerings and articulation.

Hopefully there will be a new technique, lick or phrase in here somewhere for you to perfect. If you find one you like then memorise it - even tweak it to suit your own playing style - and use it in future, especially if the swing quaver feel is what’s required. Once you feel secure with the main elements played by Oz, look to creating your own solo for Guzzle. Have fun and see you next time!

Next month: The French virtuoso, Antoine Boyer joins GT to play over Jason’s harmonically rich and syncopated track, Enchantment.

Oz used three guitars. The first is a Fender Custom Shop Telecaster, the second ia Custom Shop Strat, and the third a Gibson Murphy Lab Les Paul . The light overdrive is created from a Two-Rock TS1 head plugged into a Celestion 65 speaker with a little bit of added slap delay. Oz augments his clean tone with a rotary effect set to a fast rate. Any electric guitar will do though, just dial up a slightly overdriven tone with plenty of sustain. A bit of reverb or long delay can be added for that professional touch.

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