Monthly Motivation-Take Off Guitar

When I heard The Rovers ‘’Passport to Summer’’, it was my first time hearing Roy Lanham play guitar. I can still remember coming home from the thrift store with my bag full of records and putting this one on. I could barley sleep for weeks, it pretty much changed the way I wanted to play.

Up to this point I was content trying to copy Scotty Moore, Cliff Gallup and a few others.  From that point on, I wanted to learn how to improvise and play more like a Jazz musician. I’m still trying today. I soon learned the style I was obsessed with was called ‘’Take Off” guitar. I think a good definition for the ‘’Take Off‘’ guitar style would be… to solo as if you were half genius and half mentally insane! (Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West trading fours on Rock City Boogie, comes to mind.)

Around that same time I started hanging out with Robert Williams, aka Big Sandy. Robert, and another friend, Jason Goodman both had excellent record collections and were always finding new hillbilly and country records with hot ‘’Take Off’’ guitar solos. They were constantly making cassettes compiled of their latest record finds.  I always looked forward to getting the latest cassette from them. They were some of the first recordings I’d heard with guys like Lanham, George Barnes, Jimmy and Speedy, Jimmy Wyble, Noel Boggs, Junior Bernard, Grady Martin, Thumbs Carlille, Buddy Emmons, and countless others, playing the “Take Off‘” guitar style. I still have most of those cassettes. Hope this recording inspires you too.


  • love lanham…love offsets

    but hadn’t heard this particular track before…great

    love the very tight slapback on his guitar

    he used maphis’ echo unit on sessions, so i’m guessing he did on this as well

    his glissando/slur lead notes are iconic

    him and jimmy bryant…exploring similar territory

    take off guitar..

    on the border of in & out..very forward thinking

    good stuff


  • It’s funny, I hadn’t really payed much attention to the slapback on the guitar until now that you’ve mentioned it. It would be nice to know all the details of his rig that he used on this recording. TK