bucklandSince the release of Parachutes in 2000 Coldplay have gone onto become one of the world’s biggest bands selling millions of records and embarking on hugely successful world tours. Jonny Buckland the bands guitarist is at the center of the bands alternative rock sound.

Drawing comparisons to U2’s The Edge, Buckland style is not typical – there is sparse use of chord playing and no space for the usual rock solo – the guitar sound is often treated with effects creating a sonic landscape on which the songs are built. Effects such as Delay, Tremolo and reverb help to create atmospheric textures which add layers to Coldplays compositions. Coldplay’s songs have evolved with each album and by examining the guitar part in some of these tracks we’re offered an interesting insight into Buckland’s style and technique.

On “Shiver” taken from Parachutes album Buckland (on a Fender Jaguar) uses a melodic arpeggio to open and a bruising driven low end riff to build into the chorus. This style is typical of Buckland and there is an interesting take on the usual call and response technique through the use of Arpeggios. The brusing riff is evocative of Hendrix and while the song is quite simple in structure the guitar part creates something that’s wholly more interesting.

On “In my place” (the first single from the follow album “A Rush of blood to the head” the video of which has Buckland on a Gibson 335) features an arpeggio riff played over a changing chord sequence. The sound used here features a delay effect on the arpeggio and a warm slightly driven sound for chord work. The track features extensive use of space and it’s more a case of listen to what he doesn’t play rather than what he does – “In my place” is a fine example of restrained playing – a guitarist who knows when to play and when not to.

On “Speed of Sound” from X&Y – Coldplay’s sparse arrangement are again evident but this time round there is more sonic texture – Bucklands guitar sweeps in and out of the mix (sounding as though a volume pedal is used to give a string like effect) – Riffs treated with delay play in and out of the vocal melody – X&Y features some of Buckland’s best use of the guitar to create texture. X & Y more than any record has drawn comparisons with U2 and Buckland has no doubt drawn inspiration from them but has been able to put his own spin on it.

Coldplay’s sound has evolved with each release from the Parachutes album – aside from a few tracks Parachutes was noticeable for it’s use of acoustic guitars with lots of open strings – the compositions have evolved and on the recent album X and Y the tracks appear far more complex with intricate arrangements and use of synth and piano parts. This is apparent in the opening track from X&Y “Square one” – complex arrangements – intricate guitar parts – but without letting either draw the listener away from the emotional crux of the song.

Buckland has a variety of gear that is seen both live and in promo videos – Buckland seems to have an affection for Fender guitars and is often seen sporting Thinline Telecasters and Fender Jaguars. He’s also been seen with Fender Jazzmasters and the occasional foray away from Fender with Gibson 335’s and Rickenbackers. Amps wise Buckland again favours Fender – using various for recording (a look at their studio also sees some Orange and Marshall amps but we’re not sure if these are Bucklands)– he’s used Fender ‘Hotrod’ DeVille Combos live. He tends to use Boss Guitar effects although lately he can be seen using a custom pedal board – in the studio – there is more variety including vintage sounds and taped echo effects.

As a guitarist first and foremost Buckland is part of a band – the guitar parts do not stand out from the rest of the music – there is no flying fretwork or virtuoso displays – the parts are carefully composed and measured and the song is the centerpiece – as such you could call Jonny Buckland part of the new breed of guitar hero – one that will keep fans entertained for years to come.

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