Phil Manzanera

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Phil Manzanera

Postby The Slider » 06 Nov 2019, 16:05

Highly respected as both guitar for hire and producer, aside from 10 good years as Roxy's plank spanker.
He has appeared with the great and the good on some truly wonderful records, and as far as I can hear has no recognisable voice whatsoever.

So often he sounds quite like someone else
But he has no trademark sound and I would never be able to pick one of his solos out of a lineup. Has anyone ever said "ooh this sounds like Phil Manzanera" upon hearing a record by someone else? Or by him for that matter*

And is that a good thing - he is adaptable, unpindownable - or a bad?

Got any favourite Manzanera moments?
I guess everybody will go for In Every Dream Home a Heartache
Me, I go for the licks. Amazona is a personal favourite .




*I feel the same way about Johnny Marr.
And like Johnny Marr, Manzanera's never made a record of his own that was even vaguely comparable to the ones he made with his former singing partner.
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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby Sneelock » 06 Nov 2019, 16:55

I think the Quiet Sun album is pretty great.
it's funny you should say he doesn't really have his own sound.
I was listening to Ferry's "in your mind" and PM is credited but I couldn't find credits to who played on which track.

his stuff on "..Tiger Mountain" is pretty great. before reading your post I would have said his playing was easy to spot but now I'm not so sure.
I really like him though.
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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby Matt Wilson » 06 Nov 2019, 17:03

Manzanera's stuff isn't as distinctive as many players, but you can tell it's him more often than not. I think Marr's sound in the Smiths is totally recognizable though. Retro-sounding to be sure, but it makes an impression.

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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby The Slider » 06 Nov 2019, 17:11

I like their work as players, both
But they sound different on every record they made

Some players - Gilmour, Knopfler, Page, Fripp, Howe, Neil Young, Peter Green for example - are instantly recognisable.
I'd never pick either of these two out if you just played me a random tune with which I was not already familiar.
But maybe they have some tics that I have just not noticed.
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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby Matt Wilson » 06 Nov 2019, 17:14

You don't think that McGuinn-like chime Marr uses so often in those Smiths songs is a constant?

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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby The Slider » 06 Nov 2019, 17:15

Sneelock wrote:I was listening to Ferry's "in your mind" and PM is credited but I couldn't find credits to who played on which track.


This illustrates my point
He shares the credits with Neil Hubbard and Chris Spedding (another one of the Manzanera/Marr type, I think) and we can't tell them apart

He has never played a bad guitar part, that I can think of, yet we can't necessarily spot him
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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby The Slider » 06 Nov 2019, 17:17

Matt Wilson wrote:You don't think that McGuinn-like chime Marr uses so often in those Smiths songs is a constant?


It appears quite a bit.
But it's a) not what he usually sounds like and b) someone else's style

Peter Buck, amongst others, did it too around the same time
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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby The Slider » 06 Nov 2019, 17:37

This one features what might be said to be closest to a Manzanera sound.
It's not a million miles from the first thing we ever heard from him - Virginia Plain
But even this sounds like Fripp impersonating Neil Young




and on this one he sounds like the fella out of Caravan

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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby Six String » 06 Nov 2019, 17:59

I read an interview with PM decades ago where he said he wanted his guitar to sound unlike a guitar (I'm paraphrasing of course). It sounds to me like he was choosing his "sound" to fit a particular song or setting by manipulating it with effects and synths. Was this influence from Eno since he played with him frequently? In the 70s and 80s I listened to him a lot, owned his albums including Quiet Sun but now I rarely play his music. I still rate him as a good guitarist and of course I agree that he doesn't have a personal sound like those mentioned in the OP but it's not always a bad thing. At least not in this case.
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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby The Slider » 06 Nov 2019, 18:01

I agree with you Les
On all counts
On many tracks he sounds like he is trying to get a sound like Fripp did on No Pussyfooting - unlike a guitar
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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby bobzilla77 » 06 Nov 2019, 18:59

I really like the guitar parts in More Than This. He's barely there but just so tasty and perfect. And Remake Remodel where he is playing licks under the lead vocal. Really heats it up.

He's not as unique and distinct as some. Within Roxy records I can say "yeah that's Phil doing his Phil thing." But not sure I would notice him in another context. When I saw David Gilmour a few years ago he had Phil as second guitarist, I wouldn't have known of I hadn't heard his name in the band introduction.
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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby Hightea » 06 Nov 2019, 21:09

bobzilla77 wrote:
He's not as unique and distinct as some. Within Roxy records I can say "yeah that's Phil doing his Phil thing." But not sure I would notice him in another context. When I saw David Gilmour a few years ago he had Phil as second guitarist, I wouldn't have known of I hadn't heard his name in the band introduction.


I went to those shows too and had to look him up after a few songs because I knew he was someone but couldn't figure it out.

Yes this is a good point haven't thought about it much but yes Phil blends into the song or band he is playing in. So no signature sound required.

I love his Diamond head album but like him on the Wyatt, Eno solo albums, 801 and Roxy albums
Also like this album Firebird V11 which is quite different.

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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby Quaco » 06 Nov 2019, 21:25

Six String wrote:I read an interview with PM decades ago where he said he wanted his guitar to sound unlike a guitar (I'm paraphrasing of course). It sounds to me like he was choosing his "sound" to fit a particular song or setting by manipulating it with effects and synths. Was this influence from Eno since he played with him frequently?

He mentions this on the back cover of Primitive Guitars, wanting to sound like Mike Ratledge one moment, Charlie Parker the next.

There are two sounds I associate with him: a certain chunky rhythm thing as on "Virginia Plain" and that searing distorted thing as on "Diamond Head" (the song). He's not obvious, and it's true that others do these sounds as well, but I do find myself thinking about him pretty often if I'm doing a guitar track.
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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby The Slider » 06 Nov 2019, 22:18

He is the Six Stringed Zelig
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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby Six String » 06 Nov 2019, 22:30

Quaco wrote:
Six String wrote:I read an interview with PM decades ago where he said he wanted his guitar to sound unlike a guitar (I'm paraphrasing of course). It sounds to me like he was choosing his "sound" to fit a particular song or setting by manipulating it with effects and synths. Was this influence from Eno since he played with him frequently?

He mentions this on the back cover of Primitive Guitars, wanting to sound like Mike Ratledge one moment, Charlie Parker the next.

There are two sounds I associate with him: a certain chunky rhythm thing as on "Virginia Plain" and that searing distorted thing as on "Diamond Head" (the song). He's not obvious, and it's true that others do these sounds as well, but I do find myself thinking about him pretty often if I'm doing a guitar track.


That probably was where I saw that comment. Too much water under the bridge these days. :)

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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby The Slider » 06 Nov 2019, 23:04

He sounds like Hackett on Alma.
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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby Snarfyguy » 07 Nov 2019, 04:36

Fuck, I thought he was dead there for a second!
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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby soundchaser » 07 Nov 2019, 07:35

I think it's all been said, really, Great parts man, but you wouldn't be able to pick him out in an identification parade.

That said, I always enjoy listening to what he has to play.

And he was perfect for Roxy Music, so he must have had something going for him.

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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby slightbreeze » 07 Nov 2019, 11:29

Loved the solo on "all I want is you" and "street life", but wouldn't class him as a "great" guitarist. Recently watched an all star tribute to Jack Bruce and when playing with Bernie Marsden and Clem Clempson, was like a fish out of water

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Re: Phil Manzanera

Postby soundchaser » 07 Nov 2019, 13:47

bobzilla77 wrote: When I saw David Gilmour a few years ago he had Phil as second guitarist, I wouldn't have known of I hadn't heard his name in the band introduction.


I’m pretty sure he was replaced half way through the last tour.