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RANDY RHOADS: Biography, Guitars, and Pedalboard

Randy Rhoads was an American virtuoso and pioneering guitarist, and one of the most promising figures in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Although his hopeful career would be truncated absurdly with only 25 years of age, after losing his life in a stupid plane accident, caused by the recklessness committed by the pilot who operated the device.

Randy Rhoads Biography

Randall William Rhoads was born in 1956 in Burbank (California). His mother was a music teacher, and owner of the Musonia music school, where Randy began to study music and play guitar at the age of 6, driving a Gibson Acoustic Army-Navy model inherited from his grandfather.

Reaching a point where Randy's guitar teacher told his mother that he couldn't teach him anything else. Since Rhoads had absorbed all his knowledge, beginning the teacher contradictorily, to learn from the student.

Randy himself later went on to teach as a guitarist at his mother's academy.

In his adolescence, Rhoads began to be interested in hard rock bands such as Mountain, Led Zeppelin, or Alice Cooper. Apart from his taste for classical music and blues rock, forming his first band at the age of 14 (Violet Fox).


Quiet Riot

At age 16 he would teach his friend Kelly Garni to play bass, to form the band Quiet Riot with drummer Drew Forsyth, and vocalist Kevin DuBrow. The group became one of the attractions of the Los Angeles Clubs. Rhoads began to experiment with classical music, introducing it to the electric guitar and Heavy Metal. Being later considered a pioneer and one of the main contributors in the creation of the subgenre known as Neoclassical Metal. 

Although the band would not get any contract from the country's record companies, a Japanese production company was interested in the release in Japan of their first self-titled album in 1977.

Publishing at the end of the following year the second album entitled Quiet Riot II, releasing again only in the Asian country.


Randy Rhoads is Hired by Ozzy Osbourne

In 1979 vocalist Ozzy Osbourne was fired from the successful band Black Sabbath and set out to find members for his new solo project.

Due to the poor screening of Quiet Riot, Randy is advised by bassist Dana Strum to audition for Ozzy Osbourne. But initially, Randy Rhoads would be reluctant due to Black Sabbath's dark image, lacking the motivation to audition. But eventually, his mother would convince him to attend the tests, although it would be something he did rather reluctantly.

Ozzy for his part was preparing to return to England, tired of trying unsuccessful guitarists. But he decides to wait until two in the morning, persuaded by Dana Strum to listen to Randy.

When Randy finally arrived he was surprised, as he thought he was going to play with a band. But only Ozzy Osbourne was found, sitting on the sofa in one room.

Ozzy simply asked him to play something, and Randy, not quite sure what to do, plugged his white Les Paul into his little amp and started warming up.


Hired in Two Minutes

Ozzy Osbourne told him the position was his just by watching him warm up, Randy coming home a bit confused. Since he could not understand how a star like Ozzy Osbourne could give him a position, just by watching him warm-up for two minutes.

When he got home Randy would tell his mother without much eagerness, that they had told him they would call him in a couple of weeks. Although he was truly convinced that this call would never occur.

But within two weeks he receives the call from Ozzy, and at the end of 1979, Randy Rhoads leaves the band Quiet Riot to travel to England and meet with Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Bob Daisley. Releasing with drummer Lee Kerslake the group's first album in 1980 (Blizzard Of Ozz).


"Blizzard Of Ozz": A Classic in the History of Heavy Metal

That First Album with Ozzy Osbourne would be titled "Blizzard Of Ozz. " Considered this album as a classic in Heavy Metal history, being praised by critics and the public. Relaunching again the uncertain career of Ozzy Osbourne. Including this album one of the most famous songs of his solo career ( Crazy Train ). Also incorporating this song a spectacular guitar solo, cataloged by many as one of the best in history. 

Highlighting Randy Rhoads with his virtuous way of playing, and with sounds that by the time of 1980, were considered as from another planet. Randy became the main attraction of the group life, displaying his full potential.

At the end of 1981, the second album of the group ( Diary Of A Madman ) would be published, becoming another classic of Heavy Metal. Being Randy Rhoads considered by Guitar Player magazine that same year, as the best new talent.

Randy was a calm person, away from vices, who spent the day simply playing his guitar. On the other hand, Ozzy's problems with alcohol and drugs were totally out of control. 

Considering Randy seriously leaving the band due to the excesses of the singer, and the exhausting and unbridled world of touring, to focus on the study of classical guitar.

Randy in spite of everything would continue within the group, pressured by the commitments signed in his contract.


The Recklessness That Costs Randy Rhoads' Life

In March 1982, the band went on their bus to a festival in Orlando (Florida). When evening came Randy had one last conversation with Ozzy, advising him that if he continued down the path of alcoholism, he would end his life. Ironically, Randy would lose his life within hours of giving this advice to Ozzy Osbourne.  

After traveling most of the night, the bus driver stops at dawn, barely 70 km from his destination, with the intention of enjoying a few moments of the plane he owned in that town, and giving a ride to some of his fellow passengers. travel.

After taking a ride with keyboardist Don Airey, it was the turn of Randy and  Rachel Youngblood, in charge of the aesthetics of the band members. The pilot was warned that Rachel had a heart problem to make it a smooth flight, Randy joining with the same condition. Since Randy just wanted to take some photos.

After giving the pilot a few low passes on the bus to annoy those who were still sleeping inside, he decides to do a slight dive towards the vehicle. But when he tries to climb it is too late and one of the wings hits the bus, losing control of the device. Crashing into the garage of a nearby house, killing its three occupants. Later it would be known that the pilot had consumed cocaine and that his aviator's license had expired.

Ozzy Osbourne would fall into a serious depression after the accident, which took him a long time to overcome. And even though he had nothing to do with the tragic accident, he still feels guilty for bringing Randy into his gang. 


Randy Rhoads: Guitars, Amps, and Pedals

One of Randy's most distinctive guitars is his 1974 white Les Paul Custom. One of the first models that he bought after seeing Mick Ronson at a performance in Los Angeles, with a similarly styled Gibson Les Paul Custom.

In 1979 he commissioned a guitar from luthier Karl Sandoval. Asking him for a model in the shape of a Gibson Flying V, but with a Stratocaster- style tremolo, a DiMarzio PAF pickup in the neck position, and a DiMarzio Superdistortion in the bridge position, finished in a black background with white polka dots. The Karl Sandoval Custom Polka Dot V is born.

 

Other of his most characteristic guitars were those designed for Grover Jackson. 

Similar in shape to a Flying V but with a smaller beak, reminiscent of a shark fin, and mounted with Seymour Duncan SH-2N Jazz pickups for the neck position, and Seymour Duncan TB-4 JB Trembucker for bridge position.

These guitars would be named by Randy after Jackson Concorde given the shape resembling that of the supersonic plane.

The strings Randy used were 10-46 gauge GHS Boomers, and the picks he used to handle were celluloid Fender Medium.

Randy Rhoads is known for using mainly Marshall amplifiers such as the JMP 1959, or the JMP MKII.


Effects Pedals

Its set of effects is not too extensive, mainly preferring the MXR pedals :

M-104 Distortion Plus

MXR M-117R Flanger

M-134 Stereo Chorus

MXR Analog Delay

Plus the ubiquitous Wah Wah Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby. 


Statement from Ozzy Osbourne: “Randy was the most dedicated musician I have ever met. He was a master of his art, and I don't think people will ever realize his true talent. I've been at this for a long time and if I've ever met someone born to be a star, it was Randy Rhoads. "

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