Seeing the Adrian Belew Trio at 12th & Porter in Nashville last night reminded me of what a great show can be. Though the venue made some missteps (chairs on the floor behind the standees, so if you sit you can’t see anything—really?!!), the sound was stellar. I had been warned to wear earplugs, but it was not too loud, even for one with tinnitus and hyper acuity issues. The balance was, for the most part, perfect. It was a small enough space to hear the drums in the room—always a plus. You can take a tour of Adrian’s rig here, and it fulfilled its promise: letting him access his historical sounds, while adding many heretofore-unheard tones.
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A Little Thunder is a humbucker pickup that adds a bass signal to electric guitars with no physical modification (assuming you already have a humbucker in the neck position): no drilling, routing, adding extra strings, replacing 9V batteries, or using MIDI. You just need to remove an existing neck pickup, replace it with A Little Thunder, and pushing a button will add bass to the guitar’s lowest notes.
Modern guitar pioneer, Fred Frith, was kind enough to contribute to the feature I did For Premier Guitar on extended guitar techniques. His new record, a duo with saxophonist John Butcher, The Natural Order, is an improvised tour-de-force, with both players using extended techniques in a musical conversation of the highest order.
Since its inception, Source Audio has been one of the most forward thinking pedal manufacturers around. From the Adrian Belew/Reeves Gabrels-approved Multiwave Distortion to the Hot Hand, the company has come up with terrific new sounds and new ways of controlling them. I am proud to have worked with them over the years, and pleased to have them as an advertiser. Click on their ad for a chance to win the cool new Stingray Multi-filter. (Full review soon).
Seattle guitarist Dan Phelps’ recorded output is minimal but choice. Modular, a record with the sometime Bill Frisell rhythm section of Viktor Krauss (bass) and drummer Matt Chamberlain is a feast of textures and rhythms, while his more recent solo EP offering, Death Under Rainbows, explores Torn-like distortion along with Phelps’ unique take on twang. That is pretty much it, but the music was intriguing enough to make me seek him out.