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Reader’s Rig: Percy Adler

The new features are coming fast these days at Guitar Moderne. This one will be Reader’s Rig, where readers are encouraged to submit clear pictures of their setups along with a description of the signal path and how they use it. Links to video and sound clips will move the submission to the top of the queue.

For the first installment we present Percy Adler, a Canadian metalworker who makes beautiful atmospheric music and whose toolbox based rig neatly ties his two worlds together.



“I am about to enter my 60th year on this planet and these offerings are the fruits of a fairly constant commitment to exploring a personal habitat without regard to any particular genre, or making a living playing music. I am committed to improvisation, which I do not define as playing solos over a predetermined progression. I like to play every note heard; I’m not comfortable with looping, although some of my longer delays head in that direction. I have almost eliminated (maybe totally) solos as part of what I do and seek instead to create melodic forms and energy clusters.

I love to spontaneously compose either on my own or with others who think this way. Consequently, I enter the studio with no material and an empty head and so far things just explode out as soon as we hit record. Brent Bodrug from Sly-Fi Studio has proven to be a willing partner is enabling this process.”

Foreign Body is totally solo with no overdubs and quite a bit of it was recorded using a flat top acoustic with welding wire stuck in the strings to get the percussive effects.

Rocket Parts is no overdubs with drummer Chris Cawthray who I met the morning we started recording. We did two days of spontaneous composition and here are the results.

When I hear these two albums now, I am still amazed at the sounds we made and also how much sonic energy there is on these tracks.


I have been using the same idea for many years now where basically the guitar goes into a Framptone Amp Switcher splitter box and then one side goes through whatever effects and to one amp (the main voice) and the second signal goes into a volume pedal which then goes into delay and then into stereo and an amp for each side. So three amps are used. This gives me the orchestral backdrop, which hovers around the main guitar voice (my Drift sound).

The main voice is: Compression>Pog 2 >Fairfield Circuitry Four Eyes>Holy Grail Max. This signal then goes to the splitter split from which one side goes to the main voice amp and the other into the Drift circuit.

The Drift circuit from the splitter box goes into a Goodrich volume pedal Goodrich volume pedal>POG> Memory Man, which comes out in stereo. One side gets Ibanez DML and the other side goes through a Boss PS-3 and then each side goes into it’s own amp.


The toolbox idea marries my mechanical side with my musical side and is intended to make you laugh. But it is also practical as the devices I want to adjust on the fly are at a comfortable height. You will notice I have a spot reserved on the upper level of the toolbox for my new Meet Maude pedal hopefully arriving soon from Fairfield Circuitry.

IMG_2261C1All three amps are from Trinity Amps, made by a guy who lives just down the road from me.”





Shameless Pug: All About Effects

I put a year of my life into this book


and Hal Leonard completely dropped the ball on selling it (no ads, no reviews, not in bookstores or music stores). It is, however available on Amazon worldwide.

I implore all my subscribers and readers to check it out for themselves and/or recommend it to their students, friends, family, or anyone (it is not just for guitarists) they know who wants a comprehensive introduction to the world of effects with a CD demoing each sound. End of pitch. Thanks.


Roots Moderne

In the Jack White post I introduced the idea of a Roots Moderne section for Guitar Moderne. The response was quite positive so I am going to give it a go.

I want to be as clear as possible as to what I consider to be Roots Moderne. For the purposes of Guitar Moderne, something is Roots Moderne if it is guitar based and embodies a strong link to a popular musical lineage that goes back beyond the last 50 or 60 years, while adding elements that make it relevant to the present. Such lineage would include blues, country, jazz, African, Asian, etc. It also needs to involve some reinvention of the genre. You could say it started with Little Axe (who, with their blues/dub/hip-hop hybrid rate their own post); Jack White certainly embodies the concept, as does Dan Auerbach’s use of the momentary pitch shifting in this Black Keys tune.

To help flesh out the concept I offer some other examples that work for me.

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Pioneer: Tisziji Muñoz

In addition to sharing his own story with Guitar Moderne, Henry Kaiser was kind enough to conduct an interview with the wildly, underappreciated Tisziji Muñoz. A true pioneer of modern guitar. Though fleetingly mentioned here, in addition to his many accomplishments in the world of spiritually driven music Tisziji Muñoz served as a mentor to Paul Shaffer (yes that Paul Shaffer). That fact will become less surprising when you come across the traces of humor in his extensive discourse on music and the spirit. Prepare to meet Mr. Muñoz.

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Bill Horist and Jakob Riis

Seattle based guitarist Bill Horist and Jakob Riis embarked together on a short tour of the Northwest US in the summer of 2009. We interviewed Bill in 2012. Composer, laptop musician, improviser Jakob Riis is active in the fields of electronic music, sound art, sonic web art, improvisation and contemporary composition.

They convened after the tour to capture on record some of the musical magic they felt playing together. The Cessation Elegy is the culmination of this brief encounter. A limited edition of 100 copies is available on CD; the packaging is handmade, with gold ink screen printed onto black card. Digital versions will continue to be available. They agreed to answer some questions about the process of recording this serendipitous meeting.


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Pioneer: Henry Kaiser

Henry Kaiser has earned his Pioneer label not only by championing experimental guitar for over three decades, but by exploring the fantastical underwater playground of Antarctica. His massive output spans genres and cultures while never sounding like anyone else. He has collaborated with a who’s who of the guitar world from roots players to experimentalists like himself. His ability to conceptualize and clearly express his musical ideas in words makes for a fascinating interview.

Early Henry with Dixie Dregs Andy West on whammy bar bass

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New Jack White Video

JACK WHITE????!!! That retro, near Luddite musician who is always lauding the superiority of all things analog? In Guitar Moderne? Yeah that Jack White. I am hoping to launch a new  section in Guitar Moderne soon. It will be called Roots Moderne and will feature musicians who enjoy a strong affinity to roots music (blues, country, soul) while employing a distinctively modern approach. This instrumental from White’s forthcoming Lazeretto record epitomizes the concept, with its backwards guitar, fuzz on the verge of noise, and odd piano interludes melding with gagrage-blues stomp. And let’s face it—the video is awesome.


Electric Guitar’s Future?

My friend Mick Taylor (editor at the British mag Guitarist, not the ex-Stones guitarist) demonstrates the Manson MB-1 & Parker MIDI, asking the question, “Are they the future?.” Since he asked the question in 2010, I think we can safely say, “Not yet.” But, with the new Fishman Triple Play betting on an increase of interest in synth guitar, that particular approach can’t be counted out as yet. As for the onboard x/y pad, I am still praying for a more affordable version soon. What do you think?


Fairfield Circuitry: Four Eyes and The Unpleasant Surprise

While wandering Summer NAMM 2013 I heard some delightful noises coming from one of the many booths featuring effects pedals. The industrial-chic stompboxes by the folks in the Fairfield Circuitry booth stood in stark contrast to the wealth of candy colored, hand-painted pedals in other booths, while shunning any thoughts of clone-dom. Based in Hull, Québec, the company hawks their wares on a website as spare and beautiful as their pedals. I asked them if they would be kind enough to send a couple of effects for review and they generously provided two unique sounding boxes: Four Eyes Crossover Fuzz and The Unpleasant Surprise Experimental Fuzzgate.

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Derek Bailey Live In Barcelona

Thanks to Miguel Copon at Prepared Guitar for discovering this video of Derek Bailey performing live at G’s Club in Barcelona in 2004.

Many have attempted this style since Bailey developed his own guitar language in the Sixties. Few bring to it the utter control, dynamics, and yes, lyricism of the master.

Derek Bailey: “Live at G’s Club” from SUMMA arxiu videogràfic on Vimeo.