Anyone familiar with the Moog Guitar will be acquainted with Paul Vo’s work. Vo pioneered string energy synthesis, where the sounds are a product not of processing the au but of affecting the way the strings vibrate. This method creates a variety of unearthly overtones and harmonics for some completely new guitar sounds. Vo created his own company—VoInventions—and has turned his inventor’s eye toward acoustic guitars. The result is the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer. Try to check this out without your jaw dropping.
Slovakian guitarist David Kollar’s style includes elements of two Norwegian modern guitar icons, Eivind Aarset (an occasional collaborator) and Stian Westerhus. On the recently released, The Son, his atmospheric work recalls Aarset’s solo recordings and time as sideman to Nils Petter Molvaer, while Kollar’s noisier interjections bring to mind Westerhus’ experiments with pedals. It is the tension and release of atmosphere and noise that lend The Son the power to convey the strong emotions Kollar suffered during the illness of his son—feelings that inspired the recording. Listening to The Son is highly recommended, as is reading what Kollar has to say about its making and how he developed his unique style.
The NAMM show offered a multitude of effects in a showroom-style vacuum. My compadres at Premier Guitar go out in the field to show you how they are actually employed. In this Premier Guitar Rig Rundown Vernon Reid and Doug Wimbish demo the gear they are currently using in Living Color, providing a compendium of effects available to the modern guitarist and bassist. Reid is running parallel signals through VG-99, Guitar Rig, iPad and Ableton Live effects, as well as a host of other processors, while Wimbish combines distortion, filtering, and looping in creative ways. These guys are on the gear cutting edge—check it out!
This year marked the first year NAMM’s summer display of goodies for guitarists (and other musicians) was housed in Nashville’s new Music City Center. It will also go down in SNAMM history as the “The Pedal Show”—it seemed like every other booth housed a plethora of effects pedals for guitar!
Summer NAMM starts Thursday. Next week Guitar Moderne will be bringing you a full report on all the new products of interest to modern guitarists. In the meantime, the Artiphon is something we missed last winter but will make a point to see this week.
Here I am using the Source Audio Hot hand USB in my first performance as a duo with drummer, laptop artist Robert Bond. I am using it to control Ableton Live’s Auto Filter, as well as the feedback on the Tal Dub Delay. You can hear the filtering get brighter and the feedback increase as I raise the guitar neck, and hear the runaway feedback disappear as I lower it. I have placed the ring on the neck so I can use it with an EBow, as I can’t move either hand away from the guitar.
Stay tuned for a dedicated video about this amazing device.
Damn! Now I really need an iPad. Shout out to sampling guru J.A. “Dino” Deane for hipping us to this new iPad app, Samplr, on his blog. It looks brilliant. Check it out and check out what he has to say about it.
Any modern guitarist (or retro one for that matter), who doesn’t subscribe to Joe Gore’s Tonefiend website is missing out. If nothing else you must check out his analysis of the major germanium fuzz circuits released between 1962 and 1968. It is a magnificently researched and reported work. The only thing I would add is that some of the thinner sounding, lower gain fuzz circuits might find favor with players who are already overdriving their amplifiers and just want to add character to the amp distortion.
Most modern guitar sounds continue to exist in the instrument-pedals -amp world. Mark Wingfield is one of the few to explore the possibilities that spring to life when you attach a hexophonic pickup to the guitar. In his masterful use of Roland’s VG-88 and soft-synths in a laptop he remains almost alone among purveyors of the instrument. He was kind enough to take time out of a schedule so busy it doesn’t allow for Facebook (or maybe because it doesn’t) to wax eloquently on his path towards this approach to the instrument as well as modern music in general.