There were many terrific records in 2017. In another year, Charlie Rauh’s Viriditas, Dan Phelps’ Arc, and Rights by Manuel Troller’s band Schnellertollermeier might have fit on my “Best of…” list. But this year saw so many releases by modern guitar superstars that I just have to recommend reserving some money to also pick up their worthy efforts.
This list is mine; feel free to list yours in the comment section.
There is a wonderful world of effects out there, but maximizing their usefulness often requires modifying parameters on the fly—think Whammy pedal, or runaway delay feedback. Unfortunately, modifying parameters, and even engaging or switching off effects, tethers you to the pedal in a way that can hamper your visual performance.
There have been solutions: In 2014, Livid came out with Guitar Wing, which I covered in Guitar Moderne. It allows control of MIDI effects parameters right from the face of the guitar, unchained from pedals and standard hardware controllers. Source Audio’s Hot Hand, covered here, also permits free-ranging parameter control, either through MIDI (using the Neuro Hub), or through an expression input on the pedal or switching device. The folks at GTC Sound Innovations have come up with yet another solution that debuted at NAMM a couple of years ago and I recently got to put it through its paces. First watch the GTC folks demo some classic effects.
In keeping with the Xmas spirit, here is a track from Les Paul inspired by Jingle Bells but containing all sorts of jungle noises. Les appears to be making the noises with his guitar by scraping the strings and re-pitching them. His guitar-generated animal sounds predate Adrian Belew’s by almost three decades.
Thanks to a Facebook post by Naia Azumi, I discovered Elta Music devices . One of a growing number of pedal manufacturers who seem to be springing from the burgeoning modular market, Elta offers four effects in footswitchable packages that are bound to be of interest to the modern guitarist. First up is their String Ringer: