NAMM 2020 is next week. I will try and get my report up sooner this year. If you are looking for a distillation of some of the most interesting gear for the modern guitarist to come out of 2019, this is a good place to start. Nick Reinhart, and Juan Alderete always have their fingers on the pulse of what is forward thinking and cool.
Despite an increasing number of great recordings coming over my transom, three guitarists, Anthony Pirog, David Torn, and Mike Baggetta, dominated this year’s picks with two records each. In addition to being brilliant players who have produced stellar examples of their work on these albums, all the guitarists featured here are out in the trenches preforming live on a regular basis. In no particular order.
I have noticed a recent trend toward a resurgence of headless guitar designs being favored by modern guitarists. Rick Toone builds beautiful examples of this style guitar (as well as “headed versions”). He had the idea to ask some clients, Chris Buono, Todd Haug, Killick Hinds, Ken Kinter, Gabriel Levi, Steve Sjuggerud, and Ede Wright, to record an album of music featuring his instruments. The result is a terrific compilation of modern guitar improvisation.
I recently wrote about Blue Cat Audio’s Axiom amp sim plugin for my column in Electronic Musician. Included in that software is their Late Replies plugin, to be used for delay effects with your amp models. It allows you to modify its delays with a variety of built-in effects (filters, pitch-shifting, etc), as well as any of your AU, VST, or VST3 plugins!. And that is just the beginning; Late Replies is one of those effects that is more like an instrument. Check out these videos or download the demo and prepare to lose a day playing with the almost infinite parameter permutations.
When modern guitarist and 1K Records mogul, Tim Motzer gets together with modern jazz guitar legend Kurt Rosenwinkel and drummer Gintas Janusonis to perform as Bandit65, there is no written music, no songs, no plan. The three musicians jump off a cliff and create music from nothing as they fall. Except that they don’t fall. Working without a safety net, they float gently on currents of magical music, composed in the moment. Tim and Kurt were kind enough to talk to Guitar Moderne about their process and gear.