When I moved back to New York City from San Francisco in the late 90s, David Tronzo was playing often and, more likely than not, I was there. I watched with my jaw dropped as he played blistering, jazz-inflected lines on his vintage Silvertone—with a slide! Check out some of the videos here; it has to be seen to be believed. Then watch my interview with him where he explains his tuning, odd choices for slides, and how the end of The Marshall Plan has affected touring opportunities in Europe for American acts, and much more.
When Clinton Beale contacted me about a “new guitar gadget,” I was, as is my habit, skeptical. Hall E at NAMM is full of new guitar gadgets that are ill thought out at best and insane at worst. When I learned that it was a slide with one side that would emulate a sitar, my skepticism rose, but the videos on his site demonstrated sounds coming out of the East West Slide that seemed almost too good to be true. I had to check it out for myself. Clinton was kind enough to send me one for review. Along with it, he sent a three-page letter detailing some tips for using it and the process of making it.
Slide guitar is as rootsy as it gets, but Carl Weingarten has taking the technique into realms that would astonish Elmore James and perhaps even give Ry Cooder pause. Tapping the strings both in front of and behind the slide, scraping it against the strings Weingarten creates washes of delayed and looped tones for a cinematic journey in sound. Honing his art over three decades has produced a singular voice that honors the slide’s history while pushing it into the future.