The 2022 Guthman Musical Instrument Competition started with 26 semifinalists from 16 different countries. After an online showcase of the semifinalists, a committee of Georgia Tech faculty and public voting decided which creators would compete at the final stage. Nine advanced to the competition’s final round. They met on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 11 and 12, 2022, to compete for $10,000 in prizes. While none of these won, they do indicate some possible future directions for making music with guitar skills.
Hands down, the best part of Summer NAMM was running into Benn Jordan. A candidate for The World’s Most Interesting Man, He plays guitar upside down, has a great YouTube channel, performs in front of thousands as Flashbulb, and is a Mixed Marshal Artist. He recently posted this video describing his laptop-free setup for performing his music, a mixture of jazz, metal, electronica, and beats.
The traditional product release cycle is a thing of the past. Thanks to the internet and YouTube, companies are no longer bound to the standard of unveiling major releases at the January NAMM show. Though Boss was not at the Summer show, they picked a time that coincided with the Nashville exhibition to unveil two new products that should be of special interest to modern guitarists: a guitar with their SY synth technology built in, the EURUS GS-1 Electronic Guitar; and a bluetooth expression pedal, the EV-1-WL Wireless MIDI Expression Pedal.
Here are a couple of comprehensive looks at these innovative devices:
If anyone has ever advanced the guitar it would Maestro McLaughlin. He has a great new record out, Liberation Time, made all the more amazing by being recorded remotely. While making the Zoom press rounds, he graciously agreed to talk to my humble publication. We talk Miles, Mustangs, and my favorite band of his with Joey De Francesco and Elvin Jones/Dennis Chambers.
Having published Guitar Moderne for over a decade, I remember when I had heard of most of the interesting modern guitarists out there. These days, there is a spate of names completely unknown to me coming over the transom (actually through email). Chris Sharkey is one, playing left-handed guitars strung standard, with chops to spare and a keen sense of composition. His new record, Presets on Not Applicable Records eschews flurries of notes for new sounds, moods, and textures. We dive deep into Ableton Live, the joys of noise, the London scene in the 2000s and the Leeds scene of today.