It may look a cross-pollination between the ideals of a swiss cheese master craftsman, a Dali soft watch and a carbon fibre pretzel but the XOX handle guitar tries to push guitar manufacturing beyond the scope of the usual materials, componentry and ergonomics. Many companies have tried to free the electric guitar from the vice like grasp of tradition in the past but to no avail. Leo Fender`s and Les Paul`s designs have become such classic icons in their fusion of design, sound and playability that many significant changes and improvements just don’t make it into the mainstream.
If you listen to most of the guitar players from the last 50 years you`ll agree that there`s nothing quite like the sound of a strat’ bridge pick up with the tone rolled off through some burning vacuum tubes. Ask Eric.
Can there be any more?
Well, in a world that’s ultimately soaked and aged in the single malt, tried and trusted, eulogised traditions and techniques of the cannon of popular guitar music, recording and performance then the answer must be a resounding “No!”.
Some artists (Jack White) go to great lengths to take their modern song writing performance and bathe it in the holy waters of yesteryear with a penchant for vintage valve amplifiers, 2 and a quarter inch tape, leslie cabinets, and even rusty old strings. Wouldn`t you want to play with some of Hubert’s rusty old castaways from the Wolf Days?
Anyway if you’re not neck deep in the sand and you fancy embracing something a little more modern then maybe designer Peter Solomon’s cutting edge Handle might grab ya. With a single body of carbon fibre “its mono-chassis construction favors direct transmission of acoustic vibrations without sound dampening nor loss. The entire guitar is hollow sectioned, creating a resonance chamber similar to that of a semi-acoustic guitar”.
Tomorrow I`m going to have quick look at one of the most esoteric, exotic and unusual guitar makers – Teuffel…
In the meantime, in typically unrelated fashion, here’s Adrian Legg pushing the playing parameters with style and a relaxed, natural attention to sonorifics, showing us exactly where it`s at!
If you like the sound of Adrian’s incredible guitar music then you must get your hands on his album Guitar Bones and also have a listen to The Ginger Baker Trio album Going Back Home with Bill Frisell. Both of them are must haves. More on Frisell later!
After writing this post yesterday I just had to insert the full video version of guitar genius Adrian Legg using his tuning pegs to simulate country pedal steel guitar sounds whilst playing a melody of such plaintive yet sun-filled, pseudo tropical country styled design through an almost African rhythmic template. This is indeed a feat of absolute technical mastery combined with an otherworldly sense of feel, pace and melody whilst bringing different genre motifs together. Thanks to Adrian I`m off to burn my stratocaster! Yeah!
Here`s a link to Adrian’s own personal instruction DVD that will help you to become a more creative guitarist PLUS a link to Adrian’s album Guitar Bones.
Even better still this video features the added bonus of Brad Jones taking the Flatt and Scruggs route to the old nylon string in a piece called Funky Fingers. Country is where it`s at when it`s played with the blistering skills and gusto of a five finger hurricane like Brad – fo’ sho’ man – fo’ sho’ !.