How To Play The Guitar

04/03/2012

Over the past month or so I have been developing a ‘prepared guitar’ setup.

I have had an interest in extended playing techniques for a few years now and anyone who has seen my band The Conservatoire playing will have witnessed some of these techniques in action, albeit in a ‘rock band’ type environment.

My goal now is to explore an entirely new sonic vocabulary, using an old Squier Stratocaster and a few commonly found household items.

At the moment I am in a very exploratory place, investigating how the instrument can be used to produce different timbres and trying to rediscover the instrument in a textural way, shunning the typical playing habits I use when playing in The Conservatoire.

I will be using the instrument in an open improv ensemble as part of my Sonic Performance module at uni, so my explorations so far have been with this in mind. That said, I am interested to see whether at some point I might have developed enough of a vocabulary to perform with the instrument as a solo entity.

I have made a conscious decision to avoid the use of external processing of the guitars sound. I am very serious about discovering a new textural palette with the guitar, and not relying on the use of distortion or time based effects to ‘make weird noises’. This decision makes my task much harder, as when is a guitar not a guitar?

The following links to a recording to document/demonstrate some of the textures I have been working with so far. It is not a performance as such so is devoid of a recognisable structure. There are a few places as well where the recording quality isn’t as great as I would normally strive for – apologies for this.

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