Jazz legend Tal Farlow was unquestionably a pioneer of the fretboard (jump back to watch his take on “Misty” here), but it turns out he was also a visionary in terms of guitar design and modification. A new Guitar Aficionado profile takes a look at seven of Farlow’s instruments and their unique twists, including an otherworldly 1951 Gibson ES-140:

(The guitar has) been almost entirely painted bright red, including the fretboard, headstock overlay, pickguard, and single P-90 pickup cover. Farlow asked Gibson for this bizarre paint job when the Red Norvo Trio was hired to back up singer Mel Tormé on his new CBS TV show, which was the first to ever be broadcast in color.

See the piece and read much more at GA.

Right here.

Guitar World is giving a nod to another amazing but often overlooked guitarist, the late Clarence White. Equally adept at acoustic flat picking and B-bender Tele twang, White was a respected session musician and member of several bands including The Byrds. The article highlights some of the guitarist’s finer moments, including The Byrds’ take on the Buck Owens song “Buckaroo.” From GW:

White rips open his bag of B-bender licks—and never closes it. Even his mistakes sound good.

Read up and listen to Clarence White at Guitar World.
Right here.

Music Radar has run a new interview with astrophysicist Brian May who also happens to play guitar for Queen. In the article, May talks about Golden Days, his collaboration with vocalist Kerry Ellis (including what’s behind their version of the Gary Moore classic “Parisienne Walkways”), the mystery of riff writing, and the role of guitar in popular music:

Guitar can do lots of stuff: it can make the nice background, it can make a nice rhythm bed for things to lie on. But post-Hendrix, (the guitar) is a voice which demands to be heard in the same way that a human voice demands to be heard.

Read more and give a listen to a May/Ellis track at MR.

Right here.

Guitarist John Geils of namesake J. Geils Band has died at 71.

From Ultimate Classic Rock:

Boston’s WCVB says that (Geils) was found dead in his home in Groton, Mass. As of now, the cause of death is unknown. (Groton police) do not suspect foul play.

Read more and see some Tweets at UCR.

Right here.

Well, he doesn’t really tell all—that would take a book (which we’d love to see). At any rate, that techy wizard among guitar wizards, Thomas Nordegg (who we last discussed in 2010) is being profiled at Ultimate Guitar. Aside from insight on the likes of Steve Lukather, Steve Vai, and Guthrie Govan, Nordegg has this to say about his onetime employer, Yngwie Malmsteen:

(H)e’s a big teddy bear and he’s a handful. He’s a bigger than life cartoon in a good way. Yngwie is Yngwie and he does totally what he does. I have stories.

Such a tease.

Read more and see some vintage photos at UG.

Right here.

Are you familiar with Gittler Guitars? They sort of look like props from Blade Runner or something. Actually, the profile over at Electric Herald puts it best, calling the instruments:

(S)omething futuristic and foreign that resembles something from an H.R. Giger painting more than a guitar. It’s like a spinal column with strings.

Get more info and see some pics over at EH.

Right here.

And standby for a guest post from this excellent site!

Just as the Blue Note label suggested jazz of certain quality in the ’50s, Shrapnel Records connoted to the discerning guitarist the most supersonic shred on the planet in the ’80s. (Yeah, I just compared Shrapnel to Blue Note … it was either that or Stax …) TeamRock.com recently ran a profile of the legendary guitar oriented label and its impresario of arpeggios, Mike Varney. The man himself weighs in on the thought behind starting the fabled label:

I figured, ‘I play guitar pretty well. I’m going to find ten guys that can wipe the floor with me and see what happens.’ I got a loan from my father and started Shrapnel.

Though the guitarists releasing music under Varney were known for bombastic playing—think Vinnie Moore, Joey Tafolla, and Jason Becker to name a few of the most terrifying—they weren’t without a deeper musicality, at least to their producer. Here’s Varney on the eventual flood of demos he received:

It got ridiculous. I’d have guys calling me up saying: ‘I can play Flight Of The Bumble Bee at two hundred and forty bpm,’ or, ‘I think I’m the fastest guitar player in the world right now.’ I’d say: ‘Yeah, but can you play with the tastefulness and musicality of Richie Kotzen or Paul Gilbert?’

Read much more, including quotes from many of the above at TeamRock.

Right here.

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