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the future of the guitar…

Jeff Beck: in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and onwards…Jeff beck has done for the electric guitar what Earl Scruggs did for the Banjo; he pushed things on. I once watched a documentary about Earl Scruggs that was made in the early 70’s where Earl was trying to push things on a bit with the banjo; in terms of what it could do and the sort of music making it could be involved with. Well, I give you Jeff Beck. And actually, Jeff hasn’t really strayed much from the basic set up of guitar and amp; just a bit of colouration here and there. But he has pushed on what can be done within these basic parameters – all those interesting things he does with his thumb and fingers…and a whammy bar!!!

But you know what, I reckon there’s lot more the ‘guitar’ can do – the future is synthesis etc…so it doesn’t even sound like what we have come to regard as the electric guitar since its inception. I mean, in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, the attitude was that the electric guitar was supposed to be a louder version of the acoustic guitar; that’s all. It took the 60’s to change that perception and then it all opened up. Ray Davies of the Kinks for example, challenged that perception when in 1964 he took a razer blade and sliced a speaker cone in his guitar amplifer, thus creating that raspy sound we associate with, ‘You Really Got Me’.
Pete Townshend was another, with his desire for louder amps that would distort the sound of the guitar. Jeff Beck and his pioneering use of feedback…and Hendrix with his use of the Wah Wah pedal etc. And so on…

But yes, I think what we have come to regard as the guitar will be challenged further as the 21st century unfolds. And I believe that future is synthesis – forging sounds that have never been heard on guitar before. In fact, the guitar will become a controller and it will be able to sound like…well anything: any sound imaginable. Of course, we are already half way along that road; and I expect it to go further.

So…watch this space…

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