Get this crazy baby off my head!


Preston Reed

Preston Reed - History Of Now - 2005 - Outer Bridge

"If I'm a hard core guitar player, Preston Reed is petrified. He's so into it that he has alchemized. I've never seen anyone more precise. He's really inspiring." - Michael Hedges in Fingerstyle Guitar interview, March/April 1996

"Reed's fiendishly intricate blend of blues, rock, country and metal styles ducks and weaves itself away from measurability" - The Irish Times
"... phenomenal." - Al Dimeola

[Reed's] two-fisted attack turns the acoustic guitar into an entire rhythm section. - Jazziz

A performance by a solo guitarist can sometimes be more like a freak show. Think of extraordinary players like Tommy Emmanuel, whose live sets seem designed to shock and awe, overwhelming the (mostly male) audience with their finger twisting technical prowess. It doesn't have to be like that. The American uber-guitarist Preston Reed can play with the equivalent musical firepower of a helicopter gunship - and frequently does. But on this latest album he has opted for the less-is-more approach, applying his mastery of the acoustic and electric axes to a series of gentle but melodic miniatures. In a blindfold test, Reed could pass for a guitar duo or even a trio at times and finger style enthusiasts will marvel at his casual ability to simultaneously play rhythm and complex top lines. But he is musical too and each short piece evokes a beautifully lit scene of classic Americana. Performance * * * * Sound * * * * by & © Gary Booth BBC Music Magazine February 2006

Playing any Preston Reed album is guaranteed to be an acoustic delight, but on History Of Now he's branched out to incorporate some electrical moments on the jazzier outings such as Instrument Landing. Always known as a potential hard rocker playing an acoustic, Preston's two-handed style ensures inspiration and astonishment. His unique and percussive attack supplies the sound of the rhythm section at the same time as the melody - no better heard than on Corazon which sounds more like three players than one. And yet, there's always something else up Reed's sleeve such as the spacious slide work on the delightful Franzl's Saw - again using bass note under pinning. An album full of delights that comes highly recommended. © Guitar Techniques February 2006

Try and listen to Preston's "Blue Vertigo" album. Check out Preston's blog @ http://fretgenie.wordpress.com/ For other brilliant acoustic guitar, check out Laurence Juber and Stephen Bennett on this blog [All tracks @ 224 Kbps: File size = 83.9 Mb]


1 Dead Cool 3:25
2 Instrument Landing 3:29
3 Signal Path 3:32
4 Woman In The Tower 3:42
5 Chord Melody 3:16
6 Radiance 2:52
7 Twang Thang 3:59
8 False Spring 3:48
9 Corazon 2:16
10 Franzl's Saw 4:57
11 Halfway Home 3:37
12 Lost Time 5:02
13 Hit The Ground Running 3:31
14 Valhalla 5:50

All songs and instrumentation by Preston Reed


Preston Reed (born April 13, 1955, Armonk, New York) is an American fingerstyle and tapping guitarist. Preston Reed learned guitar as a child on his father's guitar and, for a short time, classical guitar with a too-severe teacher. When he was 16 his interest was rekindled by Jorma Kaukonen's acoustic guitar-playing in Hot Tuna. He took the guitar again and began to compose his own songs in the style of Leo Kottke and John Fahey. His first public performance was at Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., in a concert with Allen Ginsberg. He continued recording and performing and signed his first major label record deal with MCA Records with the help of his friend Lyle Lovett. Reed has played with various other musicians, spanning the spectrum between Linda Ronstadt and rock band NRBQ. He was featured on American radio and TV broadcasts. Between 1979 and 2007, he recorded 15 albums on several labels - mostly solo acoustic guitar -, guest-starred on other musicians productions, founded his own Outer Bridge label and featured on two solo videos. He has been commissioned for film soundtracks and a suite of original music for the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet. Reed moved to Scotland in 2000. Reed plays with his fingers, thumbs, fists and hands at once, suggesting a whole band at work: drummer, keyboard player, bass guitarist and several guitarists at once. Some of his tunes invoke impressions of rock bands and duelling guitars, but he is also a player of blues or ballads reminiscent of Bill Evans, one of his musical idols. As a teenager, Reed was influenced by Leo Kottke and John Fahey and in the beginning of his career was a fingerpicker with notable technical prowess. In the late 1980s, though, he developed his own, highly individual and percussive style, a short time after Michael Hedges published his first records using technically similar techniques, but creating very different music. He drew not only from fingerstyle, but from rock 'n' roll too, developing a very rhythmic drive in some of his compositions. Other pieces are very melodic and dreamy ballads. His guitar style is characterised by the use of percussive effects he generates with both hands on various parts of the guitar body. He names them, appropriately, rim shots and bongo hits. He uses slap and tap techniques like slap harmonics or the generation of notes or whole chords with his left hand (hammer-on, pull-off). He uses both hands for tapping (two-hand tapping) and frets chords with his right hand (right-hand fretting). He often plays with both hands from above the guitar's neck. In many of his compositions, Reed uses altered tunings characterized by very low bass string tunings, for example BGDGAD or CGDGGD, though he also uses standard tuning on his latest CD, Spirit.


Preston Reed plays acoustic guitar in a revolutionary, self-created percussive style that organically integrates melodies and drum rhythms. Preston Reed is a guitarist of many parts - so many parts that when he brings them all into play, first-time listeners often find it impossible to believe that they're hearing just the one musician, in real time. At full tilt, Reed's fingers, thumbs, fists and hands at once suggest a drummer, keyboardist, bassist and several guitarists at work. It's a dizzying, exhilarating phenomenon. A portrait of the acoustic guitar as full-on heavy metal band. But impressions of rock bands - and high speed trains and duelling, pulling tractors - are only one side of Reed. While acknowledging that somewhere inside him there is a screaming electric guitarist pacing like a caged lion, Reed is also a player of deep sensitivity who can compose and play a blues or a ballad with a touch reminiscent of his great jazz piano-playing hero, Bill Evans. Reed's entry into this guitar odyssey was inauspicious enough, his path thereafter largely self-discovered. A few chords learned from his guitar playing father, a brief, very brief, flirtation with the ukulele, clandestine practice sessions of his favourite Beatles and Stones songs on dad's guitar .... and then a too-strict classical guitar teacher led to premature retirement. At 16, however, Reed heard Jefferson Airplane's rootsy blues offshoot, Hot Tuna. His interest was rekindled big time. Acoustic guitar heroes John Fahey and Leo Kottke were studied, their styles absorbed but not imitated, and at this point things really begin to get interesting because, at 17, Reed, by now precociously proficient, played his first live gig, supporting beat poet Allen Ginsberg at the Smithsonian Institute. Just getting on a train from his native Armouk in New York state to Washington was a cool adventure. And it was just the first of many, not least of which was the one which resulted from his signing his first deal with a major record company, MCA, through the auspices of his friend, country singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett. Determined to make the most of this opportunity, Reed pushed himself to go beyond the standard fingerpicking styles he'd perfected. The result was the beginnings of the startlingly innovative style, with its percussive, two-handed fretboard attack, that you hear today and which has caused guitar luminaries such as Al DiMeola and the late Michael Hedges to describe Reed as "phenomenal" and "inspiring". Reed's compositional talents extend to film soundtracks and prestigious commissions for the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, and as well as appearances alongside Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt his major performances include an historic live satellite broadcast on Turkish National Television in 1997 with renowned saz player and composer Arif Sag which reached an audience of 120 million in 17 countries, prompting a flood of international telephone calls to the station from stunned viewers. Since 1979, he has recorded thirteen albums and three videos and charmed audiences on three continents. He continues to tour with the same hunger and relish that informs his guitar playing and he gives regular workshops where he passes on the techniques he has developed for extending the acoustic guitar's possibilities. The secret, he says, is to relax and let the guitar patterns run by themselves. Which explains how, at full tilt, he may sound like a full-on heavy metal band but he still won't have broken sweat. © http://www.kennedy-center.org/explorer/artists/?entity_id=10944&source_type=B


ratso said...

...ditto for previous Preston Reed post. Thanks for the post and gettin' me an education, boy...

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,ratso. No probs. Stick with me kid. I'll learn you how to talk proper! (lol)Thanks,ratso...Back with another lesson shortly...P

A.O.O.F.C said...