Thursday, July 5, 2012

"GUITAR GODS: Preston Reed''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
 Originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Friday, December 13 2002 @ 20:43:45 GMT

               Preston Reed is absolute magic with a guitar. His style is impossible to pigeonhole - it can only be said that it is performed on acoustic guitar and involves techniques influenced by everything from Bach to the Beatles played in a manner that is downright fierce. His compositional skills are par excellence, his harmonic sensibilities highly advanced and finely honed, his technique exquisite. In a word, this guy is dangerous.

     Preston started playing guitar much in the same manner as any other kid: a few chords here and a few lessons there. But by 17, when he performed his first live gig backing poet Allen Ginsberg at the Smithsonian Institute, he was already a force to be reckoned with. Soon after, he signed a deal with MCA Records - a deal which motivated him even further to improve as a guitarist. This motivation led him to explore beyond the finger-picking styles into which he'd delved, and deep into territory only occasionally treaded by such luminaries as Kottke and Hedges and a handful of Classical and Flamenco stylists of the highest order.

Over 20 years later (and a move from living in the USA to his new home in Scotland), Reed has cemented his two-handed style of playing; a style that attacks the entire guitar (strings, neck, body) simultaneously like a guitarist and a drummer and a pianist, with both hands fretting notes, strumming, picking, and patting out rhythmic patterns. Hearing Preston for the first time, you'll be hard-pressed to believe that it is one man making all that beautiful noise! Quite simply, he is a devastating talent.

If you've never experienced Preston Reed, you'll want to check out his web-site where you can find photos and sound & video clips and tour information and info on purchasing one of his 17 solo albums, two instructional tapes (via Homespun), and live performance videos.
I had the chance to speak to Preston recently. Check it out!


1) What are your current projects?

My main projects at the moment are writing tunes for my next recording, building the catalog of my record label, and establishing myself as a concert performer in the U.K., Ireland and Europe.

2) How does this (do these) differ from your past work?

There is no difference in my activities (composing, recording, touring). The difference is the new country and culture I am operating from, and the new markets I am working in.

3) Do you have one project that you are most proud of as a guitarist?

I tend to be most excited about my most recent recording, which in this case is HANDWRITTEN NOTES. I am proud of it for the quality of the writing, for the quality of the sound, for the reception it has gotten from fans and reviewers, and because it is the first record I have done on my own label.

4) Can you give our readers a run-down of your basic gear (live and/or studio)?

I perform and record with a custom-made Ovation Adamas long-neck. It has a dual pickup system combining the Ovation bridge pickup with a Seymour Duncan SA-2 Perfect Timbre sound transducer. I have recently started performing with a Fender Stratocaster as well. I use an AER Compact 60 amp on stage. I use D'Addario strings.

5) Who would you cite as early influences, and who are you favorite new players?

My earliest influences were the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Animals and the Zombies. My early guitar influences were Jorma Kaukonen, John Fahey and Leo Kottke. Later influences included Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman, John McLaughlin, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton. My favorite guitar players these days are John Scofield, Bill Frisell, Mike Stern and Pat Metheny.

6) Can you give a few tips to aspiring players?

Be yourself and let your unique personality show through your playing. Enjoy the person you are on the guitar and don't be afraid to be different. If it sounds right to you, it is right. Be very sure of your motives and your intentions if you are getting into music professionally.

7) What are your future plans?

To continue to create new music, share it with audiences, grow artistically, travel, and above all, enjoy my life.

8) Thanx for talking to us, Preston!

It was my pleasure. Thanks for supporting my music. Keep on playing!

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