The best thing about being a guitar player is that we have so many options for how to express ourselves on the instrument. I remember when I just started learning as a kid, how blown away I was when I discovered that little white button on my 10 watt practice amp that made my guitar distorted, bringing me one step closer to sounding like the hard rock gods I was trying to emulate. I didn’t leave my room for months!The next time an influence would be that big of a game changer for me was on the opposite side of the sound spectrum. Growing up, I had always loved the sound of an acoustic guitar, but really just for it’s essential role in the almighty power ballads that I was such a fan of. When I was about 14 or 15 my Dad had bought a CD from the bargain bin at the local Wal Mart to have something to play in the background during family dinners and holidays. It was called Guitar Fingerstyle. A compilation put out by the Narada record label of exclusively artists that played finger style on steel string guitars.As a teenage metalhead, I was NOT proud of the fact that this CD affected me so much. But these musicians were finger tapping, playing percussion on the body of the guitar, and working in beautiful melodies all at the same time and on one guitar! So I looked into the individual artists on the compilation and discovered Billy McLaughlin, Don Ross, Laurence Jubar, and many others that I’m still into today. Check out these videos of two of my favorite guitar players in this style. And if you like it, I recommend doing a YouTube search for Candy Rat Records. They have a lot of artists in this genre and they release high quality videos of their playing. Enjoy!
By Tony Calabro