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November 15th, 2010

Charlie Hunter Rules.

Last night I saw jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter (well, if I had to classify him more specifically, I’d say “post-contemporary jazz-funk guitarist” Charlie Hunter) and was absolutely amazed at how he managed to play basslines and guitar melodies at the same time. I don’t really know much about guitars, so I thought, “Well, maybe this is just a type of guitar I’m unaware of that a lot of people play.” Turns out, it’s actually a custom guitar:

Hunter currently plays a custom-made, seven-string guitar made by Jeff Traugott. Previously, Hunter played a custom-made, eight-string guitar made by luthier Ralph Novak of Novax Guitars. He plays the lead guitar on the top five strings (tuned ADGBe) and bass guitar (tuned EAD) on the bottom three strings simultaneously. With the addition of a Hughes & Kettner Tube Rotosphere (a Leslie rotary speaker simulator), his unique style produces a sound similar to that of a Hammond organ — an instrument he set out to imitate.

In 2006, Hunter removed the top guitar string and had the neck of his guitar reworked and now plays a modified 7-string on the formerly-8 string body. Hunter has mentioned that because of his small hands, he had to move out of position to make use of the 8th string and this wasn’t using it much. A change in Hunter’s style away from the organ sound into a more blues and distortion based sound happened at the same time. After removing the 8th string, Hunter retuned all of the strings up a half step: F-A#-D# on the bass and A#-D#-G#-C on the guitar. As of 2008, he had once again retuned up a minor 3rd: G-C-F on the bass and C-F-A#-D on the guitar.

(via Wikipedia).

It really is an impressive feat that I think you should see and hear for yourself:

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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