Friday, 22 May 2020


Turns out the end of February was, in one respect, the wrong time for a gigging musician to buy a new guitar and an amp. On the other hand, with the lockdown that followed, I may not have had the opportunity to play live with the new kit, but the office, an old 17th centaury mill with very thick walls, has been all but empty, so I've been able to take the guitar into work, plug it in to the amp and make a lot of noise after hours without upsetting anybody.

Or at least none of the neighbours have found me to complain yet.

I think I've previously mentioned, but an electric guitar is not my natural, native environment. Okay, I know a guitar isn't an environment, but the sound it creates is kind like a place the player inhabits, so it seems to work as a kind of metaphor. An acoustic is simple, direct and straight forward; a thing of fretboard, body and strings, an almost percussive instrument of natural tone, resonance and harmonics.

An electric is an artificial hybrid of guitar and amp and effects. A devious, complicated medley that can so easily go very, very wrong and at best simply create an audial mush, or at worst an actually painful cacophony.

It's also amazingly flexible, and whilst it doesn't forgive mistakes or inaccuracies in the same way an acoustic will, the breadth of tone, the resonance of the amp and effects, and the lightness of action (the height between string and fret) opens up the guitar's fretboard in a way that has, to be honest, been something of a revelation, and an awful lot of fun to explore.

That said, this song isn't a revelatory exploration in harmonic dissidence. It's a chilled take on an old Oasis song that has been a part of my set for almost twenty-five years, and the amp is turned down low. "Wonderwall" had the kind of popularity, and corresponding airtime, back in its day when it came out in late '95 that it's almost a cliché to cover it. But I fell in love with the first chord, and then all the chords that followed.

Unusual for me, as I'm usually hooked by lyrics and melody. It's quintessentially a song for the acoustic guitar. So old, familiar ground for me to explore with my new, unfamiliar electric.

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