This article is from 2009.
Under the hammer
Guitarist Preston Reed is a dazzling exponent of the guitar technique broadly known as ‘hammering-on’, a percussive method of playing on the neck that looks as impressive as it sounds. You can get a flavour from his CDs, but there is no substitute for the visual as well as audible impact of seeing him do it live.
Reed has recalled that he felt he had reached a plateau in his John Fahey and Leo Kottke-influenced finger-picking style back in 1988, and felt limited as both player and composer – ‘I had started to feel like the guitar was telling me what to do, and I wanted to be running the show.’
He had seen some other players using the hammering-on technique, guys like Stanley Jordan, Jeff Healey and Eddie Van Halen, and decided to do a little experimenting with the idea of playing ‘guitar and drums at the same time’. Two decades on, his genre-crossing music is remarkable, and not just for its dazzling technique.
Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride’s, 346 1405, 29 Aug, 9pm, £12 (£10).