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Artists

The maestro with his nearly omnipresent whammy bar, onstage at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor in 2015.

Photo by Ken Settle

Remembering the art and life of one of the world’s greatest and most innovative instrumentalists, who died on Tuesday, January 10, at age 78.

Legends are immortal, but not human beings. And so, Jeff Beck, an immortal of the electric guitar, died from bacterial meningitis on Tuesday in a hospital near his sprawling county estate, Riverhall, in Wadhurst, England, at age 78.

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Rig Rundown: Ariel Posen [2023]

The silky smooth slide man may raise a few eyebrows with his gear—a hollow, steel-bodied baritone and .017s on a Jazzmaster—but every note and tone he plays sounds just right.

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Hedvig Mollestad’s main guitar is a blonde 1988 Gibson ES-335 Showcase Edition, which she modified with ’57 Classic humbuckers, Bigsby tremolo, and gold hardware.

Photo by Julia Marie Naglestad

After seven albums with her trio, the avant-garde Norwegian guitarist branches out and collaborates with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra on a concept album, Maternity Beat, which explores themes of empathy and parenthood, inspired by displaced persons fleeing war.

For a stiff contraption of metal and wood, the guitar can convey an extraordinary range of human emotions. Combine it with an 11-piece ensemble and the options expand like a flower. Norway’s Hedvig Mollestad, her blonde Gibson ES-335 in hand, revels in these myriad possibilities on her latest album Maternity Beat, a commissioned project with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. (Previous TJO guest collaborators include Chick Corea and Joshua Redman—not too shabby.)

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Tom Verlaine performs with Television at the Bottom Line in New York City on June 11, 1978.

Photo by Ebet Roberts

The fiery, incandescent, and visionary guitarist who died on January 28, 2023, helped spark a punk revolution—and then transcended the form entirely.

Musicians feel and experience influence in many ways. And to be certain, Tom Verlaine’s guitar playing—his deconstructed melodies, pointed attack, and capacity for flight—inspired many to attempt imitation. But for a lot of us, Verlaine’s guitar and voice, and the music he created with Television and as a solo artist, were much more than another set of musical tricks to nick. They symbolized liberation and freedom from musical constraints, the rush, promise, and exhilaration of bohemian city life, the world of poets, and the notion that outsider musical voices could find audience and reverence. In the end, Verlaine’s playing may have been impossible to duplicate. But the electricity in his expression suggested an enormity of potential to those looking for a ray of light in weird times.

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Paul Gilbert will release an album celebrating the music of Dio on April 7th. Listen to "Holy Diver" now.


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