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Joe Gore’s The Subversive Guitarist: Don’t Think Scales—Think Sequences! Apr. '19 Ex. 9

Actor H. Jon Benjamin recorded a jazz album wherein he played piano, but he doesn’t know how to play piano. Let’s explore the musical conundrum of skill versus emotion.

The guitar is the easiest instrument to play and the hardest to play well.” —Andrés Segovia

You probably know H. Jon Benjamin’s voice. He’s the voice actor for Archer in the animated sitcom Archer, as well as Bob in Bob’s Burgers, and Carl in Family Guy. (Okay, so I watch a lot of cartoons). In 2015, Benjamin recorded a jazz album, Well, I Should Have…, with some true jazzers—Scott Kreitzer on sax, David Finck on bass, Jonathan Peretz on drums—and Benjamin on piano. Here’s the twist: Benjamin does not play piano. Nor is he a fan of jazz. He just went for it, and Sub Pop released it.

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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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Fender Custom Shop Factory Tour with Master Builders Andy Hicks & Austin MacNutt

There's more in Corona than a slice of lime. The California city is also the home of Fender’s Custom Shop, and PG’s John Bohlinger, with our crack video team of Chris Kies and Perry Bean, descended on the shop recently for a different kind of rundown.

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