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Staff Picks: Going Green

Ron Gallo joins PG staffers in naming the guitarists whose talents make us twinge with adoring envy.

Q: The guitarist I’m most envious of right now is _____ because _____.

Ron Gallo -- Guest Picker
A: I’m not envious of any guitar players, because what I like about guitar playing does not require “talent” per se. I don’t care too much about technicality or the “guitar gods,” but am more drawn to the freaks—ones that have a primal approach to the instrument, and an innovative style that evokes bizarre and unique sounds from it. I like Robert Quine of Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Lou Reed, etc.

Current obsession: I don’t know what it means, but I have pretty much exclusively listened to jazz lately. It’s like a warm wool blanket on the soul and mind. In jazz, there are no wrong notes; there is only jazz. There can be no conflict while jazz is on. Jazz is pure human expression. Jazz is life.

Kris Judd -- Reader of the Month
A: Derek Trucks. He can connect to something inside the emotional core of humanity, and show it to you without speaking a word, because that’s something no words can do.

Current obsession: Learning new music! Practice, practice, and more practice. Learning new songs, new licks, new rhythm patterns in genres I don’t normally listen to. Getting out of my comfort zone and bringing bits of what I find back to enhance my own style.

Joe Gore -- Contributing Editor
A: The guitarist I’m most envious of right now is Mark Twain, because he got to hang out with Mark Twain all day long. His wise, witty voice would vastly improve the 21st century.

Current Obsession: Gold foil pickups. I’m such a trend slut. But that open, acoustic-like tone is so nice for fingerstyle electric playing.

Tessa Jeffers -- Managing Editor
A: Jack White, because he’s so prolific and everything he touches has authentic mojo. Beyond playing guitar in a raw, fury-of-passion style, he plays drums, has several bands, collaborates with Beyoncé and gets nominated for Grammys, and his songwriting abilities are undeniable. I believe him, and that’s more than half the battle. Maybe it isn’t envy—perhaps I just want to marry him. Boom!

Current obsession: “Carpool Karaoke” with James Corden. The only instruments he needs are his Range Rover, his vocal harmonies, and Madonna twerking shotgun … #myhero.

Ben Kuriscak -- Digital Designer
A. Although I would not be too envious of the attention garnered by any famous guitarist, I’d have to say Jason Isbell. His abilities astound me. To write and play music that reaches out far beyond whatever genre it may happen to fall into… it’s not something you see a whole lot of with today’s artists. Plus, his collection of guitars offer a lot to be envious about.

Current obsession: Watching my five-month-old daughter experience the sounds of various stringed instruments for the first time. She cracks up at the sound of a banjo. It’s become my go-to reason for playing lately.