harp guitar

When Yasmin Williams plays her Timberline harp guitar, she uses her fretting hand to strike the low-resonating strings on the upper neck. They're tuned to open G.

Photo by Kim Atkins

An emerging star finds peace and inspiration in the world of 2020 and, with her unconventional style and instruments (including harp guitar and tap shoes), distills it into the beautiful instrumentals of Urban Driftwood, her second album.

Acoustic guitar fingerstylist Yasmin Williams had a wide breadth of musical influences growing up in Washington D.C. Everything from go-go funk to Jimi Hendrix to Nirvana to hip-hop inspired her to pick up an electric guitar, and that amalgamation of styles remains the bedrock of the music she makes. But it's how she translates it all through her acoustic guitar, kora, kalimba, and a pair of tap shoes that makes the 24-year-old's latest release, Urban Driftwood, so captivating.

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Rig Rundown - Yasmin Williams

After conquering Guitar Hero II, she's reimagining acoustic guitar with two-hand lap tapping, percussive flourishes, and washing it all through reverb and modulation.

Yasmin Williams' gateway drug to guitar was a video game. After defeating Guitar Hero II (on expert, no less), her parents encouraged the budding interest by giving Yasmin an electric.

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Built by Tonedevil Guitars in Idaho, this modern-era, production-model harp guitar—a curious instrument from days gone by until relatively recently—is a great example of the back-to-front innovation that continues

to keep the guitar alive and well.

Charles Darwin may not have strummed the strings, but evolution, adaptability, and survival all play a part in the history of the guitar.

You don't have to do a YouTube search for “guitar solo" to know the instrument is still popular, but in recent years, sales projections for new guitars don't exactly point skyward like they did a decade ago. The recession is mostly over, so what gives? The answer lies in the demographic shift: Kids who grew up on computer games may not have the patience to practice guitar licks. Compared to sales of other musical instruments, however, the guitar is hanging in there and the real story is how the guitar endures despite so much competition for our time.
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