Jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter sits down with Cory to talk old school vs. new school, the value of his busking days, and the genius of Blind Blake.
"I don't consider myself a jazz musician," says guitarist Charlie Hunter on this episode of Wong Notes—essentially refuting how he's known in the music world. "I am maybe jazz adjacent." Most listeners probably wouldn't agree, but if nothing else, Hunter is experimental. He's known for playing a guitar that's strung with both bass and electric guitar strings, that has two pickups—one for bass and one for guitar—and two input jacks, which go to separate amps for the respective sounds.
As the conversation unfolds, Charlie shares with Cory about the importance of interdependence, especially in jamming. "All I want to do is be a part of an extension of [the drummer's] beat," he explains. "Everything has to take a backseat to that." He compares the level of resources he had with young musicians today—back then, for better or for worse, all he had was a metronome and the discipline exemplified by the older musicians he played with. Something else that shapes modern musical culture, he says, is globalization: Having access to every genre and the music of every guitar player can make it harder for people learning to pick a specialty.
Charlie goes on to share about how he got his stripes largely from his time performing as a street musician in Europe. "I would not trade those three, four years of being a street musician for anything," he says, describing the experience as a kind of boot camp. His first lessons were in playing 12 hours a day on an unfamiliar instrument at the time—acoustic bass—on the streets of Zurich.
Towards the end of the interview, Charlie and Cory reflect together on the values of bonding with your musical community in person, something that's more of a challenge with the rise of internet culture. However, Charlie has lately been using Instagram as a vehicle to share the music of Blind Blake, someone who he thinks is "literally better than any of us [on guitar]."
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Did you ever wonder how the most epic guitar solos of our time were crafted? Let Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters be your tour guide and listen in as he breaks down legendary guitar solos with the artists themselves.
“I love guitar playing, and in particular, I love lead guitar playing (not to mention all things related to lead guitar playing: amps, pedals, stories about recording, and of course, guitars). My new show, SHRED WITH SHIFTY, was born out of the fact that I spend an awful lot of time watching people on the internet explain guitar parts almost right, so I thought, what if I could just go to the source and find out what my favorite players actually did on the solos I love? I’m about halfway through doing the interviews for this first season and the lineup is insane plus I’ve already got a big new bag of hot licks to learn. Working on launching this show has been a good reminder of why I picked up a guitar in the first place - because it’s really, really fun.” - Chris Shiflett
Each and every episode gets inside what it was like in the recording studio where some of the most iconic guitar solos were created and highlights aspects of each solo that only the artist knows. Alex Lifeson talks about how the “Limelight” solo was pieced together in the studio, while Rivers Cuomo discusses why his go-to “guitar store” lick is a classic from super shredder Yngwie Malmsteen. Wonder how Richie Sambora put together the “Wanted Dead or Alive” solo? We have you covered. Need a breakdown of the chords to Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out?” No one knows the nuances better than Nile Rodgers himself.
Shred With Shifty Guests Include:
- Nile Rodgers
- Brad Paisley
- Alex Lifeson (Rush)
- Mike McCready (Pearl Jam)
- Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi)
- Rivers Cuomo (Weezer)
- Charlie Starr (Blackberry Smoke)
- Lindsay Ell
- Blake Schwarzenbach, (Jawbreaker)
- John Osborne (Brothers Osborne)
- Brent Mason (Session Legend)
SHRED WITH SHIFTY is produced by Jason Shadrick, Chris Shiflett, leading music podcast company Double Elvis, and Volume.com along with Premier Guitar. Full video episodes will be available exclusively on Volume.com. Audio versions of every episode will be available on all major podcast platforms. Go to Volume.com/shifty and follow to get alerts as new video episodes are released.
Fans can smash play on Shiflett’s latest singles "Black Top White Lines" (written with alt-country heroes Jaren Johnston and John Osborne) and"Dead And Gone" right now, and stay tuned for a forthcoming full-length album announcement later this summer. Want to know what’s in Shiflett’s personal guitar vault? Check out his Rig Rundown via Premier Guitar.
"Double Elvis thrives on the power of music and storytelling. With 'SHRED WITH SHIFTY,' we're embodying these values by diving into the world of guitar legends, the solos that define them, and the untold stories behind those iconic moments. Chris Shiflett's passion for the craft, his curiosity, and his unique ability to connect with other musicians makes him the perfect person to lead this exploration. We couldn't be more excited to partner with him, and with Volume.com to bring this truly unique and entertaining new show to life.”
-Brady Sadler, Executive Producer & Co-Founder of Double Elvis
We are beyond thrilled to bring SHRED WITH SHIFTY to life with video on Volume.com. What we love about having this podcast on Volume is the visual nature of the content. The incredible material that Chris covers with these Legends is more compelling with the additional video component. We believe fans and guitarists being able to see the frets and fingerings up close and personal creates an enhanced viewer experience.
-Greg Nacron, COO, Volume.com
“What’s the best you can do with what you’ve got,” asks the Taylor Guitars CEO, who discusses the company’s building philosophy and its quest to inspire musicians.
The new DIT episode kicks off as Rhett and Zach celebrate Zach’s close encounter with special effects mogul Adam Savage, of Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Matrix, and Tested fame. (Nerd alert: Zach and his wife have Ghostbusters uniforms—which they wore that day. There’s a photo.) Rhett talks about the first single from his latest band, Good Trouble, who now have a YouTube channel. The dynamic duo also gives a seasonal warning about guitar maintenance. And then it’s time for the main event: Andy Powers, CEO and chief guitar designer of Taylor Guitars.
Andy Powers Teaches Tonewoods
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The SoCal native—and surfer—Powers provides his backstory in guitar design and building, starting with his hobbyist-musician parents and their friends. His first build … exploded, but he’s done considerably better since! By the time he was a teenager, he was building and selling guitars on his own, as well as doing repairs for local music shops. But even before that, he’d gotten in trouble with the IRS for making too much money as a luthier. Later, van life, as a touring player, didn’t satisfy him, but after he graduated college he already had a two-to-three-year waiting list of guitar orders. From there, it was a short twist of luck—and multiple encounters with company founder Bob Taylor—that brought him to Taylor Guitars.
Powers also addresses conservatism in guitar design, and how to break the cycle while participating in the tradition. And yes, he dives into the tonewood controversy …. and tells a “basic truth” about guitars: neck woods and shapes do matter. As do personal touches, including the occasional crack in a top … and the bumper sticker covering it! Andy also comments on the difference between acoustic and electric players, and notes that “some of the best acoustic guitar sounds I’ve ever heard start with a microphone.” Powers observes: “It’s pretty easy to go down those rabbit holes.” And these guys do! Especially when they talk how to get to best live acoustic guitar tone. And the grand finale: Andy, Rhett, and Zack dip a rig … and explain duplex scaling.