urban driftwood

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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Flexible filtering options and a vicious fuzz distinguish the Tool bass master’s signature fuzz-wah.

Great quality filters that sound good independently or combined. Retains low end through the filter spectrum. Ability to control wah and switch on fuzz simultaneously. Very solid construction.

Fairly heavy. A bit expensive.

$299

Dunlop JCT95 Justin Chancellor Cry Baby Wah
jimdunlop.com

4.5
4
4
4

Options for self-expression through pedals are almost endless these days. It’s almost hard to imagine a sonic void that can’t be filled by a single pedal or some combination of them. But when I told bass-playing colleagues about the new Dunlop Justin Chancellor Cry Baby—which combines wah and fuzz tuned specifically for bass—the reaction was universal curiosity and marvel. It seems Dunlop is scratching an itch bass players have been feeling for quite some time.

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"'If I fall and somehow my career ends on that particular day, then so be it," Joe Bonamassa says of his new hobby, bicycling. "If it's over, it's over. You've got to enjoy your life."

Photo by Steve Trager

For his stylistically diverse new album, the fiery guitar hero steps back from his gear obsession and focuses on a deep pool of influences and styles.

Twenty years ago, Joe Bonamassa was a struggling musician living in New York City. He survived on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen noodles that he procured from the corner bodega at Columbus Avenue and 83rd Street. Like many dreamers waiting for their day in the sun, Joe also played "Win for Life" every week. It was, in his words, "literally my ticket out of this hideous business." While the lottery tickets never brought in the millions, Joe's smokin' guitar playing on a quartet of albums from 2002 to 2006—So, It's Like That, Blues Deluxe, Had to Cry Today, and You & Me—did get the win, transforming Joe into a guitar megastar.

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