Preston Reed begins his west coast tour later this month in Portland, OR. If you don’t know Preston Reed and his music, do yourself a favor and check him out for yourself. Here’s a few quotes written about him:
- “… widely thought of as the world’s most gifted
- guitarist” Total Guitar
- “Spectacular… the best one-man show this reviewer
- has seen since Bruce Springsteen… A terrific
- performer” The Irish Independent
- “True spellbinding guitar mastery” Guitarist Magazine
- “Will drop your jaw” Playboy
- “Heart stopping tour de force” Billboard
I recently had a chance to ask his a few questions about the tour, his signature guitar, and a number of other topics …
1. For your West Coast tour starting in September you’ll be playing in Oregon and California? What brings you to those particular states and any plans of playing other parts of the US?
PR:Because of the size of the U.S. it has been necessary to pick a particular region for each tour. I have always played the West Coast and always enjoy touring there. The last time I played there was two years ago, so it’s time to go back.
My next U.S. tour in 2012 will be in the Northeast and the East Coast.
2. I’ve read that you have a new album due for release early next year, can you share what it’s all about and what some the tracks include?
PR: It will be an acoustic guitar project and will include new compositions that I am currently writing and/or already performing as well as some re-recorded tunes from my now unavailable major label recordings.
3. You designed a new signature guitar built-in Scotland by luthier Mark Bailey, what features does include that you wanted in designing it and will you be using on the tour? (any pics you can share?)
PR: It is a baritone acoustic cutaway built to the dimensions of the custom Ovation I played as my main instrument for many years, but it is made of wood so it has a different sound to the Ovation.
It’s main features are a tapering body thickness so the neck is comfortable to reach, an enlarged rear body area for percussion, and a balanced weight when worn with a strap standing
up, which is how I play it in concert.
4. Do you still takes jaunts out to the Ailsa? It looks like an incredible place.
PR: Yes, occasionally. There’s a boat in Girvan that goes out to it that I have taken numerous times. I also ride my mountain bike past it on the beach promenade every evening…and photograph it a lot.
5. Do you still put on guitar workshops? Have you stayed in touch with or worked with any former students?
PR:I taught a two-day workshop in July. I really enjoyed it. I have had contact with former students fairly often. They come to my shows or connect with me on facebook or by e-mail. It’s nice to see how they are getting on. They seem happy about, and to have benefited from, their workshop experience.
6. You’ve talked about how finding an idea the most important task in creating a composition, can you describe how this happens for you? Do you have to let the idea come to you or do you seek it out?
PR: It depends. Sometimes an idea just shows up on its own. But more often I have to work with a tune and try a lot of ideas to find the ones that work.
The thing about composing music is that ideas, no matter how good they may be, have to work with each other to serve the larger purposes of the composition. Sometimes that means letting an idea go if it is getting in the way of the tune as a whole even though you may love it for its own sake.
7. You’ve said that you’ve always heard and created music in your head and tried to find and use those sounds on the guitar, do you think that someone can develop this? If so how? (Where I’m going with this is that I think most beginner pick up a guitar because they hear so and so, and they want to play a particular song and often don’t develop their own music and sound .. would you agree?)
PR: I think it can be developed, but it requires having specific goals in mind and setting about reaching them. You must identify what it is you are trying to develop or learn and be aware of what that means both in terms of guitar skills and musical knowledge.
8. What would you advise to someone who asked you, “How can I learn to play like you?”
PR: Watch my instructional video. Try to think in terms of starting with a groove and fitting the guitar playing into that groove.
9. Preston, was their ever a time in your life where you were either frustrated by the guitar or making a career of it? And how did you over come that thought or situation?
PR: I have wanted to give up several times over the past four decades. The music business is challenging and can be cruel and frustrating. Part of that experience has to do with the irony of having to make a living doing something you are so close to emotionally.
But the guitar (and music) have always dragged me back when I was ready to give up. In the end I had to accept that it is what I was meant to do.