Although it must be admitted that, as Aaron pointed out in his post on Rodrigo y Gabriela’s interpretation of Metallica’s “Orion”, using a guitar for percussion has become something of an “overused gimmick,” it is also true that for every cliche there is one who defines it, for every trend a -setter. And few recent guitarists have innovated more technically and creatively than has Don Ross, who counts the likes of Don Alder (an interview with him is forthcoming on The AV) and Andy McKee among his disciples.
Watching this rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”, it’s easy to see why Ross has acquired the reputation he has. While rhythm is used by some as a method to conceal a lack of harmonic ideas, Ross manages to reconstruct Cee Lo and Danger Mouse’s catchy melody lines with both conventional techniques and with harmonics, to build them vertically with suspended and otherwise unusual chord shapes, and to spice them up with all kinds of difficult right-left syncopations. Pretty cool stuff.