READER RESPONSE TO “FOUR
CORNERS OF THE NEW
Universe” in the June 2012 issue of GP was so
positive that we decided
to follow up with a similar piece showcasing four young electric guitarists
that you may not be familiar with, but who we feel deserve
your attention. These players all come from entirely different musical
backgrounds and their approaches to the instrument reﬂect that.
What they have in common is a commitment and a passion for pushing their
playing to new heights, demonstrating that the electric guitar
is still as relevant and vital in contemporary music as ever. Also, as
previously, we have included six additional Google-worthy players
that we strongly encourage you to check out.
Although you probably wouldn’t guess it from listening
to her music, 23-year-old British guitarist and singer-
songwriter Charlene Soraia is a major progressive rock
fan. “King Crimson is my favorite, but I also like Gentle
Giant, Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, and others,” she says.
“Of course, I like normal stuff like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, and
While there is Mellotron on her
debut album, Moonchild [Peacefrog],
and the record takes its name from a
King Crimson song, Soraia’s music
and guitar playing evoke Joni Mitch-
ell and Rickie Lee Jones more than
Soraia commandeered her father’s
guitar when she was ﬁve, and played
her first gig at eight. She honed
her solo act at open mics and per-
formed with rock and psychedelic
blues bands, releasing several EPs
along the way. Last year, her cover
of the Calling’s “Wherever You Will
Go” nearly topped the U.K. charts
after being featured in a Twinings
tea commercial, thrusting her into
Soraia’s playing is sophisticated,
seductive, and a tad quirky, providing the perfect complement to
her catchy compositions and alluring vocals.
What role does guitar play in your
I spend most of my time playing
guitar, often as a sort of meditation,
and most of the songs I write are
based on something complicated
that I’m trying to master, such as
a new technique or chord progression. For
example, on “Daffodils,” my right hand is
doing this strange percussive thing while
I’m hammering on and pulling off with
my left hand, and “When We Were Five”
was all about playing in 5/4 to begin with.
You do lots of interesting things with your
right hand. Describe a few of them.
I use all of my ﬁngers when ﬁngerpicking, and I sometimes add flamenco-like
percussive ﬂourishes. I also tap notes and
chords in different ways, and change how
and where I pick to vary the tone color.
Odd ﬁngerpicking patterns are also part
of what I do, sometimes combined with
weird tunings such as G, A, B, F#, D, D
[low to high]. Tunings like that force you
to get away from standard chords and harmony and ﬁnd new forms of expression. I
also play with a pick, but not when playing my own music.
You employ some jazz harmony and phrasing. Where does
I’m self-taught, and have never taken a lesson, but I use my ears and
learned some things from friends.
You collect guitars. Which ones do
you play most often?
My main guitar is a 1973 Raver.
It’s a Japanese copy of an ES-335 that
belonged to my dad, with custom
P-90 pickups and other electronics
and hardware that I installed. The
front pickup has really thick windings, but there’s a coil-tap switch
built into one volume pot that thins
the sound out a bit. That guitar is
strung with a .010-gauge set, and
I’ve never changed them because I
quite like dead strings. My second
favorite guitar is a Danelectro baritone, and I also have another Dano
that’s in Nashville tuning.
How about amps and pedals?
I went D.I. for years, but recently
I got a 1974 Fender combo with one
speaker and a fantastic sounding
reverb. My only pedals are an Electro-Harmonix POG2 to get organ
sounds, and an inexpensive Artek
What’s next, a double-disc prog record with a
Oh my god! One day I’ll do
that. Actually, I’m planning to use
more guitars and effects on the
next record, and I’m thinking of
holding a séance to get Joe Meek to pro-
duce it! —BC
| Jimmy Bowskill|
Canadian guitar guru Jeff Healey passed in
2008, and in addition to leaving an amazing
discography for future generations of guitarists to discover, he also left us
“They wouldn’t let an 11-year-old inside
his club, so I started busking on the side-
walk outside,” recalls Bowskill. “Jeff heard
about me, invited me in to play, and I did
pretty well. I got a lot of gigs and exposure
just from that one night.” Healey’s bassist, Alec Fraser,
provided studio time
Bowskill, and eventually the precocious
youngster inked a deal with Ruf Records.
Now 21, the Torontonian recently delivered his ﬁfth CD, a lively
titled Back Number. Bowskill may have been
Healy’s discovery, but his rough-and-tumble, Les
are more akin to another of his heroes—
Paul Kossoff. Back Number sounds as if it
was cut directly off a studio ﬂoor in 1970—
lean, mean, and alive.
What do you dig most about Paul Kossoff’s
He’s heavy. Koss is all about copping a
tone, and playing the tone and the groove.
That’s how you get a solo across. If you play
a lot of notes things get blurred. His tone
on “Trouble on Double Time” from Free’s
second record is unbelievable.
What are your favorite guitars and
My favorite guitar is a ’68 Gibson Les
Paul Custom. It’s a three-pickup model, but
I disconnected the middle pickup. I generally tune down a whole-step because I
the fat, rumbling sound. I play “Down the
Road” on the 12-string neck of a Gibson
EDS-1275 doubleneck. I love how the six
open strings on the other neck ring sym-
pathetically. For slide, I use a cowhide-
covered Fender Esquire with a single
humbucker that my dad and I put together
out of parts. For “Broke Down Engine,” I
tune it to a version of open C that’s like a
standard ﬁrst-position E chord tuned down
two whole-steps—C, G, C, E, G, C, low to
high. I ran it through a ’60s Bogen P.A. and
a ’70s Marshall 4x12 loaded with Celestion
G12H 30 speakers in the studio.
Is that your main rig?
No. I simultaneously use an s2 Ampli-
ﬁcation clone of a Marshall 18-watt head
into a 1x12 cabinet from a ’50s Gibson
GA-30 loaded with a modern Celestion
greenback, and a 50-watt ’67 Marshall plexi
head through my Marshall 4x12 cab. The
s2 rig provides presence and a nice mid-
range, and the plexi provides the weight
and punch. I use a ’70s MXR Dyna Comp
as a boost on solos.
Are you planning to tour the United States
anytime in the near future?
I’ll be down there next year with Ruf’s
Blues Caravan tour. It starts in January in
Europe and will probably hit the United
States sometime in the spring. —JL
Hailing from Istanbul, Turkey, Bilal Kara-
man has forged a highly eclectic guitar
style that bridges East and West in much
the same manner as the city that he calls
home. “Istanbul is both Asian and European, and being exposed to both
is an advantage of living here,” he says.
“For example, I have been inﬂuenced very
much by Turkish and other Middle Eastern
instruments—particularly stringed instruments such as the oud and
baglama—and I try to get the feeling of those
instruments on guitar. At the same time, I
have been exposed to Western music, and I also studied jazz with American
at Istanbul Bilgi University.”
Karaman plays both electric and acoustic guitar, and occasionally
of both. “I have two fretless guitars, but I
rarely play them,” he says. “Erkan Ogur
(featured in the March 2008 issue of GP)
has been a big inﬂuence on my musicality,
and he is a master of fretless guitar, so I
wanted to play fretless, too, but I haven’t
really concentrated on it the same way I
have fretted guitar.”
The guitarist’s extraordinarily fluid,
inventive, and emotionally compelling playing is showcased on
also features a cosmopolitan blend of brilliant accompanists—but his
focus entirely on guitar. “It will be a quiet
album, without drums or percussion, and
I’ll use different types of guitars to create
all of the colors,” says Karaman. “The
pieces will embody my musical approach—
my chord voicings, my arrangements, and
What guitars, amps, and effects do you
My primary electric is a semi-hollow
instrument handcrafted by Murat Sezen,
but I also play Yamaha SA2200 and Silent
guitars, one of which is fretless. My acoustics are all handmade. I play the
through a Roland JC-120. I have a hand-
made overdrive pedal, a Line 6 DL4 delay,
and a Boss RC-20 Loop Station.
What strings do you use on your
I prefer heavier strings. They are gauged
.013, .016, .024, .028, .038, and .049.
Do you play in standard tuning?
Most of the time, though I sometimes
tune my sixth string down to D, and there
are a couple of other tunings I have used
Do you ever incorporate traditional Turkish
music into your compositions?
Not directly. Also, much of that music
is based on makams, which are similar to
scales but involve microtones, which you
can’t play on a standard guitar. Some-
times, however, I’ll play whichever Western
scale comes closest to a particular makam,
and bend the strings to approximate the sound—but only when I want to
like an oud or a baglama.
Describe your creative process.
It varies. Sometimes I’ll just have a
particular feeling and a style in mind. For
example, on “Ben Sende,” I began with
just the key and the time signature, which
is 5/8. Then I heard a traditional Turkish
folk melody in my head, and I decided to
re-harmonize it, and ultimately to compose
a new piece based on it. Another example
would be the song “Happy Moments,” which
has no melody. I played a few chords that
sounded happy, and then, when I played
them as chord arpeggios, they outlined a
melody. On other occasions I might start
with a jazz standard and re-harmonize it
in a modern way, then replace the melody
with another melody, resulting in an entirely
new composition. —BC
“A guitar player should aspire to be a virtuoso,” says
Scott Carstairs, who
heads the San Francisco Bay Area-based
and politically charged band Fallujah,
armed with an Ibanez RG7321 7-string
loaded with DiMarzio Blaze humbuckers. “It takes the whole package:
technique, tasteful notes and phrases, and
a solid tone.”
Carstairs possesses that package at
an age when most are happy to have had
their ﬁrst legal beer. He and gravel-voiced
screamer Alex Hofmann started formulating their progressive metal in 2006,
and along with second guitarist Rob Mar-
amonte, Carstairs threw down the guitar
gauntlet at the close of 2011 on Fallujah’s,
Harvest Wombs [Unique Leader]. It’s brutal
as hell and rhythmically complex, causing Carstair’s clear, legato
soaring, liquid shred lines to stand out in
“I focus on melody foremost, and then
phrasing,” explains Carstairs. “Music should
sound like one ﬂuid piece, not chopped up
What inspired you to become proficient, and
when was the turning point?
The insanely clean riffs and melodic
solos in Necrophagist’s tunes inspired me
to pursue technical proﬁciency. The turning point came when I began taking
with Christian Müenzer of Necrophagist
and Obscura. We analyzed Necrophagist’s
“Epitaph,” and Obscura’s
Studying with the original architect gave me
a great understanding of how such melodic
runs were created. We also analyzed techniques used by players such as Greg
Allan Holdsworth, Guthrie Govan, Scott
Henderson, Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani.
Describe your right-hand technique.
I use a small jazz pick with a closed
ﬁst because it facilitates a very controlled
motion, making it a lot easier to execute
fast, articulate runs. I use sweep picking,
but I ﬁnd that tapping is the easiest way
to play extended arpeggios. I tend to tap
with my middle and ring fingers to add
scale degrees such as 5ths and major 2nds
to whatever lick I’m playing.
What is unique about your style and what
you’re bringing to progressive metal via Fallujah?
The way I enhance progressions by playing chord extensions and voicing triads
phrased in odd groupings of ﬁve and seven
over them is unique. Trying new ideas in
progressive metal with a background in
jazz-fusion brings something a bit different to the table.
How did the epic instrumental “The Flame
Surreal” come about?
We wanted to have an instrumental that
was a little more prog than the rest of the
album, so we incorporated alternate time
signatures, polyrhythms, and a lot of chromatics to give it that jazz-fusion
created some progressions that left a lot of
leeway for note choices and then began constructing the phrasing from there.
What are your aspirations and goals?
I want complete control over the notes
I choose to play and how I play them. As
simple as that sounds, it’s a long journey. —JL