Editor Boy's Big Eight

GP is embracing D-I-Y musicians by spotlighting thrilling (or, at least, interesting) guitar talents in this column and at guitarplayer.com. If you think you’ve got something going that our readers should hear, go to myspace.com/michaelmolenda and invite me to your music space. I’ll check out your tracks and determine whether you get coverage in these pages or on the Web. And if you really blow our minds, the editors may decide to do an article on you. Extra-Special Bonus! If you end up in the print column, Ernie Ball will reward you with an EB t-shirt, customized EB picks with your name on them, and a box of the Slinky strings of your choice. In addition, your two best mp3s will be promoted on the company’s fabulous EB Radio (ernieball.com).
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Bob Hoppa
Muskegon, Michigan

This is quite simply a damn fine song with great vocals, a beautiful arrangement, and extremely vibey acoustic-guitar parts. Hoppa handled all the instruments, and the groovy bit for guitar geeks is a soaring, ’70s-style melodic solo that drops in at 2:45. The subtly effected tone is evocative, and Hoppa’s bends and harmony lines are moments of bliss.

Silver Spring, Maryland
“Drowning on Dry Land”

Gary Brown’s songwriting and guitar chops are Zip-Locked to the Hendrix school, and his lack of a truly individual approach almost tanked his appearance here. Luckily, Brown is massively funky, and uncorks truckloads of energy. And the wah solo at 1:28—as well as the maniacal outro—totally kick ass.

DJ’s Guitar Shop
Cincinnati, Ohio
“That Latin Thing”

DJ illustrates what’s cool and not so cool about a fair share of MySpace tracks. “That Latin Thing” begins with stunning Earl Slick-style feedback lines, and then it turns into a less-than-well-constructed guitar jam over a repetitious groove. A little more actual composition, and DJ’s shop would rule.

Jason Kelly
Wheeling, West Virginia
“Far Apart”

Kelly has a fabulous sense of melody, but he needs a drummer who can play with his changes (rather than a static drum machine track), a way better rhythm tone (it sounds direct and spitty), and some more recording/production chops (weird low-end noises and outright clams appear too often).

Paul Clark
London, England
“Satan Salad”

Clark mixes ’70s-style riffage, melodic metal and shred solo passages, powerful single-note lines, and cute little noises into a relentless, undulating barrage of guitar madness. Although Clark’s tone is pretty saturated, his formidable technique presents every note loud and clear, and some of his phrases are nicely nuanced amidst the onslaught.

Paul Deslauriers
Montreal, Quebec

Deslauriers really knows how to grab your ears from note one. On “Commander,” his slippery, wild-ass riffs are underpinned with “yeahs” that drive the intro into your head like a velvet spike. Yum. He’s also a gifted songwriter and vocalist, and his solos—especially the slide lines—are short, but thrilling.

Lions in the Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
“Mine Ain’t Yours”

It’s no secret that many current bands claiming to evoke ’70s rock are usually far too studied to nail the messy glee of the originators. The Lions, however, absolutely explode with a Stones/Small Faces onslaught that drips with jubilant passion, as well as very loud guitars played with giddy abandon.

Marco Villarreal
Merrillville, Indiana
“Manha De Carnaval”

Villarreal’s tender, supple, fleet, and precise fingering adds some sedate magic to this classic melody. It’s obvious from his cagey phrasing that he really thinks before attacking the strings, deciding whether a pluck, sting, or wooly tone is the best choice for each line. It’s all very beguiling and beautiful.