Nori Bucci

In the magazine’s August 1993 issue, the inquiring minds at Guitar Player wanted to know if “shred was dead?” The cover story ignited a furious debate in a guitar community that was quite sensitive during the ’90s transition period of grunge and anti-technique. Fourteen years later, New York native Nori Bucci is one of a growing number of young musicians proving that shred is alive and thriving. Seamlessly navigating both insanely fast cascades and emotive single-note melodies, Bucci won second place at the 2002 North American Rock Guitar Competition, and then took Best Rock Guitarist honors at the Buffalo Music Awards in 2003. She currently plays in the band Gamalon, and has released two independent solo albums—Speak My Soul and Tales of a Dream—that were recorded in her home studio.

What’s your current electric setup?
My main electric is a ’96 Fender Strat-ocaster loaded with Fender Noiseless pickups. It’s really comfortable, and it has a thin, fast neck. I love the sound of single-coils. They’re so clean and punchy. My amp rig is a solid-state Fender Jazzmaster Ultralight head and 1x12 cabinet. I was strictly a tube-amp lover until I tried this little amp. It has a beautiful clean sound, a tight distortion tone, it’s loud, and it weighs less than 17 lbs—which is great for musicians like me who carry their own gear. For effects, I have a Boss GT-6 and a DigiTech JamMan. My strings are D’Addario, and I use Fender 358 Jazz picks. For acoustic work, I mainly play a Martin 00C-MAE strung with Ernie Ball Bronze Silk & Steel strings. I also have a Yamaha Magicstomp, and a Fender Acoustasonic Junior amp. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different tunings on my Line 6 Variax Acoustic 700. That’s great fun. Also, Shubb capos are great for changing your sound.

What tools do you employ for songwriting?
I have a Korg Triton LE workstation that I use for composing drum and keyboard parts. To record, I use Steinberg Cubase SX3. When I record at home, I find that I get a lot more accomplished, because there’s less pressure and I’m free to experiment. I like to use sequencers in the initial songwriting stages, so I can experiment with various sounds on different parts. I’ll also record a part on both electric and acoustic to see which sounds the best, and that can set me in a certain direction, as well. Sometimes, just by noodling on the guitar, I’ll come up with a great idea.

What do you think made you an award-winning player?
I just believe you should feel every note you play—whether it’s a fast run, a melody, or a rhythmic groove. On the technical side, I practice chords and scales every day, and I’m still learning things from very basic exercises. There’s always more to learn.