Back in early 2011, I had the opportunity to participate in the $100 Guitar Project, initiated by Nick Didkovsky and Chuck O'Meara. As they put it:
"On Oct 20, 2010, Nick Didkovsky and Chuck O'Meara (that's us) bought a $100 electric guitar from Elderly Instruments. We did not know what it sounded like or if it even worked, but we were charmed by its no-name vibe and single bridge pickup that looks like an old radio."
Soon, dozens of guitarists had signed on to spend a week with the instrument, composing and recording a piece of music using it (see the list of 65 guitarists below).
Recently, a 2-CD compilation was assembled containing performances from the 65 artists. It will soon be released on Bridge Records. Info. here.
Advance orders may be placed on Amazonhere.
All of the artists have donated their royalties to CARE to support the fight against global poverty.
National Public Radio (NPR) aired a story on December 4, 2012. Listen here.
I got the $100 Guitar from Hillary Fielding on March 30 and passed it to Ava Mendoza on April 5.
When I received the guitar it was tuned D, A, D, A, A, D (low to high), and I just left it in that tuning. As soon as I began playing it, melodic ideas on the combined 2nd and 3rd strings, working against a drone on the other strings, just popped out of the thing! (I got the impression that there are a lot of songs in that guitar.) When recording, I ran it through a Moogerfooger MuRF pedal to create a rhythmic pattern, and an Eventide TimeFactor set on Analog Delay to create some additional motion and ambiance. From there, the signal went into a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx Ultra on a clean setting for the basic tracks and overdubs, and a complex patch utilizing delays, harmonizers, and reverb for additional overdubs. I played using my thumb and the occasional finger—a technique I have never used before. I also used a Chinese erhu bow for orchestral string sounds and Masley bowhammers to slap out some low notes. The backwards melodies were played in real time using the Reverse patch on the TimeFactor.
I called the piece “Arab Spring.” Here’s a video
The 65 guitarists are: Andy Aledort, Greg Anderson, Ron Anderson, Joe Berger, Michael Bierylo, Biota, Blancah, Joe Bouchard, Bill Brovold, Phil Burk, Juan Parra Cancino, Marco Cappelli, Marty Carlson, Kobe Van Cauwenberghe, Rhys Chatham, Barry Cleveland, Nels Cline, Amy Denio, Jon Diaz, Nick Didkovsky, Thomas Dimuzio, Bruce Eisenbeil, Karl Evangelista, Janet Feder, Caroline Feldmeier, Ken Field, Fred Frith, Wiek Hijmans, Mark Hitt, Henry Kaiser, Raymond T. Kallas, Mike Keneally, Jesse Krakow, Jesse Kranzler, Mike Lerner, Taylor Levine, David Linaburg, Josh Lopes, Steve MacLean, Tom Marsan, Colin Marston, Ava Mendoza, Julia A. Miller, Roger C. Miller, James Moore, Chris Murphy, Chuck O'Meara, Marco Oppedisano, Kai Niggeman, Han-earl Park, Shawn Persinger is Prester John, Larry Polansky, Del Rey, Teisco Del Rey with Bob Spalding, Keith Rowe, Elliott Sharp, John Shiurba, Alex Skolnick, Mark Solomon, David Starobin, Mark Stewart, Hans Tammen, Matt Wilson, Bruce Zeines, and Zwerm.
More information may be found at 100dollarguitar.com.