It’s easy to describe Ben Lacy as a “one-man band,” because he has a stunning talent for seamlessly weaving guitar, bass, drums, percussion, keyboards, and vocal melodies into crowd-pleasing solo pieces. But the bigger story is that Lacy is one of the funkiest guitar players ever to pick up the instrument. Just listen to him perform solo renditions of “Kashmir,” “Fame,” “Get Lucky,” or “Sir Duke” on the podcast. There are no loopers, octave pedals, or extended-range guitars involved in Lacy’s impressive “stacks of parts” (as he calls them)—just a Brian Moore i2 6-string, a set of .010-.046 Elixir Nanoweb strings, an Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano (for emulating an ambient, John Bonham-style “snare drum”), and a bass amp (for maximum “wumph”).
Photo Credit: E Still
“For a snare sound, I typically pop the D string while muting it with my fretting hand, like bass players do,” says the Kentucky-based guitarist. “The word ‘percussion’ in conjunction with guitar is kind of novel. I aim to take things further. I want to be an actual drummer on guitar.”
But, before Lacy found his groove focus, he went through a head-banging phase.
“In that glorious metal year of 1986, I was right in the middle of it, playing metal,” he says. “But soon, I was like, ‘I can play fast, so what’s next?’ I discovered Aquarium Rescue Unit, and then I got into this deep James Brown/Stevie Wonder thing. I quickly realized that it’s the groove that moves me the most. What’s nice about playing James Brown tunes is that you often have five or six things going on at once that don’t interfere with each other. That’s a cool thing when you’re arranging that stuff for one guitar.”
Hear Lacy’s complete interview—and jams with host Jude Gold—by streaming GP’s No Guitar Is Safe on iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.