Now Hear This: Adrian Galysh

Adrian Galysh on new album, Tone Poet

ALL MUSIC IS MADE UP OF MELODY, SO YOUR WORK WILL EITHER HAVEan interesting melody, or it won’t,” cautions Adrian Galysh. “Music is a language, and your goal should be to expand your vocabulary as much as you can.”

The Los Angeles-based Galysh has to call upon his melodic powers time and time again as a session player, a sideman to Uli Jon Roth, and as a solo artist who has just self-released, Tone Poet. Given his job description, Galysh is surprisingly stingy with his main rig, which includes an iGuitar Workshop/Brian Moore Adrian Galysh C90F Signature (strung with SIT Power Steel Stainless strings), a Marshall JMP1 tube preamp, an old Alesis Quadraverb, and a Peavey Classic 50/50 tube power amp running into a Marshall Vintage 1960 4x12 cab. Hanging on the floor are a Morley Bad Horsie Wah, a Seymour Duncan Dirty Deed Distortion, and an MXR Phase 90.

“People raise an eyebrow when they see the rig—and again when they hear how good it sounds,” he says.

Galysh typically crafts his instrumentals by trying, as he says, to “put my fingers on the fretboard in a way I haven’t before,” and auditioning tones for how they sit in the mix with the other instruments.

“You need a healthy amount of midrange for lead tones, and not as much for rhythm guitars so that the sound isn’t fighting vocals and other key parts for sonic space,” he says. “And less is more with distortion. You actually get a fuller, heavier tone if the distortion is at 60 or 75 percent.”

When conceptualizing guitar instrumentals, Galysh sees that some players may be limiting their audience by willfully going obscure.

“I like to challenge myself when I write, but I never do it at the expense of the composition,” he says. “Some artists may write instrumental music that is complicated for the sake of sounding complicated. Don’t make the mistake of not writing a guitar instrumental as if it were a vocal song.”