4 On 6's
Read the innermost thoughts of four of the land's most closely followed guitarists — Stephen Fellows (Comsat Angels), Dave Gregory (XTC), Kelly Johnson (Girlschool) and Andy Taylor (Duran Duran).
Reports of the death of the electric guitar are exaggerated. Not so long ago it seemed that anyone capable of fingering a vaguely triad-based chord on a keyboard was busily throwing the old axe on to the fire, only briefly interrupting their keyboard cavorting to stand back as the pickups exploded.
And yet the guitar refuses to go away. Good thing too — you'd hardly expect The Basis For Rock Music As We Know It simply to curl up and stick its legs in the air, now would you?
Arguable point one: The guitar is still easier for the novice to pick up and get an instantly agreeable noise from, Casio notwithstanding.
Arguable point two: The guitar is more capable of providing abrasive rhythm textures than keyboards.
Arguable point three: If you buy a guitar, it's highly unlikely that it will be superseded, technologically, by next year, let alone next month.
Just to see what the chaps and chapettes in the field think about the tools of their trade, we rounded up four guitarists from the wonderful world of pop music and put a batch of identical questions to each of them concerning life in and around six vibrating strings.
You'll find the guitarists have been asked the same questions in the same order, so it's easy to see where the opinions differ by deftly flicking the page at the relevant point.
First question concerned their guitar or guitars currently used, and the reasons for choosing these particular instruments.
Secondly, we asked our panel whether they'd thought of using guitar synth at all.
Then we wanted to know if there was anything they thought guitar manufacturers should be doing that they're not.
Fourthly, had they ever fancied having a guitar custom-built?
Next we got a run-down of their amplification set-ups, both for stage and studio work.
"Then the gang give their innermost feelings on the vexed question of effects boxes: to plug in or not to plug in.
In the seventh paragraph you'll find their responses to our request for their favourite studios and engineers.
The penultimate paragraph sees the guitarists searching their memories for their favourite tracks they've recorded, both for guitar sound and/or overall feel.
And finally we asked the hard-pressed strummers to name their favourite guitarists.
An interesting series of answers ensued, as you can see by reading on. And proof, if proof were needed, that the electric guitar is alive and well somewhere between the computer terminal stage left and the Simmons kit stage right.