In the crowded field of internet guitar players, standing out has become increasingly difficult. But for 29-year-old Luca Stricagnoli, getting noticed has meant being true to himself.
The Italian-born acoustic fingerstyle virtuoso picked up the guitar at age 10 and studied classical guitar until age 16, before putting it away entirely to focus on judo. When friends at the gym found out he used to play guitar, they introduced him to modern fingerstyle players on YouTube, with Andy McKee, an artist on CandyRat Records, forever shifting the paradigm.
“[Andy] was hitting the guitar, slapping it, doing tapping and weird things, and I was blown away,” Stricagnoli says. “I finally took a guitar in my hands and started into the field of fingerstyle.”
The next few years found Stricagnoli absorbing everything acoustic on the internet, propelling him to find novel ways to express himself. He sent CandyRat a video of himself playing the theme from The Last of the Mohicans on three guitars with a violin bow – and they published it on their YouTube page.
“It started to go to almost a million views,” Stricagnoli says. “I had only published two videos before and was used to, like, 6,000 views. That was the beginning of everything.”
To date, the video has been viewed more than 13 million times. His innovative, one-man-band style covers of everything from AC/DC’s Thunderstruck to Gorillaz’s Clint Eastwood played on a triple-neck acoustic, showcase another facet of his brilliance as a guitar inventor.
Working with Italian luthier Davide Serracini, creator of a triple-neck acoustic that incorporates a standard, soprano and bass neck, Stricagnoli designed an original tool to further his sonic landscapes on the acoustic.
Called the “Reverse Slide Neck”, it is an inverted, fretless neck with an attached slide that moves along two string binaries. It has three high-pitched strings to play melodies with the slide or fingers and four lower-pitched strings to play bass lines.
The neck can be attached to the guitar magnetically, giving Stricagnoli the ability to simultaneously play four different voices – melody, bass, slide and percussion – as seen in his YouTube cover of the Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
Stricagnoli and Serracini are developing a consumer version they hope will be available this year.
“My dream when I started getting into fingerstyle guitar was to bring my own contribution to the way guitar is played,” Stricagnoli says. “I want to leave a mark for the new wave of guitar players, and maybe one day – 20 or 30 years later – a guitarist says, ‘I play this weird way because of Luca Stricagnoli.’ That would be a life goal.”