Guitarist and luthier Felix Martin has released his latest single, Thundertap, which sees both him and bassist Joan Torres unleashing a cascade of tapping on double-neck builds.
In the video, Martin is seen wrestling with his headless 12-string guitar, whilst Torres maneuvers across two five-string bass necks, making for a near catastrophic string count. Both instruments are FM Guitar builds, a firm started and spearheaded by Felix Martin himself.
The firm is the result of two decades of dedication from Martin to the art of tapping. As such, his predominantly twin-necked creations are designed for players looking to expand the horizons of their tapping game, without neglecting their need to serve as well-performing guitars all around.
It makes the aptly titled instrumental maelstrom of Thundertap the perfect FM showcase. The song begins with a neoclassical storm of notes, with the two musicians dancing across their twin necks beneath a simple, syncopation-heavy drum beat.
The monsoon soon gives way to a gentler, jazz-soaked passage that finds a break in the waves. Eventually, it returns for a reprise of the track’s earlier chaos, with the pair’s four hands pinballing across their quartet of fretboards.
Unsurprisingly, no picks were harmed in the making of the tracks.
The song is taken from Martin’s forthcoming solo album, The Gathering, a record in which each track is written and inspired by an anime character he’s created. It follows the “borderline baroque vibes” of Gatherpiece, which was selected as one of Guitar World's tracks of the week when it dropped in December.
The Gathering features 12- and 16-string guitars – alongside Torres’ dizzying 10-string bass work – across a record that takes in classical, anime, and video game-styled music with progressive metal.
The album is also the first release to feature FM guitars and basses working in unison. It’s Martin's fourth LP in all and follows on from a slew of releases in recent years which saw him put his spin on music from the Zelda video game series.
FM guitars stand out, not just via their slightly intimidating visages, but also through the unification of their two necks. Unlike the classic twin necks played by the likes of Jimmy Page, FM guitars feature necks that are bound together, with a design set to encourage a tapping style that combines two guitars into one seamless instrument.
Martin’s guitar approach builds on traditional classical guitar, where chords and melody are played in unison. However, he pushes the twin neck experience to its limits, with five and eight-finger chords a common practice in his music.
Says Martin: “For this album, I wanted to write strong and well-defined melodies, mostly using my chord soloing technique, while keeping my sound as unique as possible using my tapping techniques.
“I'd say 99 percent of this album was played with the dual-hand tapping technique. At this point in my career, I usually don't call it ‘tapping’ anymore. It's just the way I play nowadays, and there are so many techniques inside the tapping world that it's impossible just to call it tapping.”
Martin has always ensured his guitars remain affordable, too, saying, “I believe money shouldn't be an issue to play music.”
The base price for a 12-string is $1,800, whilst 14-string builds – which are available as seven and seven or eight and-six splits – start at $1,900.
All FM guitars comprise FM signature, multi-piece necks with carbon fiber rods, and feature Hipshot/FM tuners. Players can choose between basswood, alder, and mahogany for the body wood whilst all fretboards are ebony.
The custom-built guitars come with a three to nine-month lead time, with Martin making most of the guitars himself, alongside a small team.
The Gathering releases on March 1.
For more information on the guitarist's music, head to Felix Martin.