Watch Ichika Nito transform Smoke on the Water into a virtuosic math-rock riff

To be fair to Ichika, he’s basically almost completed the electric guitar. Having already played a ridiculously tasty one-string solo and an impossibly virtuosic one-finger fretboard exhibition, the Japanese wunderkind, for many people, has reached the peak of what’s possible on the six-string. 

As such, there was only one possible step Ichika could take next to show off his mind-bending set of extended skills – that is, of course, a cover of the humble, beginner-friendly four-note riff, Smoke on the Water

Sorry, did we say "beginner friendly"? Excuse us, for there is absolutely nothing entry-level about this rendition at all.

Using his trusty Talman – rather than his recently unveiled Ibanez headless ICHI10 signature guitar – Ichika does what he does best, and transforms the simple hook into a dazzling, we-don’t-even-know-how-many-notes masterclass in the image of his math-rock-meets-neo-soul playing style.

It begins tame enough, with Ichika’s structured stabs paying homage to the track he’s about to totally rip apart and put back together again. A few adventurous arpeggio-style plucks and chord vibratos later, Ichika is layering on the open-string pull-offs, fret-sliding taps and chime-y pinch harmonics.

The video itself is titled How to play Smoke on the Water, so perhaps if we watch it enough times we’ll be setting our own fretboards ablaze with the world’s most dazzling arrangement of Smoke on the Water.

On second thought, we’ll just stick to the four-note version.

Head over to Ichika Nito's YouTube channel to browse his entire collection of jaw-dropping videos.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.