This year has truly been the year of the virtual collaboration. For reasons we have no interest in wasting any words on, guitarists from all corners of the globe have used the power the internet to create spell-binding examples six-string escapism over the past 12 months, from Pickupmusic’s 12-strong jam featuring Melanie Faye and Horace Bray to the Cait Devin's all-female shred-a-thon.
Paul Davids, who already has experience of assembling a cohort of players for an Epic Solo Collab, has continued the trend in remarkable fashion, pulling together 10 of the guitar world’s most prolific talents for a decadent 25-minute electric guitar solo session.
Names on Davids’ roster include himself, Ariel Posen, Lari Basilio, Tom Quayle and Mark Lettieri, as well as Tomo Fujita, Matthew Scott, Tom Bukovac, R. J. Ronquillo and Rudy Ayoub.
It’s Posen who takes the lead first, equipping himself with his trusty guitar slide for a selective story-like solo that highlights the bluesman’s melodicism, phrasing and feel. Basilio then follows suit – going above and beyond Davids’ prediction that her effort will be “absolutely awesome” – for an improvisation-flavored exchange.
Ditching her guitar pick for a wholly fingerpicking approach – a technique that she says allows her to have more control over the dynamics – the Ibanez LB1-wielding guitar star makes jaws hit the floor with a cool upper-string slide down the neck, before concocting a delay-tinged, harmony-laden, octave-crammed lead passage.
Funkmeister general Mark Lettieri is up next, toting his PRS Fiore for a, in his own words, “Brian May-meets-Mark Knopfler-meets-Jonathan DuBose” contribution that sounds exactly how you’d expect a Brian May-meets-Mark Knopfler-meets-Jonathan DuBose solo to sound.
An uber-clean tone plays host to the Snarky Puppy guitarist’s philosophical musings, which make room for some string-skipping chord-esque lines, chromatic climbs and falls, and a wealth of box-breaking turnarounds.
Other highlights – and we use the term “highlights” loosely here, as they are all sublime – include Matthew Scott’s overdriven, fourth-position solo, Fujita’s eloquently academic approach that plucks pinpoint bends out of thin air, and Quayle’s arpeggio-driven, legato-filled tour de force.
Like we said, words don’t really do justice to the level of playing on display in the video, so be sure to check it all out in its entirety. You certainly won’t regret it.