Skip to main content

Standards’ Marcos Mena blends cross-handed tapping and percussive styles into the fruitiest guitar playthrough you’ll see all year

If two-piece math-rockers Standards are known for anything, it’s first and foremost for loving fruit more than any other band on the planet. Oh, and there’s also guitarist Marcos Mena’s hugely technical yet hook-heavy tap-based playing style, which you can see up close in this jaw-dropping playthrough of new single Special Berry (opens in new tab).

In the video, Mena dons his signature White Whale (opens in new tab) electric guitar surrounded by - what else? - plush fruit, and demonstrates his pick-less technique, which includes cross-handed tapping, a formidable lexicon of extended chords and a healthy dose of slap ’n’ pop.

“Being the only melodic voice in my band, I try to use my guitar as if I were conducting an orchestra,” says Mena.

“I want to make sure I can control all the aspects of melody and harmony, so my playing looks a little funny. I’m usually crossing my hands tapping with one hand and strumming with the other - I do crazy things to make multiple voices sound independent on the guitar!

Very few people will care about how you're playing guitar, but everybody cares about the sound that comes out of it

Marcos Mena

“However, I personally think that it's never about how many techniques one can use but rather how the song sounds to the listener. Very few people will care about how you're playing guitar, but everybody cares about the sound that comes out of it.”

To that end, Mena runs a cunning signal chain through his Morgan MVP23 in order to fool the audience into thinking he has a few fruity pals up on stage.

“To further my total guitar sounds, I split my guitar signal in two. One signal goes through my guitar pedals and into a guitar amp and the second goes into a bass rig with two polyphonic pitch shifters controlling the low end (the OPFXS Dig Deep and the Boss OC-3).

“When I play with both signals, it really sounds like a full band and fools a lot of first-time listeners!"

If you dig the taste of Special Berry, you can sign up to preorder Standards’ debut album, Fruit Island, over at Topshelf Records (opens in new tab).

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Michael Astley-Brown
Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar (opens in new tab), Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as the best part of 20 years performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe (opens in new tab).