There are some things in life that just work. For guitarists, examples of such cosmic norms include putting electric guitar strings on electric guitars, and acoustic guitar strings on acoustic guitars. The pairings just make sense, mostly because of the laws of electrical currents.
However, while most people are happy to abide by these societal conventions, in a new YouTube video, Seiji Igusa – Ibanez-sponsored artist and fingerstyle player extraordinaire – clearly had other ideas.
Rather than opting for the tried-and-trusted guitar/string combo, the Japanese guitarist instead equipped his $80 Tele-style model with nylon classical guitar strings. On paper, it sounds like blasphemy of the highest order, though the outcome is surprisingly successful.
It shouldn’t work – not least because the pickups literally can’t register the nylon strings – but somehow it does. It helps that Igusa’s playing is as smooth as it gets – peep his left-hand glides and his right-hand rolls – but there’s no denying the obscure combo conjures up a particularly pleasant tone.
Igusa looks to be recording his electric guitar unplugged via a single mic, though it’s also possible a piezo-style under-saddle pickup has been installed somewhere under the bridge. Either way, the pairing sounds great.
Nevertheless, it's not a pairing we'd recommend you try. If you watch Igusa's video and feel impelled to strap some nylon strings to your electric, be warned you won't get any sound from your instrument if you attempt to plug it into an amp.
After all, the non-metal strings won't be picked up by your pickups, and so you'll have to resort to other means to record your six-string. And we won't even get into the potential neck warping the difference in string tension could cause over longer periods of time.
This isn’t the first time that Igusa has experimented with his guitars. In fact, his entire YouTube channel is becoming something of a music-style sketch show that explores a whole host of wacky – and admittedly very unlikely – scenarios.
I left my pickups at home, as the name implies, sees Igusa mic up his pickup-less electric for some fingerstyle frolicking, while in The guy who uses the pickup switch wrong he utilizes his Tele’s three-way switch as a percussive device and loops it to riff over.
Other noteworthy skits include When the bass player is late for a gig and When the keyboard player was late for a gig – which involve some awesome Boss Super Octave OC-3 and Electro-Harmonix Key9 action – as well as If you can only use the guitar loop pedal for one second. You can probably guess what that entails.
To check out all of his quick-fire clips, head over to Seiji Igusa’s YouTube channel.