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Acoustic Nation with Dale Turner: The Influential Percussive Playing Style of Preston Reed

These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the Holiday 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.

Preston Reed’s career as a solo acoustic performer began much in the mold of his earliest influences: Jorma Kaukonen, Leo Kottke and John Fahey.

But five solo albums later, and after witnessing the “two-handed” approaches of Edward Van Halen, Stanley Jordan, Jeff Healey and Michael Hedges—combined with his desire to add drum and percussion sounds to the mix—Reed began a musical transformation. By the release of Instrument Landing in 1989, he had fully reinvented himself.

The Preston Reed we know today—the tapping, slapping, unorthodox tuning, guitar-body-beating phenom and profound influence on contemporary pickers like Andy McKee and Kaki King—is now a living acoustic-guitar legend. Let’s crack our knuckles on a mix of progressive passages from this monster axman.

The calm before the percussive storm, “False Spring” initially appeared on Reed’s third album, 1982’s Don’t Be a Stranger, before being re-recorded two years later on Playing by Ear.