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

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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.

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Dale Turner

A singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/film composer, Musician's Institute instructor, and author of 50+ transcription/instructional books, Dale Turner is also Guitar World's "Hole Notes"/"Acoustic Nation" columnist, and the former West Coast Editor of Guitar One magazine. Some of Dale’s old, weird, rare, and/or exotic instruments are featured in his score for WEEDS, the first animated short completed within the Filmmakers Co-op at Disney Feature Animation. His most recent CD, Mannerisms Magnified, was praised by Guitar Player magazine for its "Smart pop tunes that are crammed with interesting guitar parts and tones ... Like what the Beach Boys might do if they were on an acid trip that was on the verge of getting out of control. Yeah!"