Preston Reed: Let’s Do A Whole Set

Preston Reed Live in Berlin:with Guitar Masters featuring Andy McKee

We’ve featured Preston Reed here before at Acoustic Guitar Videos and it’s pretty obvious why we’re doing another post of him. After you watch this video, check out another Preston Reed vid here.

This particular video was filmed at the Guitar Masters concert at the Astra in Berlin on 15th November 2012. Exceptional playing here, and to be included in this line up with Andy McKee, well, you have to be bringing a lot to the table just to be there.  

The one thing that’s making this guitar technique possible is the light gauge strings.  Just a word of advice- don’t try this on your high action Martin with Medium/Heavy gauge strings in standard tuning… no, don’t even try.

I have to say that the light gauge strings do cause some tuning issues, especially when he starts to bang it a little harder. And you know this guitar has got to have some serious gain stage volume… just check out the feedback buster located in the sound hole.

If your really into the percussive guitar stuff, check out the song Rainmaker at about 15:00

This video is basically a set so, sit back and enjoy…. there’s a few slow melodic tunes he does that are just beautiful.


“Preston Reed has virtually reinvented how the acoustic guitar is played. Reed practices a flamboyant self-invented style, characterized by percussive techniques and simultaneous rhythm and melody lines that dance and ricochet around each other, giving his music a level of excitement that is unparalleled among today’s guitarists.

Playing an array of guitars from acoustic to electric to classical Reed’s vast range of explosively original music will forever change your expectation of a guitarist.

First-time listeners find it impossible to believe that they’re hearing just the one musician, in real time. Reed attacks the entire instrument in a never-ending search for the orchestra he knows is lurking inside. At full tilt, his fingers, thumbs, fists and hands at once suggest a drummer, keyboardist, bassist and several guitarists at work.

The most impressive thing about Reed’s technique, though, is that it doesn’t draw attention to itself. His compositions are far from abstract virtuosic displays; even without lyrics he creates vivid, engrossing scenes. Sometimes the effect is almost onomatopoetic. Reed generates visual stimuli with every tweak of his instrument, thus augmenting his wordless compositions with an aura of the poetic. Each tune is a story in itself with a potent, cinematic atmosphere and an almost tangible thread of communication between Preston Reed and the listener.

Reed’s entry into this guitar odyssey was inauspicious enough, his path thereafter largely self-discovered. A few chords learned from his guitar playing father, a brief, very brief, flirtation with the ukulele, clandestine practice sessions of his favourite Beatles and Stones songs on dad’s guitar …. and then a too-strict classical guitar teacher led to premature retirement.

At 16, however, Reed heard Jefferson Airplane’s rootsy blues offshoot, Hot Tuna. His interest was rekindled big time. Acoustic guitar heroes John Fahey and Leo Kottke were studied, their styles absorbed but not imitated, and at this point things really begin to get interesting because, at 17, Reed, by now precociously proficient, played his first live gig, supporting beat poet Allen Ginsberg at the Smithsonian Institute.” read more



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