I received my Gibson ES 175 as a gift three years ago. I had owned and played many guitars – dozens – up to that time, but I don’t think I ever fell in love so quickly with an instrument.
To my eyes, it recalls generations of the finest jazz musicians to hold a guitar. In my hands, it feels solid, stalwart. Like it has something to say. And to my ears, it produces some of the most remarkably beautiful sounds I have ever heard.
Guitarists are always on the lookout for ways to alter or distort their sound, and a very useful tool for the more aggressive styles of guitar playing is palm muting. As the name suggests, palm muting involves the use of the palm of your picking hand to dampen, or mute, the vibrations of the strings—on purpose!
Palm muting creates a “chugging” sound. While it is mostly associated with heavier styles of music played on electric guitar with lots of distortion, it’s also used in other forms of music, including country and folk. Palm muting is a technique you should know whether you play electric or acoustic guitar.
In the 1950s a young teenage boy from Canada became enamored by the smooth licks of American guitarist Duane Eddy. He went to his local music shop and bought a cheap $18 guitar in an effort to learn Eddy’s style. Nobody knew at the time that this teenager, whose name was Jean Larrivee, would go on to become one of the most influential Canadian guitar makers, whose guitars would be valued at over 150x’s that of his first guitar.
In 2013, a Canadian astronaut named Chris Hadfield floated through the International Space Station strumming the song Space Oddity on his parlor guitar. 25 million views later, the rest of the world was introduced to a guitar that Canada already knew to be great: Larrivée guitars.