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Vital Information (09-15-10)

In Rich, Vital Information on September 15, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , ,

Dave Knudson

Dave Knudson is to the guitar what the computer is to your average office worker.  Just as you can simultaneously check your fantasy football team, listen to music and fill out a spreadsheet on your PC, Dave Knudson can (and usually does) tap out a spacey, mind-bending melody while playing a bass-y accompaniment that both accentuates and gives an anchor to the melody…and then adds another melody.  His technique is attempted by many other guitarists, but with the possible exception of Dave Davison from Maps and Atlases, every attempt I’ve heard pales in comparison to the sonic landscape that Dave lays out for Minus The Bear.  I would even go as far as to say he’s a poor man’s Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead).

In case this is the first you’ve heard of Dave Knudson, he was a beast of a guitarist in the seminal mathcore band Botch and has since been blowing minds with your favorite band’s favorite band…Minus The Bear.  His use of the sampling effect on the Line 6 DL-4 Delay Pedal is the sort of stuff of gear head legend is made of and for this week’s Vital Information post I figured I’d call attention to it

At any given point in a song, it will seem as though Dave is playing three maybe four distinct guitar parts.  The secret to this is a combination of two hand finger-tapping (a la Don Caballero) and a virtuosic  command of the delay pedal.  He will begin tapping the melodic part and then generally add in the bass accompaniment.  Once he has the first riff in tow, he samples it on his DL-4 and starts working on the next one.  This, and the fact that their are four other ridiculous musicians playing intricate parts is what gives the band their lush arrangements.  What I find really interesting about Dave’s sound for MTB is that he doesn’t use a whole lot of crazy effects, it’s usually a pretty clean tone with just the Delay to get that tasty slap back.  It’s a great example of maximizing relatively simple playing parts.

On the last couple of albums Knudson has gotten heavier into sampling, but it’s really the two-handed tapping parts that I think put him over the top as an innovator in terms of guitar style.  He’s personally one of my top 3 favorite guitar players, and along with Teppei from Thrice is the face of a generation of punk influenced guitarists that actually care about the technique behind playing their instrument and not just the wattage and power that they can unleash through it.

As I continue to research Dave Knudson, I will be posting more on his sound and the action behind it.  In the meantime if you want to get  a look at the gear he uses, it’s listed in his wikipedia entry, and there are numerous forums around the internet dedicated to it as well.

-Rich

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