Vibrato, Reverb, Tone
Bill Frisell is well known for being a leading jazz guitarist but his music is infinitely wider in scope and touches on an eclectic range of genres from noise through to progressive Americana, folk and country. Whilst Frisell is reknowned for using an array of effects his sound remains instantaneously recognisable: a classy ensemble of wide and slow vibrato, cool, crystalline reverb and rich, wholesome guitar tones that he ingeniously uses to accent his eclectic music. His music is simultaneously unusual and entertaining, luminescent and glacial as well as feeling rootsy and earthy with an American folk flavour.
Whilst his guitar may sound hauntingly emotional, often tinged with a sweet melancholy, the whole music is an ultimately rewarding experience enhanced by his trademark use of melodic hooks, angular motifs and attention to sonic detail – evocative and rich beyond the limits of any one genre. What he brings to Jazz is an undeniable sense of melody and listenability. His approach to Americana is nothing less than revelatory – he must be one of it’s most exciting instrumental artists – and considered so much more than just a “guitarist”
Bill’s instrumental music doesn’t succumb to the one-size fits all monotony of some – he creates vivid vignettes of character and developing musical narrative that often change colour in surprising and unusal ways. His performance proves that a “less is more” approach to playing the guitar doesn’t have to be lacklustre or unemotional. Quite simply Bill’s music is unusual and beautiful.
Many of Bill’s recordings illustrate an approach to Americana that is superlative in blending sounds and feelings of vintage authenticity with the modern sensibilities of quality production and sound. It’s refreshing to hear as much attention paid to arrangement as sonics and to listen to music that’s cerebral and innovative without descending into gratuitous self indulgence. If you’re interested in great sounding guitar then Frisell’s music has everything you need.
Bill Frisell Guitar Effects Pedals
If you are interested in what kind of effects pedals Bill uses in his pedal board then click here to watch a video where Bill demonstrates some of his pedals including:
Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2
Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer (stock)
TC Electronics Hall of Fame
Line 6 DL4
Wright Sounds Fuzz Stang
Electro-Harmonix Micro POG
Way Huge Electronics Ring Worm
Guitars and Amplifiers
Bill favours Klein guitars – one with a chambered spruce body and four pickups: a Seymour Duncan JB at the bridge, a Bartolini 5J floating pickup in the middle position, a telecaster at the neck and a piezo in the bridge. He also uses guitars built by Steve Andersen and Joseph Yanuziello. Among his guitar amps are a Fender Princeton Reverb, a Mesa Boogie Subway Blues, a Gibson GA-50 and a Mesa Boogie Blue Angel. For reverb he uses a Lexicon MPX-100 – a great sounding and very affordable unit from the leaders in reverb since 1971 and a TC Electronic compressor.
Live Band & Ginger Baker Trio
Here is Bill Frisell’s outstanding band playing “Outlaws” live plus Bill playing guitar in the Ginger Baker Trio with Charlie Hayden on stand up double bass. After Cream exploded in 1968 Ginger baker went on to play with a formidable and eclectic range of musicians from Fela Kuti, Andy Summers, Hawkwind and PIL through to BBM, Masters of Reality and Paul McCartney / Wings.