The Acous­tic Bound­ary-Smasher

Australian Guitar - - Feature -


Michael Hedges stud­ied clas­si­cal gui­tar and com­po­si­tion be­fore turn­ing his pas­sion to the steel-string acous­tic, ex­plor­ing al­ter­nate tun­ings, open-string tech­niques, slap har­mon­ics, per­cus­sive thumps and the ex­plo­ration of si­lence as a com­po­si­tional el­e­ment.

His first al­bums for the new-age Wind­ham Hill la­bel, Break­fastInTheField (1981) and Aerial

Bound­aries (1984), had Hedges un­fairly pegged as a new-age artist. But he con­sis­tently pushed against such cat­e­gori­sa­tions.


Pop­u­lar­is­ing the use of al­tered tun­ings, harp-style runs and gui­tar-as-per­cus­sion. To­day, an en­tire move­ment of gui­tarists has taken what Hedges be­gan and ex­panded upon it. But of course, Hedges is the orig­i­nal and the best.

WHERE TO START All Along The Watch­tower

A great ex­am­ple of how Hedges per­son­alised this Dy­lan-via-Hen­drix clas­sic.

BOSS LEVEL Raga­muf­fin

It’s not just the com­plex­ity of the melody, rhythm and har­mon­ics. It’s in the dy­namic range that Hedges ex­plores from one sec­tion to the next, and within the pick­ing strength of in­di­vid­ual notes in spe­cific chords.

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