Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Masters of Rock Guitar

back in february I was asked to write the preface
for a book called Masters of Rock Guitar,
published by the italian company WhiteStar.
I was already familiar with their work due to a
couple of superb books they have on vintage cars.
"masters" includes a foreword by joe satriani,
an excellent text by ernesto assante, and piles of cool
pictures of 66 guitarists, including yours truly.

the guitarists featured range from people
I actually know (robert fripp, jeff beck, ry cooder)
to guitarists I once knew (frank zappa, les paul)
to guitarists I would love to have known
(george harrison, jimi hendrix,).

I have a hard time imagining a fairly stupid kid
from northern kentucky with no musical training
from a lower class working family who had no
connection whatsoever to the world of music and art
ending up in such illustrious company.
me and eric clapton in the same line up? wow.

my body is covered with marks
from pinching myself all the time.

I just received my copy which I'm very pleased with.
Masters of Rock Guitar is an excellent book albeit
one that may be difficult to find. I know I had a hard
time navigating the italian website: whitestar.it
so I figure most of you will have to read my preface here:

what is it about the electric guitar that so fascinates?

what began as a plank of wood on someone's workbench
has transformed into the icon of rock music and the most
popular instrument on the planet.
the electric guitar has many features to recommend.

portability hard to imagine lugging a baby grand back
to your hotel room each night but you can carry
the guitar in a back pack.

simplicity your basic electric guitar has perhaps two
knobs and one hole to plug into; pretty straightforward.
it's fairly easy to learn. but hard to master.

versatility a player can do just about anything with
the electric guitar these days. when I began playing if
you had a fender amp and a fuzztone you were hot!
today I can play my guitar through my laptop.
there is a billion $$ industry of after market
accouterments. everything from amplifiers
and synthesizers to picks and string winders.

longevity when les or chuck or scotty first appeared
who knew it would go this far? but a funny thing
happened: rock music never went away!

sound it can range from raucous to sweetness.
it can squeal or cry.

volume no question about it, the rock guitar is not shy.
as a communication device it's hard to ignore.
it can blow a horn section right off the stage.

beauty the sensual form of the guitar's body has long
been noted. it's sexy. in the hands of a premier luthier
the wood becomes a modern sculpture. as seductive
as a sports car at a fraction of the price.

it's fashionable true, it can make you a rebel or a
preacher, but I believe the fashionable bit soon wears
off. there has to be something more.

personality? now we're getting closer.
players and manufacturers have done just about
everything to personalize the electric guitar.
we've added strings, pulled out frets, sawed off the
headstock, and cut the body into a myriad of shapes,
sizes, and colors.
there was one guy who even burned his on stage!
anything to express your inner self. and that's it!
the one thing that sets the electric guitar apart
is it's capacity for self-expression.

there is simply nothing like feeling your fingers
bending a note and hearing the guitar sing.
through self-expression comes passion.
through passion comes perseverance.
through perseverance you get to be one
of the players on these pages.

so let's celebrate the electric guitar
ands the players who have made it unique.


  1. Great words from a great guitar player :)

    Congratulations adrian, you have earned every right to be among the best of the best.

  2. Awesome. I have known it all along. Congratulations on such well deserved recognition!

  3. Congratulations Adrian , you SO deserve this, I am ordering one!!
    " Ti amo chitarre Adrian Belew " :)

  4. Might be easier to buy the book from Rizzoli.


  5. Even easier...Amazon:



  6. Thanks for the info Kevin,I just pre ordered from Amazon!

  7. Saw this and thought of you:

    The Eigenharp lets you rock Mos Eisley-style

    "Developed by British start-up Eigenlabs, the gorgeously designed, unusual device combines the dynamic physicality of a guitar or saxophone with the versatility of a modern digital synthesizer and sequencer."

    When are you getting one?

  8. Its a great collection. I think its really a good one to have. All of them are my favorites.

  9. Wouldn'tya love to have alla that? You can, ya know. Meet me Upstairs in the Great Beyond for a celebration of our resurrection where we'll have a kick-ass party till well after sundown. God bless.

  10. I always loved the electric guitar! the simplicity in the music and each movement, is simple amazing. I hope someday I can becomes a great guitar player.

  11. Excellent way to make a blog. I think you must be try with piano too. I'm a pianist, buy I liked when my dad played the guitar with me. This blog remember that moments with him. Thank you for share all this.