"Shredding", the fast and virtuous guitar playing, is a central stylistic element of many rock and metal music genres. Previous research has claimed distortion to increase the guitar’s potential as a virtuoso solo instrument but acoustic evidence is still missing. Apart from this academic desideratum, distortion is lively debated in online musicians’ boards for its supposed »cheating« effect. This study aims at investigating distortion’s effect on the electric guitar tone and its consequences for virtuoso playing. After a qualitative content analysis of discussions in online boards, an analytic case study of two guitar solos examines distortion’s effect on musical performance. The findings confirm distortion’s simplifying effect whilst also highlighting challenges less commonly considered in research, journalism, and performance practice.
|Translated title of the contribution||A virtuoso guitar play in rock and metal: The Impact of Distortion on Shredding|
|Title of host publication||Schneller, höher, lauter|
|Subtitle of host publication||Virtuosität in populären Musiken|
|Number of pages||22|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2017|