As the guitar takes a further backseat to more and more electronic devices in popular music, it becomes harder and harder for the instrument to remain relevant in a commercial sense. Its makeup is after all just a few steel strings, some winds of copper wire, a plank of wood and a few other bits and bobs. But for everyone that dismisses its relevance, there comes a time for comeuppance. There are wizards out there still exploring.
Mark Wingfield is just such a wizard. He strives to use extended vibrato to give his notes a wavering human voice quality that bridges the gap between the sometimes cold perfectionism that some shredders use and the inviting warmth that is at the root of accessibility. Just giving the audience finger gymnastics is not going to get it done in this day and age.
It’s also more than just note selection, exposing fresh nuance in both melody and tone is not easy with the incredible amount of guitar vocabulary out there and not relying on just speed to make a point of excitement adds to the challenge. Wingfield is more than up to the task however and his band, one that includes Yaron Stavi (who’s fretless bass blends seamlessly) and Asaf Sirkis on drums caress with a fantastically supportive feel.
Those six or seven or eight string symphonies will continue to involve listeners, if not on radios, then in the collections of discerning listeners. Ones with a taste for timeless harmonic invention and adventurous melodies.