Kaki King: two short videos recorded at TED conferences

“A musical escape into a world of light and color”

Today I want to share two videos from TED.com featuring Kaki King (born Katherine Elizabeth King), a guitarist and composer known for her percussive technique applied on multiple tunings on acoustic and lap steel guitar, and on diverse range in different genres.

The first video was recorder in 2008, soon after the release of her famous single “Playing with Pink Noise”:

Kaki King, the first female on Rolling Stone’s “guitar god” list, rocks out to a full live set at TED2008, including her breakout single, “Playing with Pink Noise.” Jaw-dropping virtuosity meets a guitar technique that truly stands out.

The second video is more recent, recorder at TEDWomen on May 2015:

A genre unto herself, Kaki King fuses the ancient tradition of working with one’s hands with digital technology, projection-mapping imagery onto her guitar in her groundbreaking multimedia work “The Neck Is a Bridge to the Body.” Using her guitar’s neck like a keyboard, she plays an intricate melody as she takes the audience on a musical journey of light and sound. She calls it “guitar as paintbrush.”

About the artist

From her website:

Hailed by Rolling Stone as “a genre unto herself,” composer and guitarist Kaki King is a true iconoclast. Over the past 10 years the Brooklyn-based artist has released six extraordinarily diverse and distinctive albums (from which B-sides & Rarities has been largely culled), performed with such icons as Foo Fighters, Timbaland, and The Mountain Goats, contributed to a variety of film and TV soundtracks including Golden Globe-nominated work on Sean Penn’s Into The Wild, and played to an increasingly fervent following of music lovers on innumerable world tours.

In addition to her own solo work, Kaki sometimes performs accompanied by NYC-based string quartet ETHEL. She also recently performed a Carnegie Hall premiere of a classical piece commissioned by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang.

Guitar tips: my own daily warm-up exercises

Every morning a guitarist wakes up … and doing the warm-up!

The warm-up is a very important step of a musician’s daily routine: a simple set of progressive exercises useful to predispose muscles and articulation for more complex movements and stretching.

Today I propose my own set of warm-up exercises.

Usually i use this exercises also with beginner students: it are useful also for becoming familiar with the fretboard and fingerstyle.

All exercises need to be performed with the metronome and each pattern must be repeated on all the fretboard.

Simple chromatic scale

This exercise need to be performed holding all four fingers on the string after the corresponding note was played.

The right hand fingering is different between ascending (p-i-m-a) and descending (p-a-m-i).

Chromatic scale with ‘string skipping’

Same suggestions of previous exercise (hold all fingers on string), but a bit more complex with a big jump from a string to another.

The ‘Spider’

A well-known exercise, useful for finger independence and coordination between the two hands.

I suggest to start the exercise very slow, in order to correctly memorize the pattern.

The ‘sweep’

Inherited from electric guitar technique, the ‘sweep’ is an exercise opposite to the ‘chromatic scales’: the final purpose is playing all notes as an arpeggio, but ‘staccato’, without holding any previous note.

The right hand fingering is a simple p-i-m-a-m-a-m-i pattern.

All exercises on a single PDF


Andres Segovia concert on Italian television

A valuable historical document

In the 1960s, the Italian TV broadcaster RAI broadcast a fascinating concert by Andres Segovia.
I’ve found a copy on Youtube, the sound is slightly distorted, but the program very respectable:

1:27 — “Da un Codice Lautenbuch”, Six lute pieces of the renaissance, transcribed by Oscar Chilesotti:
1. Vaghe belleze et bionde treccie d’oro vedi che per ti moro
2. Bianco fiore
3. Danza
4. Gagliarda
5. Se io m’accorgo
6. Saltarello

8:36 — Johann Sebastian Bach: Gavotte

13:02 — Heitor Villa-lobos: Prelude nº 3

17:44 — Heitor Villa-lobos: Study nº 1

20:12 — Federico Moreno Torroba: Allegretto(from “Sonatina”)

23:26 — Isaac Albéniz: Sevilla


A note for guitar fetishists

the guitar seems to be a Ramirez, you can tell by the shape of the head:


How to spot a fake guitar in seconds

Keep your eyes (and ears) open!

Is it really possible to buy a non-original guitar?

Yes! Furthermore it can happens in unexpected places like a used instruments store, as shown by these two videos made by Kennis Russell:

In the videos are analyzed two incredible fake of the most famous guitars of all time: a Fender Stratocaster and a Gibson Les Paul.

Kennis also provides valuable tips to recognize a non-original guitar.