Pat Metheny’s 42-string guitar, in action


Before I new much about him, back in the late 1970s I fell into tickets to see Pat Metheney and his band (with Lyle Mays) at the old Cellar Door in Washington, D.C. (If I recall correctly; anyone know better?)

The amplifier lineup, as I recall, was most impressive, long before the musicians got on stage.  There were two massive pillars of speakers that reminded me much of Blue Cheer and their claim to be the loudest band ever.  When Metheny opened up, it was by far the loudest concert I’d ever heard (no, I never did make it to hear Blue Cheer).

I was hooked.  It’s been fun watching his journey through many incarnations of his own band, and working with others including Joni Mitchell on the Shadows and Light Tour.  I can’t keep up with every release of bands I like, but we have several Metheny discs in vinyl and CD.

I’d heard he has some custom-built instruments, including a 42-string monstrosity.  But today on ran into a photo of the beast on Pinterest.

Pat Metheny's 42-string harp guitar, called a Pikasso guitar (I don't know why).

Pat Metheny’s 42-string harp guitar, called a Pikasso guitar (I don’t know why).

That made me curious, so I nosed around and found this video of Metheny and a band in performance, in which he plays this thing.  From a 2007 concert, Jazzaldia; the piece is called “The Sound of Water”:

In the video you can see a cord coming out of the instrument. How are the pickups set, and what kind does it use?

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4 Responses to Pat Metheny’s 42-string guitar, in action

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Metheny’s not plucking the 6-string — how does he get such a ringing bass note? Is the percussion from hitting the frets enough to do that?

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Interesting that it seems not to have been built with pickups built in, considering it was made for Metheny!

    I wonder what Ms. Lanzer charges to make something like that.

    Like

  3. I would have to guess that it has a series of acoustic transducers rather than one pickup per string as in a typical electric guitar though it seems to be miked in this video. A website seems to support this supposition “The instrument is outfitted with a complete state of the art piezo pickup system. (Designed and installed by Mark Herbert, Boston)” http://www.oddmusic.com/gallery/om23350.html

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ed Darrell says:

    From Twitter:

    And:

    Like

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