Phil Solari of rising stars Stranger Stranger answers the Acoustic Q&A
I would describe my guitar playing style as unorthodox, percussive, sparse and altered. I use drop D sometimes. It gives a completely different feel to the instrument – a more grave sound.
There’s a guitarist called Atahualpa Yupanqui and he used drop D a lot. I was inspired by that. I also liked Grizzly Bear’s use of drop D. Occasionally I’ve used open G, too, to get that Songhai sound that can be heard in the playing of Ali Farka Touré, or Tinariwen.
Somebody once told me the secret to playing acoustic guitar well is taking your time. That’s good advice. I think finding your own style and having an instrument that suits that style is key. Once you find the right instrument you play better.
My first acoustic was a Yamaha C40. It had a lot of volume, a lot of bass, but the lower action on the Raimundo stole me away.
I’m often impressed by the Ramirez guitars. Also, there’s a luthier from Ontario in Canada named Luis Feu de Mesquita. He makes beautiful guitars. But I’ve been working with a Raimundo 120e with the pickup taken out and all the holes unfilled for quite a while. The volume is big and exaggerates the percussive element of my playing.
I played a guitar called ‘Carmen’ by Luis Feu de Mesquita at Remenyi in Toronto… it blew my mind. It’s expensive, so if you wanted to play it, you could fly over and do so. It’s worth it!
Playing guitar, I’ve met people from all over the place; people who didn’t speak my language and I didn’t speak theirs. We couldn’t speak to one another, we just played music. And sometimes those relationships form stronger than relationships where you can speak to one another!
Stranger Stranger just finished mixing and mastering our first album with producer Steve Brown. We’re in London for a couple of months promoting our debut single, ‘Sometimes’. We’ve played some fantastic venues: Union Chapel, The Goucho Club, The Lexington and we’ve had some great publicity. It’s an exciting time.
Stranger Stranger’s debut single ‘Sometimes’ is available to stream here: