Kiko Loureiro was here for an Ibanez clinic last Saturday, 26th April. There was a warm reception, the crowd (majority of them) knew Kiko for who he is- one of the most respectable shredders to embrace melody, not just senseless noodling. I must say that his live tone- well at least for this clinic- has more bottom end clarity than his recorded tones. Throughout all his four solo releases, Kiko's tones are thin but the distortion heard during the clinic was outright impressive. I'm still wondering why his LANEY cab was made to face the window instead of the crowd. Anyway, some pointers by Kiko in addition to the showcase of his awesome finger works:
- Practice is the only way. For musicians to accomplish a level of proficiency, practice is everything. The jest was to focus on a certain practice regiment for 10K hours before one can say one's versed in a certain technique. Seriously, it need not be 10K hours but just a significant amount of dedicated time to embrace some learning.
- Lefty playing the right way. Yes, Kiko is a Southpaw but he adapted to the standard guitar & did not relent in acquiring a lefty instrument instead. He added that guitarists are the only snobs who demanded an inverted version of the standard instrument. We don't see this happening with piano & harp players, among others. The message here: There is no harm in re-learning & adapting.
- Time & melody. Guitarists often forget the fact that timing is of the essence to music, the average guitar dweeb (especially the electric guitar) wants to play faster than the other guy so this individual ends up being more mechanical than musical. Kiko also stressed the importance of melody, knowing what to play & playing it on context, not just playing it your way. He encouraged players to drop gear (in terms of speed) & be creative.
- Tap. Someone wanted him to shed some aspects of 8-finger tapping & he started by highlighting the fact that many people are doing it wrong- each & every finger is supposed to hit the strings outright, not legato the notes. Also, avoid senseless tap phrases, arrange them so that octaves are heard & this is a part of playing in context.
- Ibanez. This was probably the primary conversation but churned out subtly, there were no aggressive product or brand name highlight. Personally, I'm glad it was done this way, we are not obliged to embrace what others prefer, if there were any up-side to a certain product pertaining to features & innovation, we appreciate them in context & understand why the endorser & manufacturer went the extra way to have them manifested. Kiko confessed that his first 'proper' guitar was an Ibanez because it was the guitar to have one playing 'more' in terms of technicality. Along the way, ESP & Tagima got into the fold but eventually it's Ibanez. Someone wanted to know why he's sporting an Edge bridge when the Lo-Pro version is better. Upon hearing this, I thought that at this day & age, there would be less unfounded item preference largely because we are more knowledgeable, educated & exposed to aspects of application but I guess some of us are still inclined to champion what we think are exalted items. Kiko explained that he's somewhat old school, preferring the ones that had been there all along but he highlighted the fact that Vai & Satch are two of many long time Ibanez players who personally embrace the Edge in their guitars as opposed to other versions & we need to reflect why this is the case.
All in all, it was an entertaining & educational episode. I was there when Kiko did his Laney clinic here & I thought this session was more engaging. Maybe it's the fact that the host this time round got the audience into the clinic rather than let them drown in restraint.
I look forward to more clinics of this nature here. I certainly benefited from the knowledge shared in addition to some product exposure which we can do at our own personal time. On that note, thanks to Swee Lee Co. for the opportunity.