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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday — February 18, 2004


Eye on a fretless future

Ned Evett finds a guitar niche

Express Staff Writer

Though played by countless hapless amateurs in countless dorm rooms and adolescent basements, the guitar remains an often untapped instrument of limitless possibilities.

Ned Evett

Boise native Ned Evett is a guitar virtuoso. For Evett, the guitar was not sufficient in its typical form. So Evett invented the glass-necked fretless guitar and plays it as no one else can. His latest album, "Evett/Vigroux," is being produced by Sun Valley-based record label Empty Beach Records.

In 2003, Evett was named the winner of the North American Rock Guitar Competition and has recently been drawing plenty of praise. His fans now include Joe Satriani, the more well known technical virtuoso for whom Evett has opened on many occasions. Of Evett’s playing Satriani has said, "When you see Ned do it, you just have to bow down and say ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe somebody can do that.’"

In his most recent release, "Evett/Vigroux," he pairs up with long time fretless companion Franck Vigroux. He and Vigroux first teamed up in 2001 after they performed at La Nuit De La Fretless, a fretless festival held every other year in Mende, France.

Since that fretless night, the two have toured together in France and the Northwest U.S., and produced "Fretless Guitar Masters," the first compilation of fretless guitarists. The internationally collaborative album is highly acclaimed and earned 4 of 5 stars from industry standard Guitarist magazine.

What is a fret, anyway?

Frets are the metal ridges set across a traditional guitar’s fingerboard. Without the limitations the frets impose, the musician is able to coax every possible sound from the instrument. The sound is similar to a slide-guitar, where the musician wears a glass or metal ring that rides over the frets. Evett’s glass-necked fretless guitar combines the advantages of both the slide and the fretless fingerboard.

Evett’s newest release is, above all else, a showcase of the two guitarists’ fretless sounds. Add to this foundation Evett’s bluesy baritone vocals, beat-boxing rhythms and Vigroux’s electronic samples.

Sid McGinnis, lead guitarist for the band of the "Late Show with David Letterman," has called Evett’s playing "beautiful." He said Evett "has taken the slide-guitar concept and flipped it over to where it’s as if he has glass slides on all of his fingers."

To promote the record, Evett and Vigroux are launching a 14-date East Coast-West Coast tour. They will be playing I Boise on Sunday, Feb. 22.

"Evett/Vigroux" is being produced by Sun Valley based record label Empty Beach Records.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.