Panic in the Warr Room: String Defcon Rises to 14

Okay… we’re up to 14 now. That’s 14 strings. On a guitar. Sure, why not, I guess? Venezuelan jazz-metal manic Felix Martin custom built this weird-ass hybrid, and he certainly plays it well. The video below shows off his virtuosity in the song “2 AM” from his new LP The Scenic Album. Steve Vai dug the album enough to ask Martin to open a few of his concerts south and north of the border.

But let’s talk about this guitar for a second? Correct me if my feeble aging eyes are failing me here, but is this just two identical 7-string guitars bolted together? Why would you do that? I suppose, with the amount of tapping Martin seems to do, there’s certain advantages, like if you’re holding a chord on your E-A-D strings but you want a melody line that includes open A notes. But it still seems like the handiwork of the mentally unstable or criminally insane, like collecting matchbooks.

Personally, if I were to deal with the expense and learning curve of such an ungainly instrument, I’d rather master something more fully designed around the advantages and potential range of 14 strings, like a Warr guitar (which hadn’t previously counted towards the defcon because the 14-string model is rare, and a Warr isn’t really a guitar). But hey, Felix Martin is doing something different, so godspeed you talented lunatic.

Update: apparently Martin also owns a 16-string guitar. Sorry buddy, but I’m not taking the time to modify my flawless Photoshopped jpg just because you love counting. Come on dude, if you love addition so much, then why is your song one less than a Matchbox 20 single?

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and mp3.com were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.