Guitar Music By People Without Guitars

by | Nov 6, 2013 | Good Finds


So, a couple of years ago something weird happened.  Skrillex debuted “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.1

This song managed to do a couple of things:

  1. It turned “dubstep” from an insult that people use on the internet (“So what!!!! I bet you like dubstep!!!!!”) into a thing that people could identify.
  2. Become the single biggest guitar song of 20010/2011

If you doubt number two I would like you to do a search on “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites Guitar Cover” on YouTube, you will see that the number of videos is “infinity.”2

That number includes this cover by the guys who held down Skrillex and cut his hair like that.

The interesting thing about this is that guitarists are notoriously suspicious of any music that doesn’t include guitar, but that one song proved that a lot of electronic music is perfect for guitar (hell, this kid, made an entire YouTube career out of that fact).  So, on the other side of the break, a bunch of music that doesn’t have guitars, but should (and, no, it’s not all EDM).

The Juno Reactor’s Labyrinth began life, I believe, as the score to The Matrix3 . It’s full of stuff that you, the guitarist, should check out.  On the one hand, this is kind of a cheat as Conquistador I & II have some tasty guitar lines in them, but  very large parts of them has no six string at all

I had never heard of John Grant prior to him showing up on “Later…With Jools Holland4.”  While his sophomore album, Pale Green Ghosts has plenty of guitar on it (check out “GMF”, but not at work because the “M” stands for “Mother”)) there are plenty of places on the album where it’s just somber electro with holes in it that could easily fit a guitar part, but don’t have one.

Legend has it that Junkie XL got his stage name from Fear Factory’s Dino Cazares, who also played on his debut album5.  Original Machine Head guitarist, Logan Mader, engineered one of his albums (which, I think, featured Logan’s brother on vocals).  What I’m saying is, for a guy that you only know of because he remixed an Elvis son, the guy has metal cred.  Here’s a full set from him.  It’s kind of a cheat because there are, in fact, guitars.

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones.  Before they became royalty for people who only bathe occasionally and smell of patchouli they were a groud breaking bluegrass/jazz/funk fusion band.  They’re still that, but, now their audience consists of kids who rebelled against their rich parents by becoming dirty hippies.  Still, banjo rolls learn them (do as I say, not as I do).  Extra points for the mullet Béla is sporting in this.

Look, there’s a lot of music out there and a lot of it has nothing to do with guitar, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a lot of it to inspire you.  Go, do that now.  It’s good for you.

  1. AKA “The Only Good Skrillex Song”
  2. Actually about 53,100 which is roughly 20% of the number of covers of “Stairway to Heaven.” Think about that for a minute.
  3. Much like there are only three “Star Wars” movies, there is only one “Matrix” movies, after which The Wachowski Brothers changed their name (and gender) and went on to make nothing that anyone watched.
  4. It’s where I learn of new bands to make fun of.  It also reinforced my distaste for both Jay-Z and Kanye
  5. It was also released on Roadrunner back when Roadrunner released albums that didn’t make me want to lie down on I-85.