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Artist Profile: Brian Fechino

January 10, 2011

The first time I heard Brian Fechino many years ago, I was warned in advance. “You have to see Pat McGee’s new guitar player, total $%&!-ing ringer.” About two minutes into the first song, Brian stepped up after the bridge, launched into a completely tasteful yet technically startling sixteen bar lead burst, then made a smooth sonic return to the background for tasteful rhythm guitar parts.  In the span of four minutes, I was convinced. Total $%&!-ing ringer indeed.

Over the past decade that I have been fortunate to see and hear Brian’s performances with a variety of different artists (Keith Kane from Vertical Horizon, Pat McGee Band, Brian Fechino & friends) I had developed my own ideas about his playing and the qualities that make certain players special. His judgment is certainly superb; as a teacher, I call it “the jewel heist” approach to lead guitar: get in, make your hit, and get out with a memorable impression and a minimum of collateral damage.  But Brian’s playing is special for more reasons than his song based focus or being pithy.

Too often people talk about technical ability in terms of speed, chops, or acrobatics. The quality that consistently startled me about Brian’s playing is his command. His ability to change direction suddenly, start some phrases on a downbeat versus an upbeat, the variety of vibrato that he can employ, alter his techniques mid-phrase; these speak to a level of technical ability that goes beyond the rote learning and practicing of scales and licks. It comes from a real love for musical expression, and the technical understanding of what goes into being able to express yourself on a musical instrument.

Brian has always loved and used top-notch gear for this purpose: not fetishizing gear or using it to compensate for a musical or personal shortcoming, but because each of those special tools has a voice and a personality to be explored. His gear page is pretty illuminating: it features gorgeous vintage and modern guitars and amps, each with a sound file that shows the back and forth of both how he plays the instrument, but also how the sound of each instrument influences his playing. (To hear those files, we recommend flipping the “music” switch on his site down just long enough to click on a picture and hear the samples).

This is why we were so pumped to make a Wave Cannon for Brian: he has superb taste in tone, and if it passed muster with him, it reaffirmed that we were doing something special. The abridged version of his email: “I got it and it is AMAZING!!!!  I’m so proud to own this thing and can’t wait for the next design. By the way the tone control is one of if not the best I have EVER used as I am a lover of thick bass.”

We are proud to have Brian Fechino as one of our pedal owners, and to see and learn more about this fine player, we recommend that you check out his site here.