Magazine article Guitar Player


Magazine article Guitar Player


Article excerpt

FINDING BEAUTY IN CHAOS IS AT THE CORE of New York City-based singer/songwriter Swati Sharma's latest CD, Small Gods [Blulnammock]. Sharma, who prefers to go solely by her first name, explores themes that include triumphing over the soulless pursuit of material wealth, untangling parental strife, and the healing influence of finding intimate emotional connections with strangers. The raw intensity of her brutally direct lyrics and gritty vocals are mirrored by her guitar accompaniment. Swati relies on a delay- and distortion-drenched Alvarez-Yairi acoustic-electric 12-string to create arrangements that include everything from intricately picked rhythms to ambient chords to wild shred-rests that would make the most jaded metal-head blush sometimes within the same song.


Swati's Alvarez Yairi setup is as unconventional as her playing.

"I chose a 12-string because I wanted a bigger, more swelling sound than you get with the usual 6-string," explains Swati. "However, I also wanted an even beefier low end, so I took off the octave strings and just kept string pairs for the B and high E, because I like the chorus-y, orchestral element they add."

Swati typically tunes everything a half-step down to make her sound even richer and deeper. She also employs ten open tunings that she's memorized and intuitively finds through her own string-to-string comparison tuning process (she's unsure of the specific notes). At the center of her sonic storm is a Boss DD-5 Digital Delay pedal that she often combines with other pedals, including a Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion, a Boss OC-2 Octave, and a Fulltone Clyde Standard Wah.

"When I was a kid, my father got me an overly complex DigiTech rack delay system that I used with my first guitar." says Swati. "The action on the guitar was so high that there was no possibility of being able to play it properly, so I just hit the strings percussively as if I was playing a piano or a drum. …

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