Edward DeGenaro is a fusion guitarist whose unique mix of bebop and metal sounds, along with a whole lot of the DeGenaro personality, collectively called the “Nude Guitars” sound, has been compared to the likes of Scott Henderson, Frank Gambale, and Steve Vai. Ed’s journey in music began in Germany, where he was born and raised. At an early age, he studied cello but quickly picked up the guitar as his instrument of choice for venting his artistic expression. After receiving a degree in Performance and Teaching from the German National Conservatory of Music in Nuremberg, he worked as a “hired gun” guitarist and session player, performing all over Europe before relocating to LA and finally to Seattle, where he currently resides. His contributions, as a musician and an engineer, include numerous projects with major labels, musicians like Elliott Sharp, Steve Kimock, David Byron Band, Accept, Hammerhead, Alcatraz, and producers David Rosenthal (Rainbow, Robert Palmer) and Roy Thomas Baker. Recently, he just finished recording all the audio samples for Jack Zucker's Sheets Of Sound Vol II. He is also working on his soon-to-be-released CD called Dog House. In addition to recording, Ed also performs at various venues like the NAMM show and the NYC Fretless Guitar Festival.
As with all fretless guitarists, Ed’s artistic expression and desire to create his own sound took him beyond the fixed frequencies of fretted guitars and into the realm of the unfretted. He is one of the few talented guitarists who can make shredding look effortless on a fretless guitar and make the guitar groove to just about any sonic exploration, encompassing funk, blues, ethnic, jazz, metal and much more. (Thankfully, Ed also kept the metal hairdo, so he really delivers the entire package and more.) It’s difficult for me to encapsulate the essence of Ed’s music in words without resorting to “Nude Guitars” (a
name that came naturally to Ed but took me quite a bit of listening and thinking to truly appreciate its meaning) because his artistic expression is indeed limitless and fretless, very much like the nude fingerboards on his guitars. I think one of the most common misconceptions about making music is that people often think music comes from the instrument itself; what most people don’t realize is that instruments only make sounds, not music. This distinction is what
separates those who just play and the real musicians who create. For real musicians like Ed, their guitars are indeed nude, as blank canvases are to painters, allowing them to create music that is truly personal and original. Paraphrasing what Michael Vick once said, the real instrument is the musician himself, and one’s will to create is all one really needs to “Play what [one’s] inner ear hears”. So, what is “Nude Guitars”? It is who Ed DeGenaro is; so long as he creates, Ed is the music. Needless to say, Ed is a well-known fixture in the unfretted community, and his music continues to influence others. I
thank Ed for taking the time to respond to all of my questions, for giving such a detailed tour of his studio, and for sharing his humor, music experiences, and other interests in this interview. Never have I met a musician who has almost as many pets as the guitars he owns! He is truly one-of-the-kind!