Start me up: Guthrie Trapp

New and notable guitarists you need to hear

Start me up Guthrie Trapp

Guthrie Trapp is one of Nashville's busiest session players with a flourishing solo career on the side. He's played with Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett, Garth Brooks and Alison Krauss, to name but a few, so why are so many still unaware of his talents?

Born 
into a household where bluegrass and folk played the soundtrack to his youth, Guthrie's first instruments were acoustic guitar and mandolin.

"At the same time I was playing bluegrass and stuff on the acoustic, I was jamming along to records with the electric guitar as well, like some Allman Brothers and old blues like some Johnny Winter stuff..."

Who has he listened to?

After a while, Guthrie's tastes in music broadened and, apart from the country, folk and bluegrass influences, he was turned on to the New Grass Revival, including players like Sam Bush and Béla Fleck who were favourites in the Trapp household. An uncle, who was an avid jazz fan, also played him Jean-Luc Ponty and so his young ears were being constantly fed with a wide variety of musical styles.

"We heard Van Morrison, John Prine, Bob Dylan, Greg Brown, Bruce Cockburn and a lot of
 just off-the-wall stuff. I think growing up was hearing real music, soulful stuff, getting the tonalities and the feel in my blood."

What's so great about his playing?

A combination of stunning chops with an 
original style, sometimes referencing the
 spirit of legendary players like Danny Gatton
 and Roy Buchanan along the way.

The key 
seems to have been keeping an open mind
 to any musical style that came his way, as it
 was diversity that made him the adaptable
 session star he is today.

"I love anything 
from John Scofield to Los Lobos. I love Mark
 Knopfler, Ry Cooder, David Lindley, you know, I love those guys. I listen to a ton of Cuban music. I still listen to Tony Rice and those great bluegrass records – Jerry Douglas, who I toured with for seven years. I played on two or three of his records, he's amazing."

Floyd Cassista made that guitar out of redwood that used to be a compost bin in his yard. He was looking out of his window one day and he goes, 'Man, what was I thinking?'

Why do you need to hear him?

Anyone who has ever yearned to get up on stage and put a Telecaster through its paces against a backdrop of hot country or one of its blues-infused hybrid offspring would do well to check out Guthrie Trapp. And, talking of Teles, his own T-style has a very unusual history.

"Floyd Cassista made that guitar out of redwood that used to be a compost bin in his yard. He was looking out of his window one day and he goes, 'Man, what was I thinking?' So he goes out there, tore the thing down, scraped off all the dirt and then went in to his shop and built that guitar."

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-eQln1Io60

What gear does he use?

It might be easier to list the gear that Guthrie doesn't use! Apart from the compost-bin T-style, painted a tasteful shade of Chrysler pale blue, Guthrie can sometimes be seen with a '69 ES-335 and "a ton of other guitars that I keep for sessions".

As far as amps are concerned, he's a fan of Fenders and sports
a '65 Deluxe Reverb, a '66 Pro Reverb and a '66 Vibrolux. Other than those, there's also a hand-wired Vox AC15 and, as far as pedals are concerned, we'll let Mr Trapp commentate:

"I use the Boss tuner into an RC Booster, 
a Strymon Flint, a Nobles overdrive, my Signature Model Overdrive Pedal by J Rockett Audio Designs, and a fuzz pedal that a friend of mine made, then a Strymon El Capistan."

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