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Michael Hedges

Well if I'm going to put up some of my favorite acoustic guitar video clips I'm going to start it off with my all time greatest of great acoustic guitar players, Michael Hedges. For my money Michael Hedges is the most innovative acoustic guitar player ever to pick up the instrument - and one of the most original musicians of our time.

Sadly, Michael Hedges passed away in a car accident on December 2nd 1997 - he was only 44 years old. It knocked the wind out of me the day I found out for a couple of reasons. Firstly because I'd been studying his playing really hard in 1996 and '97, trying to learn some of his techniques and some of his licks. There is NO WAY I can claim I can play 2 notes of his stuff but studying his techniques really helped me develop a few things that make up 'my style' of playing. I got a lot from studying Michael's music. And secondly it knocked the wind out of my cause my dad had passed away only 3 months before it.

It's a real blow when someone you love passes away, obviously with family and friends but particularly with the musicians we all love and respect. Life is short, you have to make sure you appreciate what you have around you, particularly when it comes to people. Being a musician is special because you have a chance to reach out to people you know AND don't know in ways that are unique to music and music alone.

Anyway - let's look up our history books. This is Michael Hedges website. It's an incredible wealth of information - more than you could study in a life time. He wrote a book with John Stropes called Rhythm, Sonority, Silence. It's music, transcriptions and a wealth of information. If you really want to get into his playing buy the book. It's an advanced book for advanced players, very intense.

Michael was big on alternate tunings. So even if you are into metal or something more than just acoustic you can really get a lot out of listening and learning about Michael Hedges.

Also here is the Michael Hedges wiki - it's a good read for general info but his website is where the real wealth of information lies.

There are quite a few guitar players now who have taken on his style which is pretty cool. I'll post a few up but just make sure you realize - this style really all came from Michael Hedges.

Last year (2007) a cool film came out called August Rush (well cool if you are into music and dreams - it's a bit of a family feel good type of flick). 'Ritual Dance' by Michael Hedges is on the soundtrack. It's played by Kaki King. She is an awesome player. (I'll put up a video of her playing on a general acoustic favorites page). Anyway - the whole film centers around a kid who plays guitar - and it's all Michael Hedges style of playing. Very cool, well worth watching no matter what age you are.

The Michael Hedges album Live on the Double Planet is the absolute BEST acoustic guitar album I've ever heard. It's one of my all time favorite albums in general as well. Recorded live - amazing playing, great singing and he was a really funny dude - there are some good laughs on it as well.

Some interviews:

1990 Michael Hedges Savage mythology by Anil Prasadive.

1994 Michael Hedges A new rise of the self by Anil Prasadive.

1994 Michael Hedges Inspiration and imagination by Anil Prasadive.

I can't remember who wrote it but there was a really cool tribute written about him that I once read and it summed Michael Hedges up with a great line:

'When Michael Hedges went to Heaven the angels learnt a new way to play their harps.'

nuff said - THANK YOU for the music Michael Hedges.


Michael Hedges - Ignition

There is a boring intro, the video starts at the 42 second mark. Very cool playing on a standard 6 string acoustic.


Michael Hedges - Because It's There

Michael played a lot of music on this 'harp guitar'. He was featured in Guitar Player Magazine a few times for obvious reasons. He was on the cover of the October 1990 issue of Guitar Player which has an interview and a lesson with Michael. It's a great issue if you can find it.

Michael Hedges - The Funky Avocado

Great tune with a bit of his humor thrown in.

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