For over 30 years, Lee Ranaldo has been exploring the limits of the guitar’s range, both in Sonic Youth and as a solo artist. As shown in this exclusively premiered clip, “Lee Ranaldo Wants to Teach You Guitar,” he revealed some of his techniques and philosophies during a guitar clinic in New York in October.
Ranaldo starts the video by playing a quiet, sparse version of “Lecce, Leaving,” off his new album Last Night on Earth. Just as it seems like the track will end with a whimper, Ranaldo starts to hammer on his guitar, smashing out a loud, violent drone. He ups the ante even further by hanging his guitar with a noose, swinging it around the audience and playing the backside of the neck like a violin, using drum sticks as primitive bows.
After the avant-garde guitar gymnastics, Ranaldo takes questions from the audience, humbly explaining how he achieves his sound and experiments with his instrument. (He also says he’s not afraid to damage the instrument and encourages the audience to feel his guitar’s battle scars.) Ranaldo will be doing a second clinic on December 11th at Amoeba Records San Francisco.