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Marnie Stern’s Distinctive Guitar Style

Above: Musician Marnie Stern plays The Soda Bar this Saturday.

Cover of Marnie Stern's third and self-titled album.
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Above: Cover of Marnie Stern's third and self-titled album.

In an earlier post I talked about women who shred. Well, New Yorker Marnie Stern doesn't really shred but instead has developed a distinct style using the "tapping/hammer on" guitar technique first popularized by jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan.

Her music becomes more about the sonic textures she creates than guitar solos. Some feature an ongoing wailing staccato, while others are almost Zeppelin-like in their density. There are even photos of her playing a twin-neck Gibson similar to Jimmy Page's.

Vocally she owes a debt to Ponytail's Molly Siegel (or vice versa), frequently using a banshee-like scream (which isn't as bad as it sounds) to spine-tingling effect.

The songs on last year's "Marnie Stern" (her third album) are noisy, frenetic, and fun. As a songwriter I think she has a ways to go because, after repeated listenings, the songs still aren't sticking. But in this case, I'll take the noise.

Near as I can tell she is touring with a full band (drums and bass) and is coming to The Soda Bar this Saturday. A recent article in The Reader described The Soda Bar as smaller than The Casbah (which I didn't think was possible) so maybe I can get close enough to learn something.

See you there.

Marnie Stern plays The Soda Bar on Saturday, February 19th.

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