If you've ever been down the rabbit hole of "Best Guitar Solos" or "Acoustic Guitar Videos" YouTube searches, you've watched a CandyRat Records artist's video, whether you think you have or not. Lesser known by its name, the fusion of the cause of rotten teeth and a rodent, CandyRat Records dominates the indie label experimental guitar performance game with a whopping 375+ million views on its YouTube channel. CandyRat Records joined the YouTube world on May 10, 2006, only a year after YouTube's launch, and has since become known as the go-to for aspiring guitarists and musicians alike.
City Lights - Steffen Schackinger
Steffen Schackinger, a blues rock/jazz fusion guitarist, was the first of the CandyRat pack that had me hitting the replay button over and over. Schackinger's 6-minute performance of City Lights is a MUST watch for any guitar player looking to build their riff library. That means everyone. It's dynamically flawless and truly brings out the magical tone of the classic Gibson ES-335.
The Last of the Mohicans - Luca Stricagnoli
Luca Stricagnoli begins his live guitar cover of "The Last of the Mohicans" by bowing the lowest pitched open string on his 7-string acoustic guitar. Throughout the song, Luca simultaneously finger picks his acoustic guitar with only his left hand (acting as the treble), while bowing two stationary guitars with his right hand (the bass). He smoothly transitions his right hand mid-song from bowing the unmanned instruments to percussively hitting the side and top of the guitar he's "Playing", bringing the performance to dynamic perfection.
Time 2 - Ewan Dobson
Although not my favorite choice, I can't argue with Ewan Dobson's technical proficiency and ability to showcase the beauty of time-based guitar effects. It was also no surprise that this YouTube video's top comments range from "Raiden is amazing with the guitar!" to "I found this video by typing "guitar lamp" and "raiden wtf u doin here." Dobson's musical influences range from British heavy metal band Judas Priest to classical music legend Niccolò Paganini, and sound effects from NES video games.
Scratch - Antoine Dufour
French-Canadian guitarist Antoine Dufour slays this performance of "Scratch" through his fingerstyle and percussive playing of the acoustic. And if you were curious as to whether or not his nails were real... they're not. Antoine wears acrylic artificial fingernails to create a crisp, clean sound when plucking acoustic guitar strings. Some guitarists grow them long, some wear them!
Drifting - Andy McKee
Andy McKee, one of CandyRat Records' best-selling artists and world's finest acoustic guitarists, debuted his performance of "Drifting" on the CandyRat Records' YouTube channel in 2006. Andy's video has been viewed over 50 million times, and regularly shows up on the first page of YouTube's results for the search "Acoustic guitar." At one point, three of his videos were concurrently the three most watched videos on YouTube. His use of acoustic guitar finger-tapping, altered tunings, and percussion has changed the game for experimental guitar technique.
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