Preston Reed’s hands have an otherworldly coordination. The fingers, nails, thumbs, and palms of both left and right dance, pluck, strum, and slap his guitar, which bursts with a full sound.

Why you should listen

Most guitarists the world over play their instruments in essentially the same way: the left hand holds the neck and applies pressure to each string to change notes, while the right hand plays the melody. Not so with Preston Reed.

In the 1980s, Reed began playing his instrument in new ways, sometimes twisting his left hand to pick out a melody while the right hand strummed accompaniment or tapping the guitar’s body like a drum. A new playing style was born, with deep chords, complex percussion, and weightless melodies. And he's inspired new generations of guitarists to further innovate on the genre he pioneered.

What others say

“Reed's fiendishly intricate blend of blues, rock, country, and metal styles ducks and weaves itself away from measurability.” — The Irish Times, November 1, 2004

Preston Reed’s TED talk