takes a lot to blow me away musically these days. Not that there isnt
a lot of great new music around and hungry, up and coming guitarists,
musicians and singers who make it, but when I heard there was a new
CD from Norwegian guitarist Steinar Gregertsenin fact,
a 2009 album tribute to the music of Jimi HendrixI sat
up and wiped the mist from my eyes. Jimi was the Jesus Christ of the
electric guitar world and although theres millions of great
guitarists in the world, no one touches Jimi's brilliance even 40
years after his tragic mortal demise. Mixing the finest elements from
Jimis world of rock, psychedelia, blues, jazz-fusion and soul
music, Steinar has recorded possibly the greatest tribute album ever
to the music of Jimi Hendrix. I had the honor to review Steinars
2006 album Southern Moon Northern Lights while I was reviews
editor with 20th Century Guitar mag. As great as that album is, Steinars
Hendrix tribute is simply stunning and Im sure Jimi is smiling
down at the excellent work on this CD. Steinars forte is instrumental
rock but his work on Lap Steel guitar, slide guitar, bass and vocals
just carries this baby over the finish line with grace. Steinar gets
backup from top players like drummer Tom Rudi Torjussen, vocalists
Claudia Scott and Marianne Rodvelt, fellow guitarists
Tom Principato and Espen Larsen and more. Steinar also
takes the lead vocal slot on the lead off cover of I Dont
Live Today while the instrumentalsfor instance the other-worldly
cover of Driftingjust sends spine-tingling shivers
throughout my entire body. With so much to like and admire here, Jimi
Hendrix fans are urged to pick up on this brilliant tribute album
from Steinar & company. www.gregertsen.com
WEB EXPRESS 3000
presents STEINAR GREGERTSEN
Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world,
their new recordings and gear!
first musical instrument was an old beat up alto saxophone I bought
from a buddy when I was 11 years old, and I played in the schools
marching band for a couple years. My love for the blues and rock of
the early 70's soon made me want to play guitar though, and in 72
I got my first electric guitar.
My first real band experience was playing bass in a cover band in
74, those were my first paid gigs, playing places I was too
young to be allowed in as a 15 year old kid.
The rest of the 70's and 80's were spent playing in various bands
with varying degrees of success, participated on my first nationwide
record release as guitarist/composer in 81 plus several local
D.I.Y. releases through the 80's.
In the early 90's I started working a lot as a freelance guitarist,
both in studios and live with various projects and artists, and also
got seriously into home recording. Ive also written and produced
music for ballets, multimedia projects, a TV series, plus some jingles/commercials...(not
my favorite gig, but the money is good.)
Got my first lap steel in 99, but didnt get really serious
about it until 03 when I bought my first Weissenborn style guitar.
That was it, I was hooked, and there was no turning back. The vocal
qualities of the lap steel allowed me to go places Id never
been before...not even on bottleneck slide. Its a truly addictive
instrument, and must be one of the healthiest addictions you can have!
releasing my first solo CD, Southern Moon Northern Lights in
06, I wanted to take whatever time I needed before starting
working on a new project, the last thing I wanted to do was to make
a SMNL Part ll. Always been a huge admirer of Hendrix,
and slowly the idea of making an album with my interpretations of
his music took shape, and I recorded the first sketches in early 08.
I have always included some Hendrix songs live, and also done quite
a few Hendrix shows, but with this album I was determined
to keep the focus on Hendrix the songwriter, and not Hendrix
the guitar genius.
Theres so many layers in his music and it works on so many levels,
I often feel that his great song writing has been totally overshadowed
by his guitar genius. I chose the title Standing Next To A Mountain
simply because thats how I felt working on his songs.
Unlike on SMNL, where I played all instruments myself,
I decided to include several local musicians on this album, saving
the guitar and bass work for myself (plus some vocals). I was also
fortunate enough to have Claudia Scott, whos a well known Americana
/ roots artist in Scandinavia, add beautiful vocals on two tracks,
and guitar ace Tom Principato added some great guitar solos to one
of the tracks while he was over here for some gigs.
Most of the tracks were recorded in my studio, with the exception
of the drums which were recorded in the drummers studio, and
Claudias vocals which were recorded in an Oslo studio.
I am truly happy with how it turned out, and forever grateful to all
the musicians who participated with great playing and helped make
this album what it is. I believe I managed to keep the focus where
I wanted it to be and treated Jimis music with respect, while
at the same time having an open mind regarding the arrangements and
not falling into the trap of covering Hendrix.
main lap steel is a modified Asher EH Junior that I love dearly. Theyre
solid as a rock, sustains like crazy with a full rich tone, relatively
cheap, and the Ashers are wonderful people to deal with. It has a
Duncan Seth Lover humbucker in the bridge position and a GFS Dream-90
in the neck position, plus I use 250K pots. I prefer them over 500K
pots with almost all pickups, even though I know its wrong.
My Weissenborn style guitar is a Lazy River. A Weissenborn is an acoustic
hollow neck lap steel and the first instrument designed purely for
Hawaiian playing...a great handmade instrument by Rance White at a
relatively comfortable cost with a spruce top and walnut back and
Some years ago I started putting together my own electric guitars,
using parts from a variety of brands, and my main guitars today is
a honey blond Tele with a USA Fender Alder body, Mighty Mite neck,
and T-90 pickups (thats P-90s in Tele size) from Vintage Vibe
Guitars, and a sea foam green Strat with Mighty Mite Swamp Ash body,
Mighty Mite neck and another set of P-90s from Vintage Vibe Guitars.
After playing regular Strats for years and years Ive found that
I prefer two-pickup guitars with a fatter tone than regular single-coils,
without going all the way into Les Paul/twin humbucker territory,
so Strat/Tele style guitars with two P-90s has become my favorites.
My bass is a fretless Fender Jazz Bass, and my main acoustic is a
plain Seagull Folk sized guitar. It has a very focused tone and is
a dream to record.
I use DAddario 010s and 011s for my electrics, Martin SP 012s
on acoustic, and my lap steels start at 015.
Dont use many effects live... A George Dennis wah/volume (on
the CD I used a modded Cry Baby for wah), Cmatmods SignaDrive and
Black Plague overdrives, and a Cmatmods Deeelay delay. Thats
When I record I plug my pedalboard into a POD XT, set to a Twin Reverb,
and use the Cmatmods pedals for overdrive and warming up the clean
tones. Live I use a 30W Peavey Delta Blues with a 15 speaker,
but plan to replace it with a Chambers Amplification Signature combo
most people, the music that hits you in your teens stays with you
for the rest of your life. You hopefully develop more advanced tastes
and expand your musical horizons, but theres something special
about that first musical love.
In my case it was a combination of Hendrix obviously, and much of
the whole hippie/Woodstock thing, the British blues explosion of the
late 60's which led me to discover the genuine American blues and
soul music, and the early 70's hard rock of bands like Purple, Zeppelin,
My main slide/steel influences are without a doubt Ry Cooder and David
Lindley, I discovered both in the mid 70s and blame them both
for my obsession with the slide and steel guitar.
In the late 70's I had a love affair with Indian music after getting
a sitar through a friend traveling in India and, though I never studied
it seriously, I like to imagine that some of it still comes through
in my playing. The lap steel and Weissenborn are excellent instruments
for that kind of phrasing.
These days its hard to single out one particular influence,
but Jeff Beck keeps amazing me. At the age of 66 hes still fresh
and adventurous, still taking chances and exploring new territories,
much unlike the rest of his generation of guitar heroes. When I first
heard Where Were You from Guitar Shop I almost
stopped breathing for the 3+ minutes the song lasts, afraid it would
crash to pieces if I made a sound.
I make plans something entirely different tends to fall out of the
sky and grab my interest. Lately Ive been thinking about doing
a mainly acoustic album, trying to cut to the core of the music with
as spare instrumentation as possible. So that probably means my next
one will be a heavy metal album!
These days I mostly gig locally, making a small but steady income
from teaching 20+ guitar students a week in my studio. Never been
too fond of touring, and actually prefer the role of a side man for
other artists when I do, but who knows... Ive got a killer live
band these days and weve done some great gigs with more on the