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Brian McConnell talks with Fareed Haque
Godin Glissentar

In the guitar world the word virtuoso gets thrown around a lot. Let’s face it, in their first press release EVERY guitarist is a virtuoso. It’s a shame really, because the term, which should be reserved for the truly exceptional player, loses some of its punch. We consider ourselves very fortunate around here to have added some bonafide virtuosos to our list of friends and Fareed Haque is a player that definitely lives up to the billing.

Fareed is one of those rare musicians who not only plays at the highest levels but also does so in a variety of musical contexts, from classical to jazz. Consider some of the artists that have utilized his talents: Paquito D’Rivera, Cassandra Wilson, Kurt Elling, Lester Bowie, Bob James, Dave Holland, Sting, Joe Henderson, Joe Zawinul, Kahil el Zabar, Defunckt and Ramsey Lewis, to name a few. Needless to say he’s busy.

Recently Fareed has signed to Arkadiajazz and two new CD’s will be released soon including one that features the Godin Glissentar. Fareed has also formed a new group called Garajmahal with Kai Eckhardt bass, Alan Hertz drums, and Eric Levy on keyboards. Fareed describes the project as “Acid jazz meets Indian jam band”.

Fareed has been using Godin guitars for about six years now and both the Multiac SA and LGX-SA have figured prominently in his work. Fareed is a musically adventurous guy and certainly one of the first players to come to mind when we designed the Glissentar. Even though Fareed received his Glissentar only a couple of months ago he has already toured and recorded extensively with it. I recently caught up with Fareed and asked him a few questions about the Glissentar.


Brian: How long did you have your Glissentar before you played it on a gig?
Two days! I was appearing as a Special Guest with ‘The Slip’. The instrument made quite an impression and the sound! Especially with a bit of distortion it’s huge and has a very vocal quality.

Brian: Is this your first fretless instrument?
No. I do play string bass so I have some sense of how to deal with a fretless instrument.

Brian: How are you amplifying it?
Fareed: I’m using a Trace Elliot amp and running through the clean and distortion channels simultaneously. It’s hard to go back to the limitations of frets after a few gigs on the Glissentar.

Brian: What sort of gigs are you using the Glissentar for?
I’m using it with most of the groups that I’m playing in, but especially where I don’t have to play too many chords. Chords can be hard to play in tune, but I am able to play quite a few chords on it.”

Brian: Are you using standard guitar tuning?
A lot of drop D and otherwise standard tuning.

Brian: You have an amazing capacity to move between different musical bags. For example switching from a straight eighths feel (something classical perhaps) to something that swings. It sounds as though you are able to just put the other ‘hat’ on and go?
Fareed: It can be exhausting sometimes, but it is made easier by developing a deep feeling for the tradition of whatever style I’m digging into. If I can culturalise the music, in other words, feel it in its cultural context then you could say that it’s a bit like switching hats. Not musical hats - cultural hats.

Brian: Your schedule is packed. When do you find time to practice and what do you practice?
I practice classical music for upcoming concerts and recordings in trains and hotel rooms.

Brian: What’s on your CD player?
I hate music! What do you think I do all this playing and then listen in my spare time? Gimme a break man…I read Kazuo Isheguro, poetry by Neruda, comedy by Richard Pryor and drive aimlessly from gig to gig to studio searching for the BBC on my car radio.

Hey, we’re not professional interviewers - as if that wasn’t obvious - but we’re pretty sure this one just ended.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for any of the many projects that he is currently working on. There is a jazz trio recording in the works for Arkadiajazz as well as two classical CD’s; one featuring his own transcriptions of the music of Federico Mompou and one featuring the music of Camille Saint-Saens. We highly recommend a visit to www.fareed.com to find out more about these projects, to check out the fantastic lesson material that he has posted, and just to learn more about Fareed. Also, to find out more about the Garajmahal project check out www.garajmahal.net. This isn’t new, but if you haven’t checked out Fareed’s CD ‘Déjà Vu’ (yeah, that Déjà Vu) track down a copy immediately - it’s on Blue Note - we’ve had it on heavy rotation for about 5 years and it seems to groove harder with each listen. Highly recommended.

*Brian McConnell is the former Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Godin Guitars.




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