PHOTOS: Lithium Tree/Karsh Kale guitarist Chris Buono flies Sketch 7-string. Grammy Award winning drummer Rodney Holmes sets the pace, making complete ambidextrous limb independence look easy.
Triumph Brewing Company in New Hope, PA, was testing ground for Lithium Tree last night. They are finalizing new material as well as the lineup of the band. Intense progressive instrumental soundscapes sound tight and fresh, painted by Buono's guitar/electronica, propelled by Holmes' fluid athleticism.
A month or so ago, guitarist Chris Buono contacted me, and we clicked immediately. Several of his students had suggested he check out my work. Introductions made, we looked for an excuse to meet up.
Last night's New Hope gig was a perfect place for him to explore Tosin Abasi's newly modded Sketch. With the wood finish on the guitar almost nearly completely dry...
...during the day I installed Sketch's TOONE & TOWNSEND production hardware and the custom Bare Knuckle Nailbomb, then drove to meet Chris that evening.
"While a steadfast rule of mine is to never play an unknown-to-my-hands guitar on a gig (with multiple meter shifts and complex charts, no less) — Sketch is an instrument that cannot be denied. From first taking it out of the bag I knew I was going to rock this axe for more than just the tune I mentally shed on the way to New Hope (I don't play 7-string).
The asymmetrical neck profile, while scary as hell, fell right into place within my fret hand. The body was incredibly form fitting. And, Rick's treatment to the swamp ash - WOW.
Plugging in Sketch to my all-Fractal rig revealed a gorgeous, throaty, piano-like tone that was devastating. When I hit the crunch Sketch roared with gnarly awesomeness that made it a blast to travel the fanned frets. Pumping it through my ring mod block with expression control assigned to the carrier oscillator made for a phat-ass Moog vibe that garnered whiplash-like audience head turns on aural contact.
As for the headless design, it makes Sketch well-balanced and I really dug the performance and feel of the tuning machines. To sum it up: I'm floored. Sketch changed me. And, in addition to being a solid citizen Rick Toone is one smart mofo and a good egg. Oh, what a night..."