The Undiscovered: Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan Wilson


Developing A Modern Arpeggione

Not too many guitarists design their own instruments to facilitate playing in an unconventional way. Jonathan Wilson, of San Fernando, California has done just that, designing a modern version of a viol/guitar hybrid (bowed guitar) called the "arpeggione". He can play this instrument with a bow or pick it like a traditional guitar. Wilson submitted a one-song CD-R featuring the song "Dancing In The Clouds", which was recorded live in stereo to DAT. The apparent overdubs are not overdubs at all; the piece was recorded with sound-on-sound techniques using a Line 6 DD-4 delay modeler. All the sounds on the piece are indeed guitar, including the percussive elements. "Dancing In The Clouds" is an excellent example of how creative thinking can lead to an ethereal piece of music that feeds the mind as well as the soul.


Quick to dispel the myth that he's simply Jimmy Page on steroids, Jonathan's influences include Peter Frampton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jimi Hendrix and the Scorpions. He started learning guitar in 1976 at the age of 10, with Ulrich Roth's and Michael Schenker's "violin like" phrasing inspiring him to explore violin music. Jonathan eventually longed for a guitar he could really play with a bow. He committed to this process in 1989, and by 1994 he had his first instrument. He has since re-explored fingerstyle acoustic music, as well as embraced digital looping technology that would permit him to deliver stand-alone performances with his "arpeggione".

Wilson's latest venture is a live video taped performance of a 12 minute instrumental composition entitled "Beside Still Water", a video/DVD collaboration with actor/producer Tom Barry featuring a variety of inspirational water scenes and aerial cloud photography.

Contact Information

Jonathan Wilson
United States

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