Alex Gregory

"Rock'n'Roll is notably short of mandolin heroes. 
This guy doesn't mind being the first."
   

One Of A Kind Piccolo Guitar & 7 String Hamer, Alex Gregory Guitar
You will never find another one of these
A must for the serious Hamer collector

Call Ed Roman Guitars


A guitarist, mandolinist, luthier, composer, and inventor, Gregory has been advocating electric mandolins with increasing fervor over the past decade.  The cover of his 1991 Paganini's Last Stand CD shows him holding an electric mandolin while—ahem—watering the flowers on the graves of Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen.  And that was just the beginning.


That first e-mando was an old Fender "Mandocaster" that had formerly belonged to Sam Bush.  Gregory reports that during the early ‘90s he found himself becoming more and more fascinated with this instrument, and less and less enamored of the guitar.  Already a patent holder for a 7-string electric guitar design, he turned to designing his own mandolins, the first of which was similar to the Mandocaster.  Then he produced the Explorer-style mandolin pictured here, as well as a similar Mandola, octave mandolin, and Mandocello.

 

Not satisfied with that achievement, Gregory next designed the Penta-system—a set of 5-string instruments, ranging from bass to mandolin, tuned in fifths.  He insists that fifths are the only way to optimize the intonation of stringed instruments—and I'm sure most mandolinists would agree.  Penta-system was briefly licensed to the B. C. Rich Company—that deal was called off long ago, but it explains why several of the early prototypes, including this one, resemble that company’s guitars.  Gregory’s current design, however, is clearly inspired by the classic Fender look.

  Pentasystem

     


 

Ed Roman Guitars, Has The Pentatar, Pentalin etc etc

These BC Rich 5 string guitars or pentatars was the last project Bernie Senior worked on just before he died

 

 

Review of Latest Album Release


Maestro Alex Gregory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Jokes For Heavy Metal Mandolin CD

 

 

A few years ago Time magazine ran a tiny blurb about a fellow named Mark Wood, a Juilliard-trained violinist/luthier/recording artist who set out to prove that heavy metal music could be performed on the violin.  Well, everything Wood did for the violin, Maestro Alex Gregory has now done for the mandolin.  British-born Gregory has a degree in composition from the University of Milan, and the "Maestro" title was conferred on him by Queen Elizabeth.  Now he is designing and building instruments, and playing and composing heavy metal.  Gregory apparently uses two 1950s Fender Mandocasters as well as two 5-string, 29-fret "Pentalins" of his own design.
    

Let's get one thing clear: The "jokes" in this CD's title don't refer to the idea of playing heavy metal music on the mandolin. If you think that's a joke, one listen to this disc should change your mind. "Joke" is simply the English translation of the Italian musical term scherzo—an uptempo composition with a humorous feel.  OK? So here we have 12—count 'em—virtuosic scherzos for heavy metal mandolin.
     

This cat has serious talent.  Backed up by Mark Craney on drums, Matt Bissonette on bass, and himself on rhythm mandolin and guitar, Gregory takes lead mandolin playing to places it's never been.  You'll hear crosspicking, bends, arpeggios, and lightning-fast stratospheric licks, cranked up, distorted, and played with authority, humor, and panache.  My favorites are the unaccompanied "Red Neck Punk Lullaby," which sounds like a classical etude on bad corn liquor, and "She Got Her Knickers Down!"—which, despite the title, is a slow, sensitive serio-comic waltz, with Gregory showing off his expressive side.  Albert Collins would be proud of the greasy "Dead Mojo Blues," and Gregory has a bit of fun channeling influences as diverse as Strauss' "Tales from the Vienna Woods," Mozart's Symphony No. 40, and a killer version of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love."
    

 A virtuoso piece is meant to be a brief showcase where the artist shows off his chops, and the 12 cuts here clock in at 36:26, total.  But there's plenty of technique to chew on, and this isn't heavy metal of the ear-splitting, obnoxious, boring kind. Each piece has a distinct mood and feel; I wouldn't call half of them "metal" at all, but what do I know?  This thoroughly enjoyable disc is the perfect item to play for unsuspecting fret-heads, and watch their jaws drop when you tell them they're listening to a mandolin.

 

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