An Axeman's Enduring Fetish

August 8, 2018 13:30 PM Aditya Neupane/Kshitiz singh


KATHMANDU, Aug 8: The intro of Stairway to heaven is the staple riff of the 70s, courtesy of the mellow tone provided by Jimmy Page. Two decades later, the distorted ‘smells like teen spirit’ established itself as the anthem of the grunge era of the 90s. Even more, the heavy kick off of ‘smoke underwater’ is revered as the most influential rock song, persuading guitarists all over the world to pursue a rock star dream. 

Every axeman has a distinct attitude while producing their trademark sound. Among a pool of guitarists, several names have secured a distinct identity; Kirk Hammet’s signature wah-wah effect, Eric Clapton’s clean tone, and John Mayor’s warm acoustic tones have made these legends distinguishable. 

Nepali guitarists aren’t far behind either. While the new generation likes to evoke power with their gadget, the older generation prefers a subtle sound. 

In a quest to finding the energy behind the character of Nepali rock, we talked with the most influential Nepali guitarists to find out their drive. In conversation with Hari Maharjan, Saradh Shrestha, Sunit Kansakar, and Phiroj Shyangden, they explained the tonal qualities of their favorite gadget and also revealed their dream gear.

Hari Maharjan 
It’s been about four decades since I started playing the guitar, and my passion has persuaded me to buy various musical instruments. Each of them has its own significance, and I pair my gadgets citing my stage schedule. However, I am a tad obsessed with Tonelab as it is perfect for live performances. Its tube provides an authentic sound, and I have been using it for the last 16 years. 


I also have a large collection of guitars, which includes Washburn J6 and a Polak gypsy jazz guitar. Recently, I also bought the Majesty guitar of Music Man. However, my dream is to buy a Selmer guitar. I’ve had many memories with my gears, and I adore sharing the stage with like-minded musicians. 

Saradh Shrestha 
Deurali Ukali is the first song that I learned to play in the guitar, and evolve musically. I own lots of gadgets, but my favorites are Wah Wah Pedal, Dispersion, and Double Delay because Wah Wah Pedal produces wind force effect which enhances the quality of sound. Dispersion creates heavy sound, and Double Delay produces great sound effects. 


I have lots of guitars as well. My collection flaunts a 12-string Yamaha guitar, one Sahana Guitar, but my favorite is the Fender Strat. I have been using the Fender Strat guitar for the last 16 years. Though I already have lots of guitars, buying a double-neck guitar is on my bucket list.

Sunit Kansakar 
Vemuram Overdrive is my favorite because it provides a subtle drive and perfectly suits my style. I like well-saturated sound. The gadget is also similar to a tube amp. Similarly, flight time delay is also among my favorite gadgets. It has the capability of creating high-quality delay, and if you are into sound engineering, there’s a broad scope for its use.  There’s a lot of detailing possibilities with Vemuran Overdrive compared to a standard delay. 


Likewise, I also use the Zoom G3X for my sitar. I have lots of guitars including a Telecaster, but my favorite guitar is the US Stratocaster which I brought 2 years ago. I remember learning to play the guitar at the age of ten. My uncle and cousins taught me to play C, F, and G chords first.

Phiroj Shyangden
I am an avid follower of music. I use different gadgets depending on the type of music I need to produce, but my favorite three are delay, overdrive, and reverb. 


Speaking about guitars, I prefer Lespaul and PRS. I also like to use Taylor guitars during acoustic gigs. ‘Kati Kamjor Rahecha Bhagya’ by deep Shrestha, ‘Bipana Nabhai’ by Narayan Gopal and ‘Kahile Kahi Maan Ka Kura’ by Udit Narayan Jha are some of the songs that I learned to play during the starting of my guitaring journey.

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