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Igor Presnyakov plays classical guitar
January 15, 2010 12:00 AM   Subscribe

Classical guitar virtuoso Igor Presnyakov won't do what you tell him (NSFW/lyrics). But he will bring his unique style to an array of well-known songs: Bad Romance, Thriller, Beat It, Poker Face, Ain't No Sunshine, Isn't She Lovely.

More picks: Venus, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Hallelujah, Ironic, Love Story Theme, Hold The Line, Hole Hearted, Black Hole Sun, You Are Not Alone, Wishful Thinking. Igor plays Russian 7-String Guitar on Zorba The Greek/Sirtaki, Sokolov's Polka, Sabre dance. His blog.
posted by tomcooke (66 comments total) 100 users marked this as a favorite

 
In Soviet Russia, Igor plays YOU!

No, wait, that's not right... let me just come in again.
posted by bpm140 at 12:11 AM on January 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


His take on Poker Face is pro as hell. He's what I imagine Nouvelle Vague to be on their best days.
posted by zer0render at 12:29 AM on January 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Cool. Thanks for this, tom.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:36 AM on January 15, 2010


Absolutely awesome. From now on nobody is allowed to do a cover of "Sweet Child of Mine" unless they can do this.

Same goes for Smoke on the Water.
posted by mmoncur at 12:39 AM on January 15, 2010


Oh, what a difference a first name makes!

In Russia, a much more famous Presnyakov is this one (warning: the link leads to some questionable Russian pop music).
posted by wet-raspberry at 12:41 AM on January 15, 2010


Oh my god, he has a cover version of Popcorn by Hot Butter. That just made my day.
posted by mmoncur at 12:47 AM on January 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


That version of Killing in the Name transported me to some kind of alternate history of the late 1990s, where RATM's music was actually involved in the socialist revolution it seems to be calling for, and dudes like this in beat-up work clothes play their songs on illegal guitars while fighting a long and bloody guerilla action against outnumbered but better-funded capitalist forces.

So, cool, is what I'm getting at.
posted by pts at 12:49 AM on January 15, 2010 [12 favorites]


This guy is awesome, but if you want the absolute finest acoustic version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" you need to check out Mr. Laurence Juber. Makes this guy seem a little clumsy.

His whole Beatles album is just ridiculous.
posted by lattiboy at 12:55 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Money
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:13 AM on January 15, 2010


I love how he makes up for the rest of the band just by slapping the guitar in the right manner. Modern day hurdy gurdy and all that.
posted by hypersloth at 1:27 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is dope as hell. I was already in love with his Bad Romance cover before he dropped in the Rah-Rah-Rasputin.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:17 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love how he just gives little hints of the vocals you're expecting to hear.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:22 AM on January 15, 2010


Made my day! Thanks tomcooke.
posted by harmless at 2:28 AM on January 15, 2010


Fuckin lame. World class gurning, mind.
posted by the cuban at 2:29 AM on January 15, 2010


Loved his Poker Face cover, I wouldn't mind having that as an mp3.

Now all he needs to cover is Rasputin by Boney M.
posted by bwg at 3:00 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


My new pall Igor is so invited to the next bonfire when the weather warms up. I don't know if his mustache will make it through customs though.
posted by vapidave at 3:03 AM on January 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Popcorn was the first single I ever bought.

I liked it so much, I learned to play the main melody by hitting myself on the head with a dessert spoon.
posted by flabdablet at 4:21 AM on January 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Very nice. I'd love tablature to all of this.
posted by Jawn at 4:37 AM on January 15, 2010


is he really a "classical guitar virtuoso"? or just some guy who plays guitar arrangements of popular pieces? guy's got chops no doubt, but...
posted by valdesm at 5:17 AM on January 15, 2010


Lady GaGa needs to do an "unplugged" - her on piano, with this guy on guitar.
posted by yesster at 5:26 AM on January 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't know if his mustache will make it through customs though

Pardon me sir, is there a declaration form for 'awesome'?
posted by cavalier at 5:34 AM on January 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, that's it. MeFi has me so jaded that when I read "unique style", I automatically think, "Oh alright, let's take a look for a minute or two and see just how shitty this guy is".

*

This man's "unique style" is amazing! Right off the top, I linked to G&R's "Sweet Child of Mine", a song I really like, and if you had told me that Axl's voice could resonate in the strings of an acoustic 6-string classical guitar, I would have laughed out loud. Stopped laughing as soon as I saw this.

So to anyone else seeing "unique style" and thinking, "Right, here we go, a frickin' 'Tiny Tim' for the new millennium", pick a tune or two that you like and watch what this guy can do with it.

Thanks Tomcooke. In my chair, it's early Friday morning, but I suspect you've already made my day.
posted by Mike D at 5:43 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Makes this guy seem a little clumsy.

Nah, they're just two totally different styles. I prefer Iggy's. By miles and miles.

Now all he needs to cover is Rasputin by Boney M.

This, on the other hand, is fuckin-a-right-on.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:50 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is the sort of performer that makes me pick up my guitar. Marvelous.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 6:01 AM on January 15, 2010


I have no idea whether he will deliver the goods, but he looks like a trustworthy gent. He is selling mp3 packs on his blog.
posted by jefeweiss at 6:10 AM on January 15, 2010


Fuckin lame. World class gurning, mind.

You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but if you're going to go all negative, it would be educational and nice to offer some suggestions of performers who are not fucking lame.

We're all here to learn, after all, not just to show off and vent.

(Though now I know what gurning is, so I guess that's a plus for me.)
posted by IndigoJones at 6:16 AM on January 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


You! Yes, YOU mother fucker! Get out! Just get the fuck out of my store now, asshole!
posted by Pollomacho at 6:22 AM on January 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Funny, I was just thinking about learning to play the acoustic base guitar, as I don't know how to play an instrument, and playing something unusual might keep me motivated. Then I wondered how my favorite pop songs would sound on it.

MeFi, as usual, gets me 90% there. So I won't learn to play an instrument after all! Thanks!

Lady Gaga really should pick this guy up. He doesn't seem very likely to get angry and beat up audience members.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:39 AM on January 15, 2010


I'm digging his Another Brick in the Wall
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:58 AM on January 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Now all he needs to cover is Rasputin by Boney M.

I had no idea Boney M was responsible for that song. I first heard it from a Celtic group called Boiled in Lead. Great cover, too. Haven't found a stream of it anywhere, though.
posted by Decimask at 7:02 AM on January 15, 2010


This gives me a nice Christmas-y feeling.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:09 AM on January 15, 2010


His version of While my Guitar Gently Weeps is great, but Jake Shimabukuro's is still my favorite. Who needs those two extra strings, anyway?
posted by deadmessenger at 7:16 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's tempting to watch his hands. But watching his face...the way you can see in his head. What he is thinking, how he would be moving his body if he wasn't just sitting there. This is so inspirational.

Creativity and joy. And the guitar is just its means of escape.
posted by nickjadlowe at 7:19 AM on January 15, 2010


I Want to Break Free
posted by swift at 7:31 AM on January 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is it just me, or did hearing about his world class gurning make me like this even more? This guy is a holistic performer. The music and his movements make these videos truly great, much better than just an MP3.

Although, yeah, I would jog to this if I were the jogging type (too cold, too lazy).
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:34 AM on January 15, 2010


awesome. thanks for the post!
posted by Kwine at 8:36 AM on January 15, 2010


See also "Africa" by Andy McKee (originally by Toto)
posted by K.P. at 8:49 AM on January 15, 2010


It's nice to see I'm not the only person who adds a little Ra-ra-rasputin into Bad Romance. Igor needs do a bigger mash-up of the two. Does he do requests?
posted by vespabelle at 8:58 AM on January 15, 2010


Wait, he already covers Sunny, it's like he wants to do a Boney M/Lady Gaga Mashup!
posted by vespabelle at 9:11 AM on January 15, 2010


I'm stoked that so many people liked this, thanks for all the positive feedback! If you enjoyed this post you would almost certainly enjoy the one on Adam Rafferty that I did in 2008.
posted by tomcooke at 9:11 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Love those extended techniques, especially the percussion on the side of the guitar. Also his bass thumbing at the neck is pretty great.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:24 AM on January 15, 2010


It's funny you just wrote that,'cause I was going to write that he reminded me a little of Adam Rafferty.

Two things about this guy:

It's strange how he plays right on top of the frets, and I didn't know Takamine made guitars with open headstocks like his.

Nice tone and expression, though. I enjoyed it. Thanks.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:25 AM on January 15, 2010


Also love his barre fretting technique. He's right up there against the fret, every time.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:27 AM on January 15, 2010


on preview what Benny Andajetz said. It is weird. He is really right up in there, like his finger is a capo or something.

The best thing about youtube is the guitar videos IMHO
posted by Ironmouth at 9:28 AM on January 15, 2010


A+++++++ WOULD LISTEN AGAIN

Fascinating stuff. His technique gives it a unique voice, as well maintains the song's original vision (pick any song). He's really really good.
posted by grubi at 9:30 AM on January 15, 2010


Am I blind or did he actually remove the B and E strings to make it a bass for RATM?
posted by hypersloth at 9:30 AM on January 15, 2010


Absolutely awesome. From now on nobody is allowed to do a cover of "Sweet Child of Mine" unless they can do this .

Sad that the #1 related video is: Guitar Hero 2 - Sweet Child O' Mine - Expert, 230k
posted by Ironmouth at 9:34 AM on January 15, 2010


holy cow
posted by Flunkie at 9:35 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: World class gurning.

(That's my first one of those I'm not sure if I'm supposed to feel ashamed or proud.)
posted by edbles at 9:52 AM on January 15, 2010


... is he multi-tracking his voice?
posted by Decimask at 9:57 AM on January 15, 2010


This guy is freakin' awesome. The video Flunkie just posted is fantastic.
posted by maxwelton at 9:57 AM on January 15, 2010


Dude. Take Five.
posted by grubi at 10:15 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I liked tracking the changes to his facial hair over time.

Guitar playin' wasn't bad, but that is a great stop-motion study of how one ends up with (and loses) a fu-manchu.
posted by jenkinsEar at 10:21 AM on January 15, 2010


Yesterday was my first lesson, and not half an hour ago I was just trying to make my fingers do a D-major chord, and then I come upstairs and see this guy playin' all awesome. I can either take this as a.)something I will never be, so stop now OR b.)something awesome to shoot for. Option B it is!
posted by Monster_Zero at 11:16 AM on January 15, 2010


"I had no idea Boney M was responsible for that song. I first heard it from a Celtic group called Boiled in Lead."

Holy crap, me neither. I heard the song 15 years ago on the mighty WNCW and, after looking for it off and on in the Napster years, forgot all about it. Say what you will about iTunes--and believe me, I'd agree with you and shake your hand for saying it--throwing $.99 at Apple to finally get a copy of this song pushes Friday, January 15 into the WIN column.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:45 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone surprised that Boney M first hit with Rasputin obviously missed this show-stopper performed in front of an obviously mesmerized -- indeed catatonic -- Moscow nightclub audience.
posted by Mike D at 12:05 PM on January 15, 2010


See also "Africa" by Andy McKee (originally by Toto)

Someone get eamondaly in here stat!
posted by lholladay at 1:56 PM on January 15, 2010


Some really great stuff here, particularly impressed with his version of nothing else matters by Metallica. Love the use of the loop pedal for the percussion on some of the tracks..
posted by andrewnixon0 at 2:24 PM on January 15, 2010


valdesm, you got that right ... he's just playing a mic'd (piezo pickups) classical Takamine (hence the open headstock), Benny. He's good, I grant that, but come on, there's LOTS of good guitarists out there. (Just wish he didn't feel compelled to sing the last chorus of things ... )

More impressed by his cover of "Take Five" which seems more in line with his overall style and technique (and they DO all begin to "sound the same" after a while ... I've worked my way through all 117 of his videos, just to be fair)...Benson's "Breezin'" seems to fit him, too ...

But maybe that's just me ...
posted by aldus_manutius at 3:07 PM on January 15, 2010


Awesome vids, thanks for sharing.
posted by hellphish at 4:42 PM on January 15, 2010


Okay, but sounds like just about every other 'decent' guitarist who resorts to doing pop standards.

Face it, hot guitarists are a dime a dozen now.
posted by HTuttle at 6:19 PM on January 15, 2010


I can sleep happy tonight. This made my weekend.
posted by the cydonian at 6:45 PM on January 15, 2010


You Can Call Me Al is the best thing I've ever seen, possibly.
posted by swift at 6:50 PM on January 15, 2010


Wow. I can from the Frank Farina, Boney M post to see what the fuss was all about. The inspiration...

I'm really glad I did. Igor does it with feeling.
Check out his Seal's — Crazy, just WOW.

And yeah, that intro to AC/DC's Thunderstruck is .... well. Holy shit indeed.

Listened to quite a few of his songs. Quite the repertoire. The man truly gets it.

A pleasure.
posted by alicesshoe at 8:49 AM on January 16, 2010


I was watching one of these videos with my ten-year-old daughter.

"He makes it look like he's playing all the music himself," she said.

"He is. That's all just one guitar."

Her eyes widened. "I thought it was a whole band playing!"
posted by straight at 7:04 PM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


If she likes having her eyes widened by that kind of thing, turn her on to Tuck Andress.
posted by flabdablet at 11:26 PM on January 18, 2010


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