The musical equivalent of sneaking around MIT late at night, solving equations left scrawled on whiteboards
December 31, 2007 7:57 PM   Subscribe

You Don't Mess Around With Jim. And you don't mess around with the mysterious Fret Killer, performer of some of the best acoustic guitar playing to be found on YouTube. But who is he?

There are loads more great songs under the "Fret Killer" link. Happy New Year!
posted by teleskiving (30 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

Heh. It's actually "Fret Killr". Very web 2.0
posted by delmoi at 8:21 PM on December 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Dang. Who IS that masked man?

and.. is that guitar a Martin New Yorker?
posted by drhydro at 8:37 PM on December 31, 2007

This guy is swell -- thanks for the post! His voice is a bit reminiscent of Leo Kottke, just a bit. "O'Brien" is especially delightful.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:43 PM on December 31, 2007

The music is pretty cool, but he kinda comes off as a jerk. Anonymous and won't answer questions about music or equipment, and he doesn't take requests.

It would have taken him just as long to say what he's playing and using to record as it does to say he won't say, since it looks like he has the same set up in each video.

And what's the point of wanting to remain anonymous?

What an ass. I like him.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:01 PM on December 31, 2007

He's like a hundred back porch guitar players I've been around. Nothing special. But I like him.

He will never make money doing what he does...this has been talked to death on forums everywhere....

But I wish him the best of luck in lifting the spirits of music-hungry folks everywhere...the 'Net is a bigger back porch.
posted by kozad at 9:42 PM on December 31, 2007

Take a gander here for Hoyt Axton's Greenback Dollar. It's delicious. And the mystery man sings.
posted by ZaneJ. at 9:45 PM on December 31, 2007

This guy does everything I ever wanted to do on the guitar. Makes me feel young again...

Great find. Best of the Web!
posted by RussHy at 9:59 PM on December 31, 2007


posted by Devils Slide at 10:26 PM on December 31, 2007

Masked equation solver: Nah. The guy whom it'd be fun to have some beers with at a small get-together barbecue-type thing: Yah. Nice song selection, and I like his voice.
posted by not_on_display at 11:05 PM on December 31, 2007

His Auld Lang Syne was the perfect end to my evening.
posted by HeroZero at 12:27 AM on January 1, 2008

I dunno, it's decent, but very pattern-bound. The left hand has a neat dynamism to it.

Not exactly John Lee or the Rev Gary Davis though.
posted by Wolof at 1:07 AM on January 1, 2008

He's got some passion in his playing and singing, which is more than can be said of 99% of what you hear. There's always someone better, but it's nice to hear some unadorned feeling.
posted by wsg at 1:19 AM on January 1, 2008

It's funny how I'll get sick of Metafilter because of the unrelenting cynicism, and then a post like this will pull me back in. Happy new year, everyone. Try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt in 2008.
posted by waxpancake at 1:41 AM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Will we see him in a Dr. Pepper commercial soon?
posted by chillmost at 5:36 AM on January 1, 2008

waxpancake, the secret with metafilter is to completely ignore all the comments (just like one would when surfing youtube).
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:37 AM on January 1, 2008

I wasn't completely sold until I watched this one. That's damn good.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:13 AM on January 1, 2008

and.. is that guitar a Martin New Yorker?

He plays a few different ones, at least one of which (his favorite, it seems) is a lower-end Taylor grand auditorium, like a 214. Same thing I play, incidentally, though he certainly plays it much better.
posted by supercres at 8:21 AM on January 1, 2008

I love his cover of Nature's Way.

By the way I just started an Eventful Demand for fretkillr!

If you want fretkillr to come to your town to perform, DEMAND IT and who knows, maybe we can all get enough people demanding in various cities for it to be worth fretkillr's while? It would make a great story, that's for sure.
posted by brianstorms at 9:08 AM on January 1, 2008




He's fantastic!!! I'm in love! It's sublime! Thank you dear teleskiving. Listening to his Jingle Bells tears popped into my eyes and I don't especially like Jingle damn Bells. I love his music. And on Daydream, linked above, he plays, sings brilliantly, whistles perfectly and plays blues harp too. Dang. The guy's a genius. And he's got sexy arms and hands too. Feeling that hormonal rush. woo hoo.

You know it's funny, when it comes to guitar posts it's as if envy and competitiveness combined with testosterone turns young male commenters into blunt naysayers. The thing with a great musician is that it's not just about technical skill, it's a combination of finesse, appeal and elegance, which I think FretKillr has.

His pages of videos is something I'm going to regularly visit. His Tabourine Man. Norwegian Wood. Here with a tantalizing view of his bearded chin. Love his voice. *sigh

I'd buy his CD for sure.

Lovely way to start off the year.
posted by nickyskye at 11:42 AM on January 1, 2008

Not bad, but let's see him do it on Expert level.
posted by LordSludge at 11:55 AM on January 1, 2008 [6 favorites]

I'm happy that people are enjoying this guy. To my ear, he is the most musical guitarist I have learned of in a long time.

nickyskye, did you see my Isaac Guillory post last summer? He's another fantastic guitarist who provoked quite a few wistful sighs from female audience members in his time. And you can see his face!
posted by teleskiving at 1:52 PM on January 1, 2008

Nice find, teleskiving.
posted by Quietgal at 6:50 PM on January 1, 2008

If you want to be able to carry these performances around with you, will convert flv files to mp3, avi, mp3, 3gp, mp4, or mov format.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:29 PM on January 1, 2008

teleskiving, Thanks for the tip about Isaac Guillory. Enjoyed his music too. Don't get the rush though, too skinny, too wistful, ethereal but still superb. Sorry to hear he died young of cancer. What CD of his do you most recommend? Can respect he was more technically skilled but I like FretKillr's singing and style better, more meat there, more heft to his style. Here doing Reason To Believe. He has a fine voice.
posted by nickyskye at 8:57 PM on January 1, 2008

Harmonicakillr, too?

(fun song)
posted by Exchequer at 9:55 PM on January 1, 2008

Can respect he was more technically skilled but I like FretKillr's singing and style better, more meat there, more heft to his style.

In that case, you would probably particularly the album Solo, which has a distinctly heavier and more percussive technique than his later stuff. In terms of kind of gut-level emotional response it's my favorite as well, but the others, especially Live and Slow Down are also well worth getting, I've listened to them over and over again.

You should definitely download the whole set from the concert that provided those YouTube clips: go to and click on the "Home" button, then click on the little animated picture of Isaac that appears on the main page. There's an unbelievable version of People Get Ready at the end.
posted by teleskiving at 1:27 AM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the Isaac Guillory reminder. I was just looking for him the other night and couldn't remember who it was.
posted by wsg at 11:02 AM on January 2, 2008

Thanks teleskiving for the great Isaac Guillory online listening and CD tips. Much appreciated. The music is loading right now, eager to hear the track you suggested.
posted by nickyskye at 6:04 PM on January 2, 2008

It's a pleasure to have any opportunity to talk about Isaac. His music was the reason I first picked up an acoustic guitar back in 1994. In the late nineties I had the privilege to see him perform live which was an amazing experience and a memory that I really treasure.

Also, I forgot to mention, if you click on the "Play" link from you can hear quite a few tracks from Isaac's albums - just let the .m3u load into Windows Media Player or equivalent and you should then see a list of tracks you can navigate.
posted by teleskiving at 1:13 AM on January 3, 2008

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