Martin Winch: State Of “Kashmir”
Martin Winch is one of those great discoveries whose music has a way of warming the
heart. With his nylon guitar playing, one
cannot help but feel inspired to participate
in the experience. His appealing style of
ambient, acoustic and electric guitar melodies—reminiscent of Larry Carlton’s tone
and feel—really draws you in, to say the
least. When I stumbled upon this guitarist
from New Zealand, I thought he would be
a wonderful addition to the Guitar Masters
A veteran of the music business for over
thirty-five years, Winch has released five
solo albums on his own, and he teaches all
styles of guitar. His home recording studio
has produced and composed music for
commercials, documentaries and AV productions. One of these is the popular New
Zealand Toyota commercial “Welcome to
our World,” which showcases his various
styles, ranging from country to raunchy
rock, from folk to jazz.
He’s worked in several New Zealand groups,
including Dr. Tree (Jazz Album of the Year
1976), Mike Harvey’s Salty Dogg, and later
the famous “1860 Band” in Wellington.
He also appeared at two Montreux Jazz
Festivals with the Roger Fox Big Band, and
was honored with the of “Guitarist of the
Year” award in Auckland, New Zealand
in1999. Winch was also a part of The Club
21 resident band Billboard in the mid-eighties. I talked with Winch about his wonderful acoustic rendition of the Zeppelin tune
“Kashmir,” and got the low down on his
Setup for Recording “Kashmir”
My initial demo of “Kashmir” was an electric version more like the original, but I
decided I hadn’t changed it enough to
warrant anyone being interested in it. So I
just started programming Middle Eastern
drum samples to give it a more exotic flavor. I decided to try it with acoustic guitars
rather than electric, and it seemed to work.
The solo sections, although they don’t
sound like it, are still based on the chords
that Led Zep used. I used MIDI from an
old Atari computer program for all of the
other instruments. It will die on me one
day, but until then I will continue to use it.
The main sound modules I use are a Roland
1080 fitted with sound cards for bass and
drums, and a Yamaha Motif rack. My studio
is pretty small, so there is not enough room
for drum kits and big amps.
A veteran of the
for over thirty-five
years, Winch has
released five solo
albums on his own,
and he teaches all
styles of guitar.
I used my own home studio to record everything, with a selection of mics by AKG, CAD
and Studio Projects (all condenser mics).
My mic preamp is locally made by DJR,
featuring Neve-style EQ options. I generally
record in stereo with two mics on the guitar
quite close, to avoid any fan or other noise
from the PC.
On the recording of “Kashmir” I used four
acoustic guitars: a Seagull Grand Artist
(parlor style guitar) for all the rhythm
chord parts; a Matsuoka nylon guitar for
the first ad lib section; and a Martin D- 35
for the second ad lib section. The slide
melody was played on a 1980 Epiphone
semi-acoustic with the action raised up
high using a large Allen key under the
strings! There is also a lick in there recorded on a Hofner 6-string banjo.
My recording equipment is all PC-based,
and I use Cubase to record with. I have lots
of software for effects and mixing. I have
Yamaha NS10s and a pair of Yorkville ported
monitors for near field mixing, and some
large RCF speakers for the big sound.
I am completely self-taught both on the guitar and as a sound engineer, and have spent
most of my life doing one or the other. (I
will be sixty next year and am keen to keep
going with music!)
Recent and new projects
I am currently planning an album of easy-on-the-ear tunes, with lots of strings and
me playing mostly nylon guitar. I have, in
the past, had some success with this type
of album in New Zealand and Australia,
but unfortunately we weren’t able to get a
release in the US.
Luckily, Martin Winch’s version of “Kashmir”
is on the compilation Get the Led Out! Led
Zeppelin Salute, which is available in the US.
Plus, for a healthy sampling of his tunes, you
can visit his site at martinwinch.com.
Emmy Award winning guitarist Brian Tarquin scored a
Top 20 hit in the nineties with The Best of Acid Jazz,
vol. 2 on Instinct Records and enjoyed several top 10
hits on the R&R charts. Founder of the rock/electronica
band, Asphalt Jungle, Tarquin has scored TV music for
such shows as CSI, Smallville, MTV, Alias, 24, All My
Children and many others.