Orianthi Panagaris started playing guitar at around age 6 and graduated to electric guitar around age 12. By age 15 Orianthi was impressing many people with her playing.

Orianthi Panagaris
Orianthi Panagaris

Carlos Santana gave Orianthi a big boost when he invited her to play with his band at a concert and then helped pave the way for her to enter the California music elite. Steve Vai rates Orianthi, so much so they have written music together and take part in “friendly” guitar duels. And, famously, Michael Jackson chose Orianthi to be his guitarist for the planned This Is It concert series.

The important part of the name-dropping is that these guys are some of the best musicians in the world. Santana says there is no-one better to pass his baton to than Orianthi.

There are guitarists who can shred and lightning fast at that – Vai, Page, Clapton, etcetera.

Then there are guitarists who can bend notes like the strings are hot-wired to their brain. Jeff Beck is possibly the most notable practitioner who can infuse his playing with such craft and soul that there is much more than a flash guitar riff.

Orianthi is as good as Beck! Bold claim, I know, but Santana agrees. He says Orianthi can bend notes like no other.

But, and this is a big BUT, the note bending is not about technique. It is about feel. Orianthi, and Beck and Santana and Vai of course, can capture a host of emotion in a few passages. They feel the music rather than just play it. And Orianthi is the current star of making that electric guitar earn its keep.

Go listen, people. There’s an Orianthi channel on YouTube and this includes clips for Orianthi’s solo album Believe: http://www.youtube.com/user/officialorianthi

There are also a few clips from Orianthi at the PRS Guitar booth at NAMM plus some onstage jams with Santana, starting here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQKvyqG7Nc4

Plus you can check Orianthi’s official site here: http://www.orianthi.com/