“The Voice” Guitarist Loves His Gibsons
Brazilian guitar sensation Rafael Moreira is the true representation of a diverse musician. Infinitely creative, this guitarist, vocalist and producer prides himself with an incredible pedigree of accomplishments working not only independently, but with many of the world’s most influential musical elite.
Currently, Moreira thrives in his latest musical undertaking as lead guitarist for NBC’s hit-maker “The Voice”. Relishing the intense working environment alongside other equally gifted musicians; his diverse playing style is well suited for the overwhelming task of facilitating contestants through songs in varied genres. With little room for improvisation, Moreira’s creativity shines conversely in music where the original version has little to no guitar tracks. Here, he is unrestricted in embellishing the music, allowing it to breathe and flow in a new direction.
No stranger to network singing competitions, Rafael has staked his claim as the guitarist of choice providing a similar role for CBS’s Rock Star: INXS (2005) and Rock Star: Supernova (2006), MTV’s Rock the Cradle (2008) as well as FOX’s American Idol during its ‘rock week’ performances (2009).
However, when not in the ‘house band’ setting, Moreira stands firm and confident atop many world stages supporting a list of today’s pop/rock icons. With seamless adaptability, he has provided both sizzling guitar chops and supporting vocals on global tours for Paul Stanley (KISS), Don Felder (Eagles), Pink, Christina Aguilera, Natasha Bedingfield, Colbie Calliat, Sheryl Crow and more recently the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block. Beyond this list, Rafael’s network of musical colleagues and experiences is even more expansive and ever-growing.
With this universal exposure added to his innate talent, in 2009 Rafael was able to fulfill his youthful dream of landing on the cover of Guitar Player Magazine. Here he discussed how he independently marketed, promoted and distributed his first instrumental album “Acid Guitar” in 2005 and his subsequent release “Songs About the World” with his electrifying band Magnetico in 2009. Working diligently in the studio when his schedule allows, he hopes to deliver his latest cutting-edge album to eager Magnetico fans in early 2013. Here, he will showcase his blistering guitar proficiency once again, but with a heavy, yet more melodic feel. Also, along with a new rhythm section, Moreira collaborates with other exceptional musicians and songwriters that he hopes will broaden the boundaries of creativity even further.
As with all guitarists, their gear is what helps define them. It innately expresses the ‘sound’ which they search for and continually look to perfect. Moreira’s affiliation with Gibson is undeniable as his hand-picked pieces help to facilitate the many distinct projects he is involved in. His cherished ’56, ’57, ’58 and ’59 custom shop Les Pauls he states “... are incredibly well made, durable and give me that well-rounded tone”. His 1970 “L6” reissue complete with dual humbuckers and six-position pickup selector allows for incredible tone control and gives him that “crunchy” attack which he uses so often.
For a wider range of colour, Rafael reaches for his Gibson 355 or 356, both with custom necks, when looking for an r & b or classic rock feel and an ES 345 for a more early-traditional rock & roll tone. His vintage Firebird VII, fitted with three high- output mini humbuckers, Maestro “Lyre” Vibrola tailpiece and an incredibly long, flat neck, serve him well when incorporating slide work, especially in the higher fret range. Hopeful to unleash his own signature Gibson Les Paul in the future, Moreira proposes that his version of the iconic guitar would include an expressive whammy bar and a maple fret board.
Today, Rafael is open to where life leads him. Always unrestricted to new and uncharted opportunities, he confidently notes, “When creativity knocks, I always let it in.” Viewing his music and career choice not simply as a business or starry-eyed venture, he considers it an art in its truest sense of the word. He sincerely believes that whatever effort or energy he puts forth, will return to him the rewards which reflect his commitment to his art. In his own words, “I play music because I love it ... and let the universe do the rest.”
Photos: Gilad Koriski