‘Acoustic Ninja’ Trace Bundy can do amazing things with a fretboard

Trace Bundy’s music flows through loops, aps, slaps and fingerpicking

It’s not uncommon to see fingerstyle guitarist Trace Bundy performing with three or four capos protruding from his fretboard. He does wacky and wonderful things with the key-changing accessories, which have inspired song titles like “Becca and the Blue Capo,” “Hot Capo Stew” (both on his 2008 album “Missile Bell”) and “Tres Capos” (on 2012’s playful “Elephant King.”).

Capos have become as much a part of his entertaining onstage shtick as wisecracks and using his iPhone like an instrument. Bundy stopped playing with a guitar pick when he realized he could do more with just his fingers. Loops and effects help expand his rhythmic options and sound, but his tapping, slapping and stunningly nimble fingerpicking keep attention riveted on his fretboard. “Acoustic Ninja” is a song title from his third album, 2004’s “Adapt,” and the nickname he’s been marketed with since.

Recently returned from a Chinese tour, Bundy is an instrumental guitarist in the style of the late Michael Hedges, mixing sophisticated original compositions with covers of classic rock tunes such as Guns N Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” that lend themselves to his acoustic treatment.

At home in Colorado, Bundy’s annual Acoustic Holiday shows have been a tradition since 2009 (a tradition he continues this year with dates in Colorado Springs and Boulder). He’s released a couple of Christmas albums — 1999’s “O Night Divine” and the 2007 EP “A Few Songs for Christmas” — so he’s likely to pull out at least some holiday tunes this Sunday at McCabe’s. ’Tis the season.

— Bliss Bowen

Trace Bundy performs at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at McCabe’s Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. Tickets are $25. Call (310) 828-4497 or visit tracebundy.com.

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