Thursday, 10 November 2011

Guitarists - Excuse me while I kiss the sky!

Continuing with my series on musicians (my last blog focused on drummers), I'm going to follow up with guitarists. I'm writing this as a joint blog with my friend Jay David Hauser, who also happens to be a guitarist himself.

Jay David
In no particular order, some of my favourite guitarists include the following:

  • Joe Satriani
  • Steve Vai
  • Chris Henderson (3 Doors Down guitarist)
  • John Petrucci
  • Jack Thammarat (Youtube sensation)
There are plenty more guitarist which I think have great styles and tones but the guitarists above have stood out the most.The way I relate to music is by how the music makes me feel. That may sound silly, but lets forget the 'Yeah, this has a cool beat' type of music, and try to relate to how a piece of music makes your soul feel.

Satriani / Vai
Joe Satriani and Steve Vai are very talented regarding styles and tone. Two people who know what they are doing. Satriani and Vai are both masters of expressing emotions through a guitar, with the notes they play and the melodies they perform. I promise, nothing is as easy and peaceful to listen to, even when they turn on the distortion. Both guitarists have outstanding knowledge of the guitar as an instrument and musical theory but their style is what makes them unique. Now I say unique, but comparing Satriani's style to Vai's, they are very similar but, remember, Joe did teach Steve how to play.

Chris Henderson - my hero
Chris Henderson has always stood out for me in 3 Doors Down. I personally love his style, the tone and the music that he helps create. I have been fortunate enough to have had a conversation over Facebook with Chris in the past and what a great guy. He started playing guitar from the age of 6 and can play pretty much any genre you place in front of him. Chris believes it is important to learn many styles and genres to help advance as a player. As a guitarist myself, I have taken on board Chris's advice and I'll be honest, it has paid off. Other than the wide variety of musical talent this guy has, he does make it look cool when performing.

John Petrucci
John Petrucci is a fabulous guitarist, though I do feel he doesn't rock out and show his feeling and emotions while playing. His style and playing alone are simply enough to entertain a whole audience.

I do not know much of Johns background with styles etc, but what I do know is that there is a hint of Satriani and Vai in his playing.

One of my favorite tracks in which John has recorded would be Acid Rain by Liquid Tension Experiment:

Jack Thammarat
Jack Thammarat is an amazing guitarist. I first spotted him on Youtube and was automatically attracted to his music. He entered Guitar Idol (sponsored by Youtube) in 2009 which he won. As a guitar teacher himself, Jack pulls out the techniques, the style and the passion that any musician strives for, which I suppose is why I like him.

Here is one of my favorite tracks by Jack:

As with my blog about my favourite drummers, there just isn't room for me to list all of my favourite guitarists. So instead I'll pick just a few, and write about some of the others in a future blog(s). I tend to favour guitarists who have good feel, as well as technique. I like guitarists who have a great tone to their playing and can come up with interesting guitar parts or solos.

Jimi Hendrix
Arguably the greatest guitarist of all time. His style of playing has influenced entire generations of guitarists. The Jimi Hendrix Experience released their first single in 1966, 'Hey Joe,' followed by the truly dynamic 'Purple Haze' and an astonishing debut album Are You Experienced.

He was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter. He is widely considered to be the greatest guitarist in musical history,and one of the most influential musicians of his era across a range of genres -

The Experience enjoyed reverential audiences on America's concert circuit and Axis: Bold As Love emerged in December 1967, completing a triumphant year. Electric Ladyland, the last official Experience album was released in October 1968.

Hendrix synthesized many styles in creating his musical voice and his guitar style was unique, later to be abundantly imitated by others. Despite his hectic touring schedule and notorious perfectionism, he was a prolific recording artist and left behind more than 300 unreleased recordings -

In 1992, Hendrix was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award -

John Frusciante
In 1989, eighteen year old John Frusciante, a bedroom-guitar prodigy from California's San Fernando Valley who had never played in a group before, auditioned for his favorite band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He got the gig — replacing Hillel Slovak, who died of a drug overdose in 1988 — and transformed the Peppers' punk funk into muscular arena pop. On the 1992 multi platinum album, BloodSugarSexMagik, Frusciante fortified the band's bone-hard grooves with a mix of Hendrixian force and, in the hit ballad "Under the Bridge," poignant Beatlesque melody. When Frusciante abruptly quit the Peppers in the middle of a Japanese tour in 1992, he left a big hole in the group's sound that was only filled with his drug-free return on the Peppers' 1999 comeback album, Californication.

Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa was a drummer (at age twelve) and composer (writing a string quartet in his teens) before he got serious about the guitar. But in his more than four decades on stage and record, Zappa — who died in 1993 — soloed with the same discipline and experimental appetite that he applied to the rest of his legacy: symphonies, doo-wop parody, big-band fusion and sociopolitical satire. For a man who ran his Mothers of Invention with an iron fist, Zappa was actually an improviser who combined the melodic rigor of his orchestral ideals with 1950s RandB.

Steve Vai
Steve Vai is one of the most precociously talented guitarists of any generation. Vai was a pupil of Joe Satriani as a teenager and studied at The Berklee School of Music before moving to Los Angeles at age 19. He was a huge fan of Frank Zappa's and joined Zappa's band after proving that he knew most of the repertoire and could transcribe orchestral pieces by ear. Zappa credited him on albums as the "stunt guitarist." He released the self-produced Flex-Able in 1984, combining his Zappa and Satriani influences, and went on to play with Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth, and Whitesnake.

Carlos Santana
The pure tone of Santana's guitar is among the most recognizable sounds in popular music. A towering musician who brought Latin rhythms and jazz improvisation to rock, Santana formed the first lineup of his band in 1968. His varied influences — from Mike Bloomfield and Peter Green to Miles Davis and John Coltrane — resulted in a singularly innovative approach. Santana's style of playing encompasses musical sections that culminate in (often lengthy) sustained notes. From Santana's career-breakthrough performance at Woodstock in 1969 to the 2000 Grammys — where he won eight awards for Supernatural, tying Michael Jackson's record — Santana has remained a compelling musician.

These are just a few of the guitarists that we admire and enjoy listening to. I'll hopefully follow up this blog with further guitarists. Following on from drummers and guitarists, I intend to write about bass players, singers and songwriters next (but not necessarily in that order). So watch this space.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011



It's Movember, the month formerly known as November, now dedicated to growing moustaches and raising awareness and funds for men's health; specifically prostate and testicular cancer. I'm donating my top lip to the cause for 30 days in an effort to help change the face of men's health. My Mo will spark conversations, and no doubt generate some laughs; all in the name of raising vital awareness and funds for cancer's affecting men.

Why am I so passionate about men's health? 

  • 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime 
  • This year 37,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed 
  • 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime 
  • 26% of men are less likely to go the doctor compared to women

I'm asking you to support my Movember campaign by making a donation by either: 

Donating online at:

If you want to go old school you can write a cheque payable to 'Movember', reference my name and Registration Number 1646128 and send it to: Movember Europe, PO Box 68600, London, EC1P 1EF

If you'd like to find out more about the type of work you'd be helping to fund by supporting Movember, take a look at the Programmes We Fund section on the Movember website:

Thank you in advance for supporting my efforts to change the face of men's health.