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LANEY IN GERMANY: Michael Brettner

When you picked up the guitar, how did you go from wanting to do it as a hobby to wanting to do it as a career?
That was from day one when I started playing guitar, I was probably around 14 years old. My mum played guitar, we had this electric SG and an old amplifier. I never touched it as a kid, wasn’t interested, then one day I heard Iron Maiden the first album, I was 11 years old, I dived into the music and I was totally crazy about it as I was before with AC/DC but Iron Maiden really kicked me to get involved with music. I thought ‘How does this work?’ I wanted to feel the energy of the audience when you are on a stage, so I picked up the guitar and started learning all the Adrian Smith licks and riffs, I was into Dire Straights and all this sort of stuff. Then there was a point at school where I realised I was not able to live a life where you get up in the morning, go to work at 9, finish at 5 so then you go to your football club or you go to your bar and that was never my imagination of lifestyle. My imagination of lifestyle was; I get up, if it’s 3am or 12pm, it doesn’t matter, I want to get up with the stuff that I love. If it’s Monday or Friday it doesn’t matter. Every day is great for me because I am a musician and I do what I love for a living. That is why I do it because I am poassionate about it. It’s sometimes hard to keep the passion in the music business today. If you transform the music fan from a fan to msuciian there really is a lot of stuff that you have to put aside here and there in order to make a living. Sometimes it is a case of head over heart in  order to survive and keep the balance. But if you get the right balance it is perfect, but getting that balance always depends on you. I could sit here and say ‘yeah the 80’s were the best and today it is bad because the music business isn’t what it was’ I think the music business was always bad. The music business has always been exactly that, a business, from the 50’s to now, you’ve always had the controller at the top giving orders to make money, these people might say ‘oh yes take that guitar solo out there’ and this is purely just to make money but if it damages the song then why would you do that if your passionate about the craft and art that is music? I could argue about this every day but I don’t do it because when I am up on stage and I play a guitar solo the people yell! If I’m playing infront of 12,000 people or to 50 people, I walk into the middle of the stage and people still go crazy! I don’t complain about the commercial element or the chart music because I understand that when a person sees good live music it ignites something that nothing else can.

You’ve played all around the world, how do fans in Germany compare to others?
I think it depends on the musical taste, I think if you play really honest rock and roll stuff it doesn’t matter where you are. Everyone feels that kind of energy. It’s not about the hip stuff or the trendy music, when you play true rock and roll people react to it, because people react to energy and music is energy. Music is a transformation of emotion into tone. The music of today I’m not sure if it still tranfers that same energy in the same way as guitar music did back in the cool days of the 70’s or 80’s or whatever but I think if you play cool music that people like the reaction is the same anywhere you go in the world. People freak out and listen, I always say don’t try and impress people, try and touch people. If you touch someone with your music it goes through their ears and straight to their heart. That is the pure musician in us all. It doesn’t matter if you are the guy on stage like me, the person on the front row or the guy right at the back of the venue, we are all there because we have a passion for music and because we connect with music in a way we connect with nothing else.
I started playing guitar because I loved it, and I still love it. If someone says “hey do you want to grab a guitar and play?” I am IN! If I’m sat at home on the sofa and I get a call to go to a rehearsal or a gig I go for it, I think you have to!

Some people say the worst thing that has ever happened to music is the internet, but also other people say the same reason is why the internet is the best thing to ever happen to music. How do you feel about so much access to music in the modern world?
When I found out about a thing called Guitar Pro it completely blew my mind, that my thing! When I found it 6 or 7 years ago I could not believe myself, some crazy guy has sat and transcribed a classical piece that I could never have played accurately and so quickly before, but now I can, and I can do it whenever the spark of imagination strikes. I don’t have to go and find a music book because it is all there online. I think it is a great thing, everybody has access to it and everyone is able to have input on music. YouTube for example, wow, I am a huge YouTube fan. All the great guitar players use it, if I want to find something really obscure, I go on there and I can find it. It is a gift.

When you’re playing live do you change guitars?
I’m a nerd! To me, there are firstly some very important components that you have. First is your fingers, second is guitar, third is the amplifier. It is a chain that works together, it’s not that one is more important than the others but they have to work in harmony together. I am a freak about the traditional guitars. I love a Les Paul, Stratocaster, Telecaster, but here and there I like to play a modern strat you know with a cool tremolo system and I have an endorsement with Comparison which is the most awesome guitars, they’re really good work horse and then at the moment I have a set up of two Comparison, a special guitar made by Fender which is an amazing thing. I use open tuning for certain slide stuff and if I could I would take my vintage Les Paul on tour but it is too precious! I have an oeiginal Joe Perry Les Paul which was previously owned by Joe Perry and is one of only 200 worldwide. The first years I played the big gigs I used to take it with me, which to hear me say now is so crazy. Now I only play it at a gig where I carry it in and out of the venue myself as it is too precious for there to be any chance of it getting damage, stolen or lost!

What is your signal path?
From guitar I go down into the tuner, I use a BOSS TU-3, it’s the only tuner I trust. Then I use a full tone wah pedal, then a dual-drive which is an amazing pedal created by an amazing technician. Then I use a univibe hand made in Germany by a guy called Marcus Bekker. Then I use a chorus which is hand made in Poland which is called EXR, it sounds awesome. I use some BOSS delays, the old tape delay pedals and now I use a new BOSS delay. From that I go directly into my Laney Lionheart L20H and I use the LT212 cabinet also.
When I started I had an old amp from the 60’s, but in the late 80’s and early 90’s the guitar magazines started saying about the new transistor amps “If you don’t play one of these type amps, then you’re not a proper guitar player” so I put it up for sale and then bought a small Laney transistor amp, which I fell in love with and I still love that amps sound, but now I think, you know what, NOW I have the best sound I have ever had.
I have my L20H and when I stand on stage, I am smiling, it doesn’t matter where you are on stage it sounds awesome. I love that amp. I play stadium gigs with a 20 watt Lionheart head. It is so true to the sound of a guitar I don’t need anything more. It is the perfect little amp. And it is still not on the maximum, I play it with about 5 or 6 on gain and volume and it sounds incredible.

How did you settle on that rig?
I realised these were a great combination in the last few years. I played a Bi-Amping system and we changed the set to a more country and rock style and I tested the system which had my Laney TI100 Tony Iommi signature head and the Lionheart together but I found that when I played the Lionheart just on its own, perfect. You know sometimes less is more. I found the Lionheart and it just works. We practice in the recording studio two months ago and my very dear friend who is in the band Claus, he is an amazing guitarist and is crazy about his pedals and gear, you ask him something and he can tell you everything about any piece of equipment. We were talking and he loved the sound of my guitar, which is high praise from a guy who knows so much about equipment and gear and he said: “That sound, that sound is incredible.” So, I knew I had a combination of something very special so I kept it.

What is one piece of equipment you couldn’t live without?
Of course my head. The Lionheart is the base of the sound.The most important compliment is that one thing that transforms your sound. If you don’t have that good clean channel that transports all the signals that you are sending, you can forget about the best guitar, the best pedals or whatever because that has to be the best possible.

Do you have any pre-gig rituals?
I have actually two rituals. The first is a gathering before the show and we have a shot of rum! The second is very important to me and actually means the most to me; every time I am on stage I have this short moment where I look at the audience or the sky and I say ‘Thank You’. Thank you for letting me do the job I always dreamt of. I am convicned that the best guitar player in the world works in a bakery or something and they don’t know they are the best guitar player in the world, they might not even play guitar! But for that reason I have such a deep thankfulness for my job. Not many people can say they love their job but I really do and I am very grateful and thankful for that.

When was the last time you read a user manual?
Oh my goodness! It must be years and years ago, I never read them, I just want to get in to the piece of equipment and check it out. Manuals can be useful but I never read them!

What was the last album you bought or listened to?
Biffy Clyro. I adore Biffy, it shows me that even in the hard times today you can still get great music out there and it can be hugely successful and be appreciated. Shows that you can still headline these huge shows and stand there and actually play a guitar. These bands like Muse, Biffy and Foo Fighters, my goodness look at Dave Grohl, the guy breaks his leg on stage, gets it strapped up and finished the gig sat on a chair before going to the hospital. That for me shows the true consummate professional and passionate musician. He is doing it for his fans, for his love for the music and that is exactly why we should all be doing it!

Do you have any tips for aspiring musicians?
Well we are here in the Rockademy in Cologne, the Rockademy is a future music school, I run this with my good friend and incredible musician Christian Besch, a very successful keyboard player. The kids that come here have the mix of him and me, we teach them all the technologies of recording and we like to combine the good stuff from the future and the past. We give the kids a chance to be themselves, to create music and start their dream with the best foundations possible.
Most important advice I give to my students or anyone who is starting their journey in music is: make your own stuff, be creative! It is the most important thing to be creative. Rock and roll lifestyle is not rock and roll, the music is rock and roll, the music should beam you to another place and not the lifestyle. If you want to be a musican you should do it for the music and nothing else. Music saved my life and I tell my kids this. I got into music just as other kids started to experiment with things and get into trouble but for me I was sitting at home playing guitar. People would make jokes or fun of me but it focussed me and made me realise I had to focus on this dream of playing guitar for a living. I feel a lot of pity now to the kids that didn’t focus their energy and time into something useful and productive.


How did you start in the music industry?
It started when I was a kid, my father was a drummer, he played in different beat-groups that played for the American barracks, so I started playing drums initially but then I wanted to do something different from my Father so I switched to guitar and I think since I was 15 it was very clear to me that I want to study music and become a musician. I played in school bands and then I went to the conservatoire and studied jazz guitar, the only options at that time were classical or jazz, I chose jazz because I thought that it was a little bit closer to rock music than perhaps classical guitar. I studied for five years and then I went to New York and took some lessons with Mike Stern which really developed me as a player. Then I returned to Germany and a friend of mine asked me to do a tour with an artist that was quite popular around 2005/2006, at this time reggae was quite popular in Germany, so I played in the reggae group and we became the band for this studio where all these artists were from, we started touring and playing some big shows, at the same time I started playing guitar for musicals and teaching, everything you have to do to be a professional musician, which included some unpleasant stuff but generally I have always loved my experiences with music.

How do you feel your relationship with music has changed since you started?
Well since I am a guitarist and no the singer and the frontman I am not really concerned about the business side of it, I just do what I can do best and I try not to be too concerned about that sort of thing. I’m probably too old to really know what people want to hear these days or what can be sold but generally I think that musicians have a different focus from the music industry bosses. They probably will never understand me I will never understand them, and I don’t want to!

Do you feel there are certain elements of music that should be focussed on more than others?
Well I’m not too sure if you can educate people towards listening to more interesting music, but then on the other side you have artists like Prince or John Mayer or Muse who manage to combine making good music but also have a commercial approach to it that people connect with. That is the highest level for me that a musician can achieve, maintaining your integrity but still push the boundaries of both music and society.

How do fans differ around the world?
When I have toured around the globe I have a very special vantage point as a guitarist at the back of the stage. I get to see things from a completely different perspective, for example when touring with the reggae groups I found that in Cuba or Mexico, it seems that the poorer the country, the more grateful the people are for the music. Whether this is because of the location, so less bands tour to these places, especially bands from western Europe but it seems that they appreciate a musician more, these countries where music is so vivid they really seem to come alive when they hear live music. In Germany it is possibly a part of the German mentality that they seem to over criticize an act but the younger people accept all types of music much more frequently than an older person would but I think that is just a case of age teaches you to be less open to new experiences and listening opportunities.

What is your signal path?
I play Ibanez guitars, then I go into my pedalboard, I put a patch bay on my pedalboard so I have a switching system, I use both channels of the Laney IRT60H, but I have a patch bay so I can use the four cable method. Doing this I can put pedals before the pre-amp but also after it, and after the power-amp.

One piece of equipment you couldn’t live without?
GUITAR! Well it’s hard to say, of course I couldn’t play without the guitar, but also the head, cabinet or cable, so it’s hard to say as I need all these elements to get my sound! I could probably live without pedals, they’re nice to have but I don’t need all of them!
Although I love distortion pedals, I like to change them and mix them up, I never feel like I’m satisfied with the pedals I have. Even though they say ‘it’s in your fingers’ I agree but also disagree as I think it’s in your head. You need to have a clear imagination of how you want to sound and that’s the reason why different players will always sound like them no matter their equipment because they have such a clear minds eye of how they want to sound that no matter what you give them, they dial in the sound they have in their head.
I think this is the problem with possibly younger guitar players, they start without their imagination, if you don’t have imagination, you don’t have anything to strive for. Probably that’s something that needs to come first.

What advice would you give to a young aspiring musician?
I would say do not try and be these famous rock stars because there is already one in the world. Don’t try and be Tony Iommi or Slash because the world already has them. Try to dig really deep and find what you like and what you don’t like, try to find out how you really see or hear yourself. Sometimes you come to different sounds by coincidence but I think you need to really know first how you want to sound and what you want to be.
You don’t have to be one guitar player, if you want to play country or metal you can adjust your playing style to fit the needs of the song or genre you are playing. How you want to sound like has to come first.

Was there a particular moment in your youth that sparked your musical journey?
This sounds cliché but it really was The Beatles. My Father came from that era and he loved to listen to The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, he also listened to Dire Straights and Marc Knopfler, then I hit puberty and started to rebel, here is started to listen to AC/DC and I didn’t like The Beatles at all, but then I got older and wiser and I am now much more open to all styles of music and any genre.

When was the last time you read a user manual?
Well as I also do professional reviews for Thomman, I actually read them quite frequently, usually four manuals a week to write the reviews! But I don’t like it, I have to read them, say there’s a digital amp that is more computer than a guitar amp, I really have to sit and read the manual in order to understand the product I am reviewing. Plug and play doesn’t work in that situation unfortunately as the review has to be thorough.

What was the last piece of music you heard or bought that connected with you?
I think it is so hard in this day and age to do something new, but there are still so many great artists out there. I’ve always liked bands like John Mayer or Porcupine Tree, I love the last Ryan Adams record. I don’t actually listen to that many guitar players any more, that’s not to say I don’t listen to music but when I sit down and listen to music I want to forget that I am a musician, I want to turn the auto-analyse function off in my brain and just immerse myself into the sounds of the artist the same way that every other person does. Guitar music for me isn’t overly interesting music to me, it is very cool and it’s interesting from a guitar point of view but I find it only on very rare occasions that it is musically exploratory and interesting. I try not to over analyse music because if you put that same idea to a band like AC/DC it would be ‘boring’ music, but it isn’t, they’re amazing and I really love them so it’s a tricky line to walk down between over analysing an artist and just enjoying their music.

Do you think the internet is a positive or a negative for the music industry?
I think there are positives and negatives, the good thing is that anyone can promote their own music and more or less everything is in your hands. The other side is that when you used to have record labels, they would release say ten pieces of music a month, now ten new albums a month is something that everyone can digest and you can say, I like this, I don’t like that but now it is really really hard to find something you like. If you don’t have any friends and you don’t have any community it is almost impossible when you have ten thousand releases a month to get to the good stuff because it’s covered with loads of rubbish. Where is the best place to hide an apple? In a huge pile of apples! It’s the same with music, so I really see both sides. I see the same issue with these huge YouTube guitar players, the main rock guitarists of the world have always been the same, way before YouTube but now with this platform there are so many great guitarists are so visible. The great people have always been great but now with the internet you can see more than just the top layer of incredible players, you can now see the real depth to global talent when it comes to guitar playing.
There is still nobody to replace Hendrix or Scott Henderson, when I started listening to music, I had enough money to buy one record a month. When I bought that record I really dug into it and I knew every second of it, but now there is so much variety  and so single driven you can never get to the true core of a record because there will always be a drive to push a popular single that could differ completely from the rest of the record.


How did you start your musical journey?
Well the very beginning was a long time ago, I was 12 years old and I heard Status Quo for the first time. It was the mystery song that I got from my Mum, that was a magical moment for me and soon after that I got The Who Live at Leeds, after that I was completely transfixed! I had a teacher at school and he was very good at guitar and he sold a guitar to me for a few hundred marks and I was only in my room practicing guitar in front of the mirror and everything and a friend of mine wrote some chords on a piece of paper for me, that was all I had, and that was when everything started to come around to influence me, bands like AC/DC, The Scorpions then I went to Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter and all the blues rock stuff.

When was the moment you realised you wanted to play guitar for a living?
Well that was a bit later after school, I was in my first job and I always told my boss “It doesn’t matter what I’m doing here because in the future I will be a musician!” I didn’t know at that point about the facts and reality of being a musician, I just wanted to be a musician at that time. Then I was 19 or 20, I had been in bands for a few years since 16 years old, they had been in a small city far away from where all the big bands would come and tour. Everyone was playing but nobody was really driving and pushing to be a professional musician. Then I got a call from a friend and he heard that RAGE is looking for a guitar player, he put my name onto a list, he called the band and said “I’ve got the guitar player for you, he can play like Jake E Lee!” Soon after I then got a call from the band asking me to go for a rehearsal session and they invited me to join the band. I went back home and couldn’t believe it, wow I thought, I am in RAGE! That was when everything started, they had a record contract and I was in!

How do fans in Germany differ to fans around the world?
Fans in Germany are very lucky, they get everything, all the bands come and play and the market is very packed, they can make a choice to see a band every night. That makes me feel that they’re not hungry enough these days. When we go to foreign countries like Greece or Spain, even South America, people are really hungry to see the gig because not so many bands tour there and you have to wait a very long time to see your big favourite band.

Why do you choose Laney?
My first experience of Laney was when I joined Gravedigger in 2001, I had the Laney GHL, I really liked the amp, at the time the leader of the band wanted a different amp for the band as he thought it was ‘right’ for the band at the time. I asked why because the Laney sounded great and really fitted the sound of the band, but he was the boss and I didn’t have a choice but to use something else. Then during the time I left that band I wanted to get that brutal Iommi style sound, I returned to my Laney and remembered how great it sounded, I then went on the search for more of that Iommi sound, I have always been interested to see what component gives such a heavy sound, is it the pickups, the strings, guitar etc, but I realised one key ingredient to such a heavy sound was the Laney amp. I tried a lot of different amps but I can feel what I am playing with the Laney. The Ironheart I simply plugged in and my sound was there, I didn’t have to search for it.

What is your signal path?
My set up is easy, I go from my LTD Viper, to my Wah-Wah and then to the amp. It is really that simple. The amp has so much to give and it works perfectly for the sound I need in REFUGE.

Most memorable gig?
Well I have played a lot of shows, but one of the more emotional ones we played was in Russia last year. We had never played there before, we first played in Moscow and I saw people in front of the stage, the first three rows had tears in their eyes. When I left the stage after the gig I was crying, I was shocked I thought “What was that?!”. That was really moving you know, I had a similar feeling when we played in Sau Paolo, Brazil it was incredible, really really amazing. The fans are crazy because they have to wait so long, when they eventually get to see the band they go wild!

What is one piece of equipment you couldn’t live without?
Usually I always have my wah pedal with me, but my set up is so minimalistic, guitar, wah and amp so perhaps the guitar cable because without that I wouldn’t be heard at all! I used to have a huge effects rack and big pedal board and sometimes I would miss a cue to one part of a song, then one day I decided to remove anything I don’t use, slowly over a small period of time I got rid of everything except the wah pedal.

Do you have any pre-gig rituals?
I like to relax, I go on stage as I am dressed right now, as I turned up to this festival and how I will go home. It is honest and real, I don’t feel the need for gimmicks or illusions because if I am false to my fans then I am not being the purest form possible for them. I have a beer and move my fingers a little bit and that is it, show time!

When was the last time you read a user manual?
Oh my… NEVER! It is all about trial and error! Plug it in, see if you like the sound and mess with it from there.

What was the last album you bought or listened to?
The new album by In Flames, I really bought it and listened to it, I love it.

Any tips for aspiring musicians?
This is what I told my son, he is 20 years old… We have plenty of guitars at home on the walls and I said to my boys, if you like to play any guitar, pick it up and try it. If you have any questions just ask me. Do whatever you want with it, he came and asked me to show him some Avenged Sevenfold and In Flames, so I played him some, but he found so much from YouTube. I said to him, with a guitar in your hands, it’s good with the girls, then he came and asked me to show him more. So I showed him a power chord, he couldn’t believe you can play a whole song with just the power chord. I also said how important the right hand is, if you want to rock you need to take a lot of care for both hands, the one you’re strumming and the one you’re fretting with. Everyone who asks me when they’re a beginner for advice I say to have fun with the guitar, take it in your hand and feel good with it. Get a position you’re comfortable with but then look good with it!

You said about YouTube, do you think it helps or hinders the future of music?
I love it, I love the internet and Youtube and Spotify, I can listen to a lot of music and get ideas from lots of bands, but then on the other hand there are too many bands that think too business-minded and they just want to make money from it. The internet and YouTube is good and if people like it or not well we have to learn to live with it, we can not pull the plug and start from zero, it is here to stay. It’s cool because on Facebook I have met so many other fans of music that I love too, and when you meet them in person it feels like I have known this guy for such a long time, purely because we connected via the internet. Can you imagine that happening 20 years ago? Could you imagine the kid in a country that doesn’t have a metal scene not having the internet? He now has a connection with people from all over the world and I think that is really positive. It creates a feeling of community that I don’t think we would have on such a world wide scale without the internet.

LANEY IN GERMANY: Jörg Bracht Interview

What is your first memory of music?
I started to play guitar when I was 12 years old in school, I was taught on nylon guitar, I played for many years with my father in a band playing dance music, so I learnt to play and sing so that’s where it started.

Why is the Laney the best choice for you?
I play a lot of old music and styles like Beatles and Stones, The Who and with the Laney Lionheart you have THAT sound. But you can also put pedals in either the loop or in front of the amp and it sounds incredible. If I play a metal gig I can get that sound, it is such a great amp. The natural sound from the L50H, you can play all music. Channel 2 you can drive it harder on the gain and get a really nice sound.

When did you first come across Laney?
When I first started with an electric guitar, the very first amp was a Laney, I still have it, it’s an AOR Pro-Tube Lead. I would never sell this, it is very special to me. Then I played a GHL and I found my sound immediately.

What is your signal path?
I only use a few pedals, one pedal for the solo, that’s a BOSS Equalizer pedal, I use it a bit like a treble booster really, just to push through the sound when I play a solo.

What is one piece of equipment you couldn’t live without?
Delay. Oh I need my delay and nothing else with that amp.

When was the last time you read a user manual?
Oh my! I never do that! I have tried but I just learn by doing, trial and error is the only way to do things as a musician!

What was the last record you bought or listened to?
Rival Sons. Wow what a band. I saw them on the last Black Sabbath tour and they were incredible.

Do you think the internet is good or bad for music?
The students don’t use the internet in the right way. They learn parts that work but they pick up a lot of bad habits that only get worse with time. So as a teacher I have to go to them and show them techniques that make playing easier for them. They pick the wrong tutorials of songs and then learn the song incorrectly, now I know music is about feeling but sometimes learning correctly sets you up to feel better. Most students want to copy a guitar hero and are happy with that rather than look up to a guitarist but then find their own style and become their own player. Some are happy to be an exact replica of Angus Young or Tony Iommi, Slash etc, I say to them “These guys have been done, make your own sound!” Listen to the music, how does it make you feel? Express how you feel!

    Any tips for aspiring musicians?
Listen to the old music from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, AC/DC etc etc, get your inspiration from them, learn about their styles then find your own. Create and never stop, always be open to all music. I find some young people get very guarded with the music they like, for example if a kid these days likes metal music he feels it is a sin to listen to jazz, but look at where the metal pioneers got their inspiration from, it comes from the blues, jazz and so many different styles of music.


The Future Of Guitar Playing Artist Spotlight: Jack Thammarat

Jack Thammarat (born December 25, 1979) is a guitarist from Thailand. Best known as the winner of Guitar Idol 2009 competition. He has acknowledged the influence of many guitarists including Pop the Sun, Prart, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, David Gilmour, Alex Lifeson, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Steve Lukather, Gary Moore, Scott Henderson, Robben Ford, Frank Gambale, Greg Howe and more. He has taught himself to play the instrument since 13 years old. In 1996, Jack took guitar lessons from finger style guitarist, Ajarn Boonchop. He continuously took more advance lessons from famous guitar instructor in Thailand, Ajarn Prart Aroonrangsi and attended Chandrakasem Rajabhat University for studies in music at the same time. In the university, He played in the band named Icon, the winner of Thailand Yamaha Band alert 1999 and subsequently changed their band name to “Beanâ” released their own album in 2000. After leaving “Beanâ” in 2003, he moved to perform with various Thai Popular artists. Moreover, he has worked as a studio guitarist, arranger and music composer since 2003 until present.

The Future Of Guitar Playing Artist Spotlight: Christophe Godin

Chtistophe Godin was born in 1968, in the town of Annecy, France. Christophe started playing at 13 after discovering Alan Holdsworth with Jean-Luc Ponty, ACDC ‘s “Back in black” and the first Van Halen album the same week!!! Christophe played and recorded with different bands including Gno and Temple. Now his main projects are Morglbl, a funny jazz/metal trio, He has a solo project named Christophe Godin’s Metal Kartoon, and a guitar duo with Pierrejean Gaucher. Christophe teaches in different schools in France and Switzerland, and gives masterclasses at different music academies around the world.

The Future Of Guitar Playing Artist Spotlight: Al Joseph

Music transcends the need for words when the story lies deep within the instrumental movements themselves.” Al Joseph was born in Highland Park, IL the first son of a Southern Caribbean father and Southern Baptist mother. When he was seven, the family moved to Scranton, PA where Al’s musical prowess began to emerge. His Dad, Al Sr., brought home a drum set so Al and his two younger brothers could begin their education in the musical traditions of their culture. With what would become a characteristic demonstration of natural talent combined with dedication and commitment, Al diligently practiced for hours upon hours every day. Motivated out of desperation, Al’s father Al Sr. presented him with his first student guitar and the rest, is History. Excelling at music, sports and academics, Al attended Penn State University where he walked on to play at the Running Back position but soon his passion for guitar won out and in his characteristic pursuit of excellence, he hung up his cleats, turned in his books, and transferred to Berkley College of Music in Boston to peruse his professional music career. Al’s quest to give a “voice” to his personal exploration and expression strained against his cultural milieu as he found resonance with Progressive Metal and inspiration from Creed, Rage Against The Machine, P.O.D, Pillar, Pantera, and Sevendust. From the lyrical texture of Jimi Hendrix, BB King, George Benson, Albert King to the overall musical prowess of Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Andy Timmons, Steve Vai, and Greg Howe, Al formed his style and openly pays homage. In 2016 Al relocated to Los Angeles, California and began work on his second Solo Album All of Creation with JTC, which is now available on iTunes and all other platforms. Featuring some of the world’s most fierce shredders from guitar to violin, All of Creation” keeps its roots firmly planted as it intones the voice of the Millennials. Stay “tuned” for touring dates!

“The GHR covers all my needs as a lead and rhythm player at the highest level. Its sonic quality allows me to combine both my classic and modern influences together giving me the ability to create my own signature tone. My favourite thing about this amp besides the fact that it sounds so good is that it is designed to give you tonal control of the power section as well as the preamp section. This lets you run the power tubes hot at lower volumes, creating actual head room for your dailed in tone in just about any live or studio situation. I’m truly impressed. Definitely get yourself a GHR range amp!”

The Future Of Guitar Playing Artist Spotlight: Jess Lewis

Jess began playing guitar at the age of 12 being inspired by the music of The Who, Billy Idol & many other rock bands from that era, when she was 13 her nan introduced her the music of Steve Vai, Tony MacAlpine & Joe Satriani, was completely inspired by this new and exciting sound & has never looked back. She went to school at Royal Manor Arts College and was awarded the “Young Talented Musician Award for Dorset”. A local funding group “ The Rotary Club” sponsored her for two one week courses in 2009 -2010 to attend a guitar tuition course at IGF (the International Guitar foundation) where she studied Rock and Beyond and Jazz, of which she first found out about Guthrie Govan having experienced watching a masterclass & shortly after a gig with his band the fellowship, then soon after discovering JTC. During this time her musical tastes were beginning to lean towards Jazz/fusion and so started preforming at local gigs/festivals where possible to help build her confidence and performance skills. In April 2010 after recording herself playing “Feeling Fine” and “Happy as Larry” by Alex Hutchings and uploading to YouTube Jess was invited by Jan Cyrka (an Outstanding Guitarist, successful and accomplished composer) to re-record the tracks for his “Jamtrackcentral” guitar tuition website. Following this opportunity Jess went on to become one of JTC.’s most watched and downloaded artists and with over 1 million hits on YouTube. She also got play and record with her early inspiration Alex Hutchins & Guthrie Govan quite an achievement in such a short period of time and still at a tender age of 18. Jess continued her music studies at Chichester College and went on to achieve her BTEC Music Diplomas. Now at the age of 22 with a fan base of players including Guthrie Govan, Alex Hutchins & Larry Carlton, Jess continues to record for JTC and keeps discovering new inspirational music and contemporary artists which is expanding her musical vocabulary & performs regularly with a couple of local bands. She is influenced by players such as Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino, George Benson, Wayne Krantz, Jonathan Kreisburg, Jeff Beck & many more. She now uses Ibanez guitars for their great tone & playability & is currently writing an album.

The Future Of Guitar Playing Artist Spotlight: Mattias Eklundh

Mattias is today considered one of the most innovative and ground breaking guitar players around with a fast growing global following from fellow “guitar nerds” to simply true music freaks. Mattias’ minimalist, home-brewed, and stripped down approach to the guitar has surprised record buyers and journalists around the world. There simply aren’t any signs of expensive guitar effects or processors involved in his playing, despite the sometimes “outlandish” sounds you hear. (Ia receives e-mails daily from dedicated guys and gals asking him what type of whammy pedal he owns. He finds this very amusing).

The Future Of Guitar Playing Artist Spotlight: Hedras Ramos

Ramos began his musical career at age 6 by learning to play the drums. It wasn’t until 2005 however (at age 13) when Ramos became interested in learning guitar. He typically practiced 7 or more hours every day, even playing up to 12 hours a day during vacations from school. Entirely self-taught, Ramos pushed himself hard to master the guitar and on December 15, 2009, by the time he was 16 years old, he had composed and produced his first instrumental album New Sounds. Following this release was his instrumental Christmas album The Holy Gift of Shred which became available for purchase in November 2009.

Between writing and producing albums, Ramos began to play and compete in guitar contests in different areas of the globe. On June 16, 2009, he won second place at the Guitar Idol competition (a world-wide event held in London, UK in which undiscovered guitarists compete online for a chance to play at the London International Music Show). On September 18, 2010 Ramos won second place at another world-wide event held in Bucharest, Romania called the Ziua Chitarelor 3. In 2011 Ramos released his third instrumental album Atoms And Space, his biggest release of all three, which featured solos and guest performances by artists like Jennifer Batten (former guitarist for Michael Jackson), Andy James (guitarist), Billy Ashbaugh (former drummer for Greg Howe, ‘N Sync, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Pat Benatar), Muris Varajic (keyboard) and Sergey Boykov (keyboard). Ramos’ father Hedras Ramos Sr., formed the Latin-jazz band BlueROJO and played the Antigua Jazz Festival. Ramos Jr. joined his father’s band in 2010 and they have played a number of shows together.

In 2011, after guitarist Richie Faulkner left the project to join Judas Priest, Ramos agreed to take on all guitar work for Sir Christopher Lee’s heavy metal album Charlemagne: The Omens of Death (2013). Hedras uses Laney Ironheart to create his signature sound pairing IRT-120 and IRT-412.