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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.

The Future Of Guitar Playing Artist Spotlight: Alex Hutchins

World renowned guitarist Alex Hutchings has been blessed by gaining a national and international following over the last few years. Regularly touring around the globe Alex performs under his own name and as an international demonstrator for the Roland Corporation, Laney Amplification and Rotosound.

Other performances include the main guitar role on Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller Live’ arena tour in 13 countries. Glastonbury Festival, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Isle of White Jazz Festival, Cannes Film festival as well as extensive gigs around the UK. As well as a guitarist Alex has also composed work for the BBC, ITV and the Cable Network. Alex’s laid back attitude and unassuming nature disguises the fact that he is a truly unique guitar player whose strengths lie in his powerful and dynamic balanced playing as well as the fact he consistently masters some of the most complicated techniques ,which he regularly uses in his playing. These include sweep picking, long legato lines and complex chord changes. Over the last 12 years Alex has played professionally in a variety of different musical ensembles from a Jazz trio to a full size orchestra to a Jazz big band, numerous pop outfits and his own projects. This is greatly contributed to his vast diversity as a musician. Culminating all of this experience Alex has now found himself in a position to draw upon such experiences to create his own music and is currently in the process of writing material for future releases and touring. Being the perfectionist that he is this will undoubtedly take some time but is sure to be something special when it arrives. Alex plays a variety of Laney equipment including Ironheart, Lionheart, IRT-Studio and GHR.


The Future Of Guitar Playing Artist Spotlight: Tom Quayle

Tom took up the guitar at the age of 15 after being inspired by his Dad’s incredible finger style guitar playing and quickly developed a love for the instrument. Being addicted to players such as Steve Vai, John Petrucci and Brett Garsed, Tom initially focused on rock technique before developing a huge interest in Jazz and Fusion. At this point Tom changed to his renowned 4th’s tuning and studied Jazz, graduating with a Jazz Performance degree in 2002 from Leeds College of Music.

Since graduating Tom has developed to become one of the foremost fusion legato players in the world with a strong reputation in both the teaching and playing world, having produced a large number of highly acclaimed tuition products for his own website and Lick Library that have helped literally thousands of guitar players from every corner of the planet. He has conducted masterclasses and played all over the world giving him acclaim that means he can count Dweezil Zappa, John Petrucci, Brett Garsed, Greg Howe, Andy Timmons and Tim Miller amongst his many fans. Tom currently plays with some of the best fusion musicians in the world – right now he is working in a duo project with fusion ace Martin Miller having toured Europe and played Japan at the end of 2014 and will be releasing his debut album soon along with many other projects for 2015. He is lucky enough to have five signature instruments with Fibenare Guitars and a highly popular signature overdrive pedal with Wampler Pedals called the Dual Fusion, that can be found on the boards of some of the worlds greatest players.

Tom plays Fibenare Guitars, Wampler Pedals, IQS Strings and Timbertone picks and is incredibly proud to be using the amazing Laney Lionheart 2×12 combo amplifier to craft his tone. .

The Future Of Guitar Playing Artist Spotlight: Lee Wrathe

Lee began his guitar playing journey aged 4, copying chords and licks from his ‘self-taught’ Father. During those formative years he was lucky enough to be exposed to a wide range of Musical genres and guitarists… Something which has lead him to become a regular guitar demonstrator for many brands in the subsequent decades. Demonstrating a diverse range of styles both to live audiences and on YouTube, Lee looks for diversity in the gear he chooses too. Utilising the IRT Pulse and IRT Studio for recording weekly video demonstrations for Music retailers YouTube channels, he can also be found using the L20 212T and Laney A1+ at Guitar Trade shows across the UK and abroad. Lee is also a passionate educator offering both on-line lessons and clinics and recently wrote and performed an original track for the official launch of our GHR50. In addition to all that, Lee has written, recorded and released 2 instrumental albums for which he received kudos from the legendary Steve Vai, a feat he managed to achieve again, a few years later after playing Steve’s Blue Powder during a demonstration! Lee believes firmly that when used in the right way, video based learning can be just as effective as face-to-face tuition, whilst being a cheaper, more convenient and less intrusive option. His website is designed to offer a variety of high quality and cost effective lessons, to suit every skill level, playing style or budget. Find out more at his website by clicking HERE.

The Future Of Guitar Playing Artist Spotlight: Martin Miller

Martin Miller is a professional guitar player from Germany, surrounded by music from the get go, Martin decided during his high school years to dedicate himself to his craft, studying at the convervetoire for several years and later attending Carl-Maria-Von-Weber college of music in Dresden. Currently Martin tours the world performing at Cinics and as a session player, in addition to being a regular contributor to Recently joining forces with fellow JTC Artist and Laney Endorsee Hedras Ramos they collaborated on a fantastic new track called “New Pyramids”. You can watch the video below….


Proud Liverpudlian Louis Berry grew up in a rough part of the city, and his first musical steps were taken while sneaking a quick go on his Grandad’s forbidden guitar, hidden under the bed, on which he taught himself a couple of chords. Somewhat surprisingly, he only discovered Johnny Cash when he was 20, having spent his adolescence listening to Tupac. Berry took the messages about society’s injustices in Tupac’s music to heart, and themes such as inner-city homelessness had a large influence on his songwriting. His rebellious style owed a lot to rock & roll greats such as Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis, in stark contrast to the mainstream singer/songwriters with whom Berry drew comparisons, like Jake Bugg, Alex Turner, or the Strypes, acts which Berry felt lacked authenticity and substance.

Berry signed a record deal after playing just two gigs. He performed an explosive set for BBC Introducing in 2015, which triggered a lot of interest around his first track .45. Later that year, his debut EP Rebel garnered a very positive response and received wide-ranging support from major radio stations. It was dubbed “hottest record” by Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1 and made it into the Top Five tracks of the week on XFM, as well as receiving extensive airplay from Liverpool-based station Juice FM. After many festival appearances in 2015, he planned a headline tour in early 2016, his last stop was in his native Liverpool.

The hype is real and the reviews speak for themselves:

Well, he’s a confident little fucker but you know what they say – if you can’t walk it, don’t talk it.

“I want to be the biggest male artist on the planet. You name me one song in the charts right now that says anything about your life or my life. I can’t name ONE! Chart music now is just candy – it doesn’t feed your soul. An hour later you’re hungry again”. He is going to walk it.

Born in Liverpool to a heroin addict father and a mother desperate to keep him on the right side of the law, Louis Berry already seems to have lived nine lives. “I had to be older than my years to keep the family together. I had to be strong for my mum although I was ashamed growing up because of my dad. I was ashamed to be me and the only way I could get respect was by doing bad things”.

He’s a bit of a loner – albeit a loner known to many on the estate he grew up on – and a loner not unknown to the local police. His was a life spent living on his wits and his ability to help make ends meet through whatever means necessary. At his heart is a conscience and a sense of morality, although one which made him think it was ok to steal a car because “they could afford a car – we couldn’t afford to eat”. His was a life lived like so many others on sink estates across the UK.

Eventually getting access to a guitar after his grandfather gave him an entry level banjo, Louis would sneak up to his bedroom and learn to play. “I hated carrying a guitar case on the estate as it felt like a weak thing to do. But fuck it, it was what it was. At school there were the popular kids, and there was me. I thought differently to other people. It always felt like I was looking in on people and their lives. One night a friend made him sing – ”How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees, as incongruous as it was omnipresent. “I said ‘fuck it, I’ll sing the song ‘cause the cocaine addict who used to come around with his guitar and sing songs didn’t show up – he used to come round and sing songs while we had a joint”. For Louis, It was a turning point to realise that he had talent and to have that talent acknowledged by others. Here was something he could do that didn’t rely on living outside normal behavioral parameters, or living outside the law.

Things grew as the songs flowed. “I wasn’t part of the Liverpool music scene which is dominated by students. I did resent people who had it easy and who were desperately trying to fit in; I always thought ‘let’s be real about what’s going on, with people starving in the streets’. I always knew I’d sing about what I knew and what I saw and I don’t care if people like it or not. But, as it turned out, they did”. Indeed they did – the buzz on him grew so inexorably that it took just 2 gigs for him to be signed which, ironically, might be just what used to happen to many of the stage school wannabees that he so detests. But he’s in it for the long haul.

The early single ‘.45’ was the first introduction to Louis’ songwriting world and quickly won him local praise as well as support amongst music tastemakers such as Zane Lowe who nominated it his ‘Next Hype’. But it was ’25 Reasons’, the first single from Louis’ 2015 debut EP ‘Rebel’, which really cemented his sound, an amalgam of classic, gritty rock n roll with soul. The track saw regular plays and radio support from BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac and John Kennedy at Radio X. By the spring of 2015 he was awarded the ‘One To Watch’ at Liverpool’s prestigious GIT Awards by a panel consisting of representatives from BBC 6 Music, NME, Vice, The Guardian and Q Magazine.

“I’ve been through some tough shit – at times I’ve questioned my sanity. But I’m making it better now because I’ve done some bad things and I’ve treated some people really badly. After I spent some time getting wasted in Ibiza I woke up and said ‘I’m 20 years old and my lifestyle is fucked’. It was. And I found a way to make it better by making music”.

Signed to Ministry, and back in the studio putting the finishing touches to his debut album, Louis Berry remains a bit of a misfit, who will gladly offer an honest opinion about anyone he knows – including fellow musicians and people within the music industry. “If someone tells me I have to go out there and impress some people because they’re important to my career, I’d rather go out there and really piss them off. Because this should be about the songs and a belief that everything else is bollocks. I walk around thinking ‘people in Liverpool, can’t you see what they are doing to you?’.There’s so much to say and no one is saying it. I’m going to be the lad who does.”

Louis plays a Laney Lionheart L20T-212 with his band that includes Laney player and endorsee Jesse Eigen.

Find more about Louis below: