Occupation: Marketing Associate
Style: Acoustic and Electric Blues, some fingerstyle
No. of years of playing the guitar: 12 years
No. of hours spent on the guitar per week: Averaging about 10 hours at the moment
Guitar/ music qualifications: Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 7 (Taking Grade 8 later this year)
Gig/ competition experience: Some small performances over the years, not regular.
How did you get acquainted with guitar playing?
Funnily, I started learning because my crush in Secondary School told me she liked guys who played guitar.
But I realised that I liked the guitar more than I liked her, so I ended up falling in love with that instead.
Describe your first experience playing on a guitar.
My dad taught me how to play. He showed me my first chords and taught me how to play my first songs. Ironically, he doesn't play guitar anymore these days because he would rather let me play.
What is the best thing about being a guitarist?
Most of the time, playing music is a form of communication; almost a way to speak to an audience.
But there are times when I feel that playing to express my own thoughts allows me a channel to communicate introspectively, letting me discover more about myself and my thoughts.
Describe your most memorable guitar-related incident.
So many memorable incidents. From the stuff that happens on stage to the ones that happen while practicing at home.
But the moment that is probably the closest to me is the moment my Dad handed me my first serious guitar as a form of recognising my commitment to the craft.
The guitar was a Maestro Select Shop (now Private Collection) Meridian IR3 CSB A X. I must say though, what a killer guitar.
How many guitars do you currently own?
I own quite a few instruments. The first instrument (guitar related) that was given to me was a Yamaha Guitarlele that was given to me when I was six by my Dad hoping to get me interested in the instrument.
It was not until another 8 years later that I would pick up the instrument again, and seriously. The first guitar was an Ibanez acoustic guitar (I can't remember the model number, I still have it though, but my Dad mainly plays this one. I had it overhauled for him last year hoping that he would take time out of his hectic schedule to continue playing again; it's ironic how the tables have turned since now that I'm the one that has to get him to play).
My next guitar was my first sort of "serious" guitar, being the Yamaha FX370C. I got it mainly because it had a cutaway and a pickup, and it saw me through many performances with friends through my polytechnic, and then university years.
After I got the Yamaha acoustic, I felt like it was time to pick up electric guitar, having caught on to the likes of B.B. King, Lee Ritenour, Pat Methany, I always associated a Gibson style instrument with the genre of Blues and Jazz. So I got myself a Epiphone Les Paul Custom Plus Top. This is one guitar I would not let go of largely because it was my first electric guitar. Today, it's almost unrecognisable against its original form. I had the pickups swapped out (Seymour Duncan Jazz/JB) and a Bigsby bridge installed.
However, it would be a few more years, and post National Service, that I would discover what John Mayer was truly capable of as a Blues player, leading me to acquire the Fender Artist John Mayer Signature Stratocaster. Ever since, I started paying more attention to various Strat players like Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson and the list goes on. Point is, I was hooked on the Stratocaster sound and I never looked back.
Today, I acquired two more Strats, both partscasters. I took the John Mayer Signature as the benchmark and started putting strats together with a similar feel, but different function. One of them has a set of "Black1" clone pickups, based on John Mayer's personal Custom Shop guitar. The second partscaster was more of a "do it all" guitar with Suhr SSH+ and SSV pickups, a Seymour Duncan lil' 59 for a middle pickup (with custom switching to allow me an entire spectrum of tonal versatility) and a shoehorned Eric Clapton Mid Boost circuit for good measure.
And of course, I have my baby, the Maestro Meridian IR3.
If your house is on fire, which one would you run out with? Why?
This would be a tough one. I would want to save my John Mayer Signature strat because of how I saved from a part time job to get it, but I would also want to save the Meridian because it was a gift from my dad. Can I take both?
First guitar: Ibanez Folk
Favourite guitar brand/ model: Fender Artist John Mayer Signature Stratocaster
Favourite guitarist: John Mayer. This (the reason) is quite obvious.
First song you learned to play on guitar: Take Me Home, Country Roads
Song you love to play most on guitar: Gravity by John Mayer for electric guitar. Just because it was so soulfully written and the amount of "musical space" that was written into the song that really allows for individual expression.
But for acoustic fingerstyle I love to play Pete Huttlinger's arrangement of Stevie Wonder's Isn't She Lovely. Lee Guoliang taught me this song, so it also holds sentimental value to me as he has helped me so much, not just musically, but with life in general.
Most difficult song you have played on guitar: The Crying Machine - Steve Vai
Tips for aspiring guitarists: Start with the easy stuff (this I got from Tommy Emmanuel), be curious, and always remember to have fun.