Guitarists of Singapore (GOS) - Seth Chiow



Age: 31

Occupation: Guitar teacher

Style: Classical/Fingerstyle/Metal/Jazz

No. of years of playing the guitar: 17 years

No. of hours spent on the guitar per week: 6 hrs a day when I was learning the electric and classical. I still remember 3 hrs in the morning 8am to 11am, go workout, rush for teaching, back home 10pm, practice from 11pm to 2am, rinse and repeat. Those were the days.

Nowadays aside from teaching, practice is limited with an extremely adorable but fussy newborn; but still do as much when he’s sleeping haha.

Guitar/ music qualifications: DipAbrsm Classical performance, Grade 8 theory Abrsm, Yamaha Teaching Cert Grade 5

Gig/ competition experience: Finalist at MigFest, Malaysia International Guitar Festival


How did you get acquainted with guitar playing?


Thanks to classmates in school, they were into punk stuff initially. Blink 182, Green Day, NoFx, Offsprings, Juliana Theory, and I dig the anarchist feel from the bands; really good times.


It wasn’t long before Metallica came and a metalhead was born. Iron Maiden, Malmsteen, Iced Earth all came and I remember spending weekends at a bandmate place watching VCDs of Iron Maiden live; what an inspiring time.


The rage was self-taught that time so I tried learning the songs on an $50 acoustic, from my classmates. What a big waste of time looking back lol.. neither can they teach well nor am I talented.


So I signed up for classes at Yamaha thinking I’m gonna learn electric stuffs etc, Malmsteen to be, when it turned out to be classical lessons lol.. But i enjoyed the lessons, being able to play on my own, backing myself like a band, the sweetness I can get from the classical guitar playing.


I have a excellent teacher Mr Jeffrey Ang, who later encouraged me to teach, and later Mr Ernest Kwok who inspired me to be much better than what I can be. Also a huge thanks to Mr Justin Ho my electric teacher who taught me the value of hard work (hence the 6hrs practice lol) and for busting my ass and pushing me to the limits. Still miss the classes!


Describe your first experience playing on a guitar.


I suppose the word is ‘ugly’. Used all the force to press on the extremely high action acoustic, still no sound lol. Want to shred but cut my fingers instead. Might as well sing out the riff lol.


What is the best thing about being a guitarist?


Being able to create sounds that are pleasing to the ears, experience a range of emotions and letting it out in the music. Feeling the 'high' when its just right, and 'low' when it is just not working out.


Describe your most memorable guitar-related incident.


Not sure offhand, I suppose playing in JC solo for the 1st time OR when I broke my 1st string from a new pack of strings TWICE and had to go to the shop TWICE to buy replacement ‘cos i suck.


How many guitars do you currently own?


1) Tioman II made by Jeffrey Yong, a excellent maker and friendly person

2) Edwards Les Paul E-LP-130ALS/RE

3) Yamaha GC12s for teaching

4) Yamaha Acoustic CPX

5) Yamaha 110n Silent

6) Yamaha 130Nw Slient

7) 3xYamaha 151s ‘cos its my 1st 'expensive' guitar and bought it twice after for teaching lol dunno why.


If your house is on fire, which one would you run out with? Why?


For sure Tioman and if got time my 1st 151s lol


First guitar: Brandless/acoustic 1999?


Favourite guitar brand/ model: Jeffrey Yong Guitars.


Favourite guitarist: So many and a tough one to ask. Has changed over the years but some stays:


Younger days:

1) Slash stylo milo

2) Yngwie Malmsteen for his flare and true rock star attitude,"How can less be more? More is more, less is less"

3) John Petrucci, hard work and detail to his works



1) Joe Pass, what to say man

2) John Williams, 'sterile' sound and 'perfect'

3) John mills, great tone and sound

4) Segovia the godfather

5) Wes Montgomery


First song you learned to play on guitar: Oh man long time ago, I think, Blink 182 - All the small things or Green Day - When I come around or Antonio Alba - Pesando En Ti.


Song you love to play most on guitar: Lol hard question again, Doctor you gotta make it easier lol... I think I will list the styles, mainly Latin American pieces, Brazilian mostly. Blues is always enjoyable and learning some Jazz now.


Most difficult song you have played on guitar: The song I’m currently learning is always tough at the moment.


Sevillanas by Albeniz due to the fact its a transcription so finding and trying to combine the parts I like from available scores and transcribing from guitar recordings is a pain in the butt, so I’m not done yet lol.


Tips for aspiring guitarists: There was a video I saw where they interviewed many great guitarists, most said 'Practise, Practise Practise' I think so too. Talent comes later.


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