NYC - Fibenare Clinic at Rudy's (with Tom Quayle) - Travel Wrap Up Part 3

After a fantastic day exploring Hollywood it was time to get back to 'work' 😂.

In oder to get to JFK as cheaply as possible I flew out earlier than Tom, Gabor and Csaba. I left Burbank at noon on the Wednesday in the smallest tin can of a plane I've ever flown in. The overhead bins were way too small for my guitar, but luckily (channelling my inner Tony Martinez) I managed to sweet talk the attendant, and the Erotic got its own seat next to me rather than suffer the indignity of getting checked 😁🎸🤘🏻.

After connecting in...

Hollywood Sheeet 2017 - Part 2

Throughout NAMM the weather was inclement to say the least, but on the last day it was biblical. This apparently happens every 10 years or so, and much like with the 2 inches of snow the UK gets every year, no one in Anaheim seemed prepared. In the chaos of tens of thousands of people vacating the same space, accidents ensued. The worst of which from our point of view was Tom slipping ACME style on the buffed wet concrete of the Hilton hotel, both feet went from under him and he landed on his back/elbow and the Fractal Ax8 that was in his rucksack 😭.

Astonishingly the Ax8 still works flawlessly with only a cosmetic blemish. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if the concrete came off worse, it's certainly a good advertisement for Fractal. Tom's elbow on the other hand has suffered a fracture, was very painful and whilst its currently looking to heal fine, it will still be some time before he can play guitar again.

If this wasn't bad enough he was scheduled to travel to New York in two days with Gabor and Csaba to perform a Fibenare Clinic at Rudy's Music in Manhattan. So post X-Ray's, drowning sorrows with Corona in a Denny's near the hotel, Tom and Gabor half joked that rather than cancel the event I should go with them as 'stunt guitarist' and demonstrate the Fibenare range whilst Tom talks about them.

Well needless to say it didn't take much persuading to turn from a joke to me making the awkward phone call to Sarah and then scrambling to change my flights home and find a cheap ticket to JFK.

But before that we had a couple of days down time in Hollywood for sight seeing. Down town Hollywood is pretty rough and dirty outside of the immediate central strip, but the surrounding areas in the hills and Burbank etc seemed very pleasant. Still, the weather was good and we had a lovely walk in the hills up to the sign and live streamed as TGH for a humorous moment or two.

In the next and final post about the trip I'll cover the New York experience and what it was like playing at my first clinic!

MORE Hollywood Highlights:

  • Bronsy and I finding a local Indian for a Bromantic meal.
  • Guitar Center hand prints 🤘🏻🎸 and Dual Fusion spotting.
  • Walking up to the Hollywood sign and live streaming some Guitar Hour rep.
  • Hard Rock Cafe Hot Wings 😭🔥🍗.
  • Rogue One at Manns Chinese Theater.

NAMM 2017 (& New York) - Part 1

I know I promised some sort of coverage of my first NAMM experience, but whilst my intentions were pure my internet access was not. Although I thought I had planned for unlimited mobile data and hotel wifi, the reality was an extremely throttled 3G connection and piss poor patchy wifi in a Travelodge.

That being the case I decided to concentrate on the experience of being there and writing about it when I return, rather than stressing about finding good connectivity and upload speeds.

With that out of the way, where do I begin? I think I will split this up into three posts, which will cover three rough chunks the experience fell into, but the up front summary is that it was all a lot of fun. It was good for me both musically and mentally, and took unexpected twists that have left me in a bit of a daze now looking back as I type this with my tiny tyrannosaur arms, cramped into the middle row of a 747.

As the post title hints, I ended up in New York after NAMM, but we’ll get to that, first I’ll run through the highlights, my involvement and throw some pictures into the mix.

The journey there was pretty cool to being with. Travelling with friends is fun and helps a long flight go by much quicker than it would otherwise. Tom, Bronsy and I flew from Leeds to London, where we met up with Dan and also Jason Wilding from Wampler Pedals and Laney/Ibanez demo artist Lee Wrathe. Expensive airport beers were drunk and comments were trolled.

Anaheim was a wash out weather wise, and screwed us over with the hotel room, (no 3rd bed and it stank of all the jazz cabbage ever grown!) but as we were essentially to be in an enormous air conditioned convention centre all day, the weather really didn’t matter much. Until it did! But again, we’ll get to that.

Quick Fire Thoughts:

  • The scale of NAMM is staggering, it’s an assault on the senses in every way. Not that it's necessarily bad, although towards the end it did get fatiguing. I barely scratched the surface of what was available to see, it seems like every single company in the world that manufactures musical gear had a presence there.
  • Meeting the Fibenare guys Gabor, Csaba and Arpi.  This was the true highlight for me. Getting to shake the hands of and drink Palinka with the guys that designed and built my guitar was a true honour. They are lovely people and I feel I’ve made good friends in them. Late night Palinka and beer in the hot tub will never be forgotten. Their world class, inimitable skills as luthiers is matched only by their kindness and sense of humour.
  • Jamming at the Booth. I got to hang out and play at the Fibenare booth, jamming with friends and help talk about and introduce the guitars to visitors.
  • Making connections. Getting outside my introverted comfort zone and networking with companies and individuals. There's a strange sort of necessary hustle involved with this whole game, and that I'm terrified of getting it wrong. I feel like I'm slowly figuring this out without being too cringe inducing, I guess we'll see! 
  • Getting recognised. There’s no way around saying this without sounding like a humblebragging bell-end, but being stopped by people that watch and enjoy The Guitar Hour was awesome 🤣 🤘🏻.
  • Interviewing legends. Before traveling out to California I had lined up an interview with my current axe man crush, Allen Hinds. This ended up being an audio only interview whilst waiting in line at the food court! Having said that it was humorous and highly interesting. Look for it on the upcoming fourth season of The Guitar Hour.
  • Meeting modern bad asses. Over the last couple of years, as I have gently poked my nose out into the guitar community, I have had the pleasure of getting to know some really awesome players and people. Finally putting faces to names and watching them shred their asses off in real life was another highlight of the trip.
  • Cliff hanger! I mentioned earlier I didn’t go home at the end of the week, I went to New York instead. I'm pretty sure everyone reading this will know exactly what happened anyway, but I'm gonna leave the details for my next post

So in summary, two thumbs up. I really enjoyed the show and after pivoting slightly, perhaps realigning my expectations on day two, I feel like I got everything out of it that I had hoped to..

Packing for NAMM

This time tomorrow I’m off to Los Angeles for the 2017 winter NAMM show. I’m travelling with The Guitar Hour crew and loveable troll king Jason Wilding of Wampler Pedals

In addition to nosing around filming for The Guitar Hour, I’ll be attempting to share the experience on Instagram, YouTube and my blog. So if you want to tag along digitally, do subscribe and follow etc.

This will be my first NAMM and I’ve been told to be prepared to get overwhelmed with the scale and noise! Ear plugs are most definitely packed.

I’ll be taking the new guitar and probably hanging out at the Fibenare Guitars and Wampler Pedals booths when not roving for interviews etc. If you happen to be there and spot me, do come say hello. One of the reasons I’m so excited about the trip is getting to hang and jam IRL with all the friends I’ve made online & through The Guitar Hour this past year. The support and encouragement you have all given to my musical life and my mental health has been tremendous.

I remember watching with intrigue videos of NAMM jam madness several years ago on youtube, and it’s a little hard to believe I’m going now, given the reclusive dark place I was in a year ago. But like with most of the processes in getting better, I’m learning to not over think it, just enjoy.

Ok then, I think this is gonna be an interesting week! :)


New year, new challenges, new experiences and new guitars

Hey there, happy new year and welcome to my new website.

Whenever I've tried to blog in the past, I've stressed too much about every post, lost consistency and just given up. So, one of my goals this year is to just mash on the keyboard and hit publish, without too much proofing or over-thinking.

The main reasons for writing this blog are to document what I'm up to; help promote myself and others; share free, short lessons; and also have somewhere to post thoughts that are more suited to long form text rather than rambling into a camera.

If you've ever caught me on The Guitar Hour or a Facebook stream, you may be aware of my struggles with depression and anxiety. I don't want this to be the sole focus of my writing here, but I also don't want to pretend that it isn't a significant factor in my life. So, I'm hoping this can also be a place to occasionally share both the difficulties I face and the positive steps I'm taking to improve things.

With the introductions out of the way let’s get to the meat of it! This is a big month for me, with lots of new experiences and interesting things happening. I'll post in more detail as and when things occur, but for now here's a quick overview of the next 30 days or so.

NGD. Fibenare Guitars Erotic Custom Build

First up will be New Guitar Day. I'm very proud to be a new Fibenare artist and will be shortly taking delivery of my first ever custom built guitar. I'll be posting more details about this very soon. In the meantime you can check out their specs here, and find out more about these amazing instruments at Fibenare Guitars.

NAMM 2017

Mid January I'll be attending the 2017 winter NAMM show in Anaheim, California, with Fibenare Guitars and The Guitar Hour boys. Hopefully we can shoot some interesting coverage and interviews for season 4 of the TGH. I’m also looking forward to meeting IRL many of the online friends I’ve made over the last 18 months.

Pathways To Jazz Part One - Tutorial Release

Part one of my in-depth guitar tutorial, 'Pathways to Jazz, Fusion & Changes Playing’, will be released at the end of January. This has been a tremendous amount of work, but it’s something I’m really passionate about and am really proud of. I’m looking forward to sharing it and hopefully it will be helpful in getting other people on the jazz journey.

Beyond January…

And then into February, we should be kicking off season 4 of The Guitar Hour. I'm still editing the Gilad Hekselman interview/gig, which along with any NAMM nuggets will be incorporated into the new season. And whilst I'm living inside of Final Cut Pro, I'll be finishing off the edit for the Dave Brons live ‘bootleg’ DVD. If you’re not aware of Dave already be sure to check him out, especially if you’re a fan of epic instrumental guitar.

Well, I think that’s all for now. Subscribe to the blog, newsletter or social things if you’re interested in staying up to date. 

Thanks for reading