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Posted in Artists, Interviews, Melbourne guitar Show News    //    Post Date - July 10, 2019

LA-based singer, songwriter and guitar slinger, Dennis Jones is heading to Australia for a few select dates including a prime spot at the Melbourne Guitar Show. Ahead of his Australian trip, Dennis spoke with Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips

Dennis Jones is the epitome of cool. Laid back and smooth by nature but put him on a stage and the energy level of the room instantly becomes electric. Sizzling hot guitar solos, soulful vocals and a high-octane brand of blues rock is what’s guaranteed. Dennis’s feet are firmly rooted in the past, yet his heart and soul are connected to the present. He writes songs that seamlessly blend the best of both worlds, presenting a unique and contemporary style of American rock and blues. You can hear Dennis’ powerful concoction of blues rock on any of his 6 recordings, including 2018’s fabulous live album WE3 Live.

Born and raised in the small town of Monkton, Maryland (population 4,856) Dennis had a humble but loving childhood, with parents who encouraged his music making, buying his first guitar at the age of 13. Inspired by the instrument, Dennis had developed his chops to the point that he was playing in bands just three years later. Soaking up the sounds of the family record collection, the songs of Hendrix, Dylan, Joplin, Mahalia Jackson, James Brown and Al Green, were all infused into his DNA.

“There was music on at my house all the time,” says Dennis. “My older brother was into Dylan and Hendrix, Joplin, more of a rock edge. My mum would play religious music on Sundays, so you’d hear Mahalia Jackson, gospel music. During the week between my father and everyone else in the house we were playing a lot of soul music, a lot of Motown. You’d hear James Brown and Al Green. I didn’t really think about much until later when I left home but there was a lot of music on all the time. Different blends and styles of music and that is probably why I was influenced to write the kind of things I do. I wanted to be a drummer. When I was 13, for Christmas I wanted drums but they refused to buy them for me because they thought they were too loud. My second choice was guitar, so I got a guitar and two years later I had a Marshall stack and all kinds of Ampeg amps in the house that were so loud they were kinda wishin’ they’d bought the drums!”

With a thirst to learn and an appreciation of music history, later Dennis developed his own musical tastes and gravitated to the licks of The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Zappa and Rory Gallagher. “I’d listen to anything on the radio … a lot of Rolling Stones, Keith Richards stuff, Hendrix. I was also a big Zappa fan in the 70s. I just loved Zappa’s quirky sense of humour and his time signatures were nothing like I’d heard before. I was into blues but didn’t really know it at the time because I was into this British stuff, Led Zeppelin, they were a big influence on me. Later on it was Rory Gallagher and a few other people but I did reverse engineering on the blues, I listened to rock and found out where they all got it from and realised it was a lot of old black music from New Orelans, the south in the states and Chicago as well.”

While stationed in Germany, serving his country in the military, Dennis not only had the opportunity to play small European clubs but also had the chance to experience performances by some of rock’s real legends live in concert such as Clapton, Dylan, Rory Gallagher and Rufus Thomas, even the Bon Scott-era AC/DC, gigs which inspired him further.

As his playing matured and his reputation grew, so too did the learning opportunities. He’s opened for the likes of Buddy Guy and Dick Dale and not only enjoyed a support spot with another of his music heroes Johnny Winter, but also got to spend some invaluable one on one time with Johnny in his trailer, picking his brain and devouring the wisdom. Similarly, Dennis was granted time with Robert Jr Lockwood (The only known guitarist to have learned to play directly from Robert Johnson) at a Blues Festival on Catalina Island, a meeting in which Lockwood reveled in the chance to give Jones his personal insight into the blues. George Benson was another great who took the time to chat with Dennis and offer some great career guidance.

Dennis Jones has always taken that sage advice with gratitude and applied it wisely to his own career. With a strong work ethic and a passion for music, Dennis has been able to travel the world, playing to appreciative audiences in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, France, Poland and Italy, not to mention the thousands of miles he travels each year to gigs in his own country… and those gigs keep getting bigger. In September this year, soon after his Australian tour, one of Jones’ first spots will be on the acclaimed Big Blues Bender bill in Las Vegas alongside Gov’t Mule, Robert Cray, Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, Allman Betts Band and Tab Benoit to name a few.

Not only is Jones an exhilarating guitar player, he also knows his instruments inside out … quite literally!
“The main guitars I use are Fender Strats,” he tells me. “I have some that are off the shelf but every guitar I have, I have altered in some way. Ever since I was a teenager I have always been tearing guitars apart and putting them back together in certain ways that I like them. And now that I have the ability to do it even better, I’m just buying necks and bodies and pickups, down to the pots and cables I use. I have got really good at it. I have made some for friends and sold a few as well. I really love the process of building guitars. Just being able to tweak it a certain way and knowing the values of a 500k pot, a 200k pot and how different the sound is, making the guitar darker or brighter, I really enjoy all that. I have a new hardtail that I built recently and I have never played hardtails before but I love this guitar. You can hear everything, good or bad, you’re going to hear it come out and I love that about that guitar. It’s not my number one yet but it is inching up there because I really love playing it.”

Naturally, Dennis is keen to nerd out on the array of gear that will be on display at the Melbourne Guitar Show but is more focused on delivering an intoxicating performance on the Saturday afternoon of he show. “Oh man, just being able to play my music … my original songs will be wonderful … I still do a few covers in my show because people expect it but I just want to introduce people to what I do and hope they like it. Also just the chance to meet some other musicians and network and you know, if anyone is coming through California, maybe I can help them out too. I just want to get my foot in the door so I can come back in a much bigger way next time.”

Jones’ August tour won’t be his first trip to Australia, he was here as a tourist in 1999 and has always wanted to return to play his music.
“I came to Australia with a girl I was dating in December 1999. I was there for a whole month and I stayed with her and her family in Melbourne. We went to the William Ricketts Reserve and that was pretty amazing. I went to the beaches, your beaches are amazing. I was in Sydney in early 2000 for the fireworks on the bridge by the Opera House. Let me tell you, you Aussies know how to party! The hospitality was amazing, the people I met were so friendly and I did take my guitar with me so I had a chance to play at a Melbourne Blues Society night. I got a chance to sit in and play and they invited me back the following night and it was a lot of fun. It’s always a place I have wanted to go back to. The quality of musicians there blew me away.”

The most recent album from Dennis Jones has been a live record titled WE3 Live, which was released in 2018. It’s a great starting point for those wanting to get a feel for his music.
“It was a one-off performance,” he explains about the recording. “We’d just done a few really good shows in Canada and were on our way home. It was the last show of the tour and the guy who owns this club has a band and they play there all the time. He had a full Pro Tools studio set up on the side of the stage. Everything is miked and he asked if it was ok to record us that night. I said as long as I get a copy of it, no problem. About a month later, he sent me the tapes. I was planning on recording a live album anyway, I was going to rent a club out. I took the tapes to my engineer and we put them up on the computer in the studio and we were both blown away by how good it sounded, it was done really well. I had to do a few little fixes here and there on the audience sounds because he didn’t really have a mic in the audience but I tried to make it as authentic as possible without changing anything of the music. There were some songs I didn’t want, others I did so I put it all together. We had a lot of material to choose from and I released it. I was surprised by it but I just thought, this is the way we sound so I may as well do it. It was a good show and it all came out well.”

Dennis is currently working on new material that he’s excited about and plans to record a new studio album next year. In the meantime, he’s preparing to bring his exciting brand of blues-rock to Australia. And the grand plan?
“I think the grand plan is to conquer the world man,” Dennis says enthusiastically of his long term plans. “I just want to continue to do what I do, build a fan base and write music. I wouldn’t mind becoming a household name in what I do in blues rock. I love being a songwriter. I love the guitar but without a good song it doesn’t mean much. I have seen a lot of great guitar players play and no disrespect to them but unless your songs are good, nobody is going to remember you. When people leave the clubs singing your songs, they have a melody in their head, that means way more to me than a great guitar solo. I do love guitar and solos and every aspect of it but I like to be able to write what I consider to be a good song. Basically I want to continue to play around the world and become more well known in places like Australia and Europe and even the United States too. I want to expand what I am doing and give people joy with my music, that’s my main goal.”

Saturday Aug 3rd, 2019
Melbourne Guitar Show, Caulfield Racecourse

Friday August 9th, 2019
The Fyrefly, St.Kilda

Sunday August 11th, 2019
Hepburn Palais, Hepburn Springs. 2pm show

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Posted in Blog, Melbourne guitar Show News, Win    //    Post Date - July 9, 2019

Diesel at Melbourne Guitar Show by Jason Rosewarne

In celebration of the upcoming Melbourne Guitar Show and the release of Diesel’s Sunset Suburbia EP trilogy and tour, Triple M Melbourne have an amazing once in a lifetime prize on offer. Sign up to the  Triple M Club and listen to Triple M for details on how you could WIN a 20 minute one on one guitar lesson with DIESEL at this year’s Melbourne Guitar Show!

AND … that’s only part of the prize. The winner will also receive a Fender Player Series Strat in black, valued at $1199.
The Fender Player guitar features:
• Alder body with gloss finish
• Three Player Series single-coil Stratocaster pickups
• “Modern C”-shaped neck profile
• 9.5″-radius fingerboard
• 2-point tremolo bridge with bent-steel saddles

Plus you’ll be free to roam the Melbourne Guitar Show for the day!

This competition is exclusive to the Triple M Club, so sign up now to the Triple M Club at for your chance to win a Fender guitar and a private guitar lesson with Diesel at the Melbourne Guitar Show.

The Melbourne Guitar Show is on August 3&4 at Caulfield Racecourse. Ticket info HERE



Diesel has recently announced the Sunset Suburbia project: a trilogy of EPs leading into an album in 2020. And to coincide with the release of new music, Diesel will hit the road once again this October. With his powerhouse band, Diesel will showcase songs from all three Sunset Suburbia EPs, plus hits and fan favourites spanning 30 years of music making.

Diesel says, “Suburbia has always held a strange fascination for me. I remember designer cul-de-sacs strewn with shotgun shells in Chandler, Arizona; little vignettes of skateboarding around closed service stations on weekends in Perth; some guy in the hot tub in his backyard where I’m riding my bike over the rail overpass in Sydney. I love going into where people live — the sights, the smells, the little repetitive things that make their world. It’s kind of a bittersweet thing but it’s the stuff of life and it has a way of making songs.”

After more than 30 years of recording, Mark Lizotte (Diesel) has found a more direct route from inspiration to revelation.
“I’ve really enjoyed [recording the EPs] as it elongates the recording process, allowing for each EP to take on a uniqueness. I’ve always been a bit bummed when getting to the end of making a record, and this in a way delays gratification, making 3 ‘mini albums’ on the way to an LP. I’m also really excited at the prospect of releasing each one as limited edition signed and numbered 10” vinyl to compliment the tour.”

On Sunset Suburbia (Vol. I) (out 19 July), this union of spontaneity and experience yields four of the most instantly arresting songs of Diesel’s multi-platinum career: the kind of exhilarating FM radio hits that sealed his reputation as a 1990s pop-rock auteur with Hepfidelity, The Lobbyist and Solid State Rhyme.

Vol. I of Sunset Suburbia follows last year’s top-20 retrospective, Diesel 30: a double CD which was led by the FM radio embrace of ‘Give Me Saturday Night’.

The second Sunset Suburbia EP will drop later this year, Vol. III is currently under construction, and an album, featuring even more new songs, is due in 2020. Be sure to catch the evolution of Diesel’s ever-expanding horizon as he and his band roll out Sunset Suburbia to a city, town or suburb near you.


Thursday 10 October
20 Years At The Brass Monkey
Brass Monkey | Cronulla, NSW Tickets on sale Monday 2nd September
* Solo show

Friday 11 October
Central Hotel | Shellharbour, NSW

Saturday 12 October
Manly Leagues Club | Manly, NSW

Friday 18 October
Entrance Leagues | Bateau Bay, NSW

Saturday 19 October
Wingham Akoostic Festival | Wingham Showground | Wingham, NSW

Friday 25 October
Gateway Hotel | Geelong, VIC

Saturday 26 October
York On Lilydale | Lilydale, VIC

Friday 1 November
The Juniors | Kingsford, NSW

Saturday 2 November
Hornsby RSL | Hornsby, NSW

Saturday 9 November
Bridgetown Blues Festival | Bridgetown, WA

Sunday 10 November
96FM Kickstart Summer Concert w/ Jimmy Barnes
Ascot Racetrack | Perth, WA

Friday 15 November
The Triffid | Brisbane, QLD

Saturday 16 November
Southport RSL | Gold Coast, QLD

Friday 22 November
The Gov | Adelaide, SA

Saturday 23 November
Get Your Blues On | Renmark Riverfront | Renmark, SA

Friday 29 November
Lizottes | Newcastle, NSW

Saturday 30 November
Lizottes | Newcastle, NSW

Friday 6 December
The Basement | Canberra, ACT

Saturday 7 December
Paddington RSL | Paddington, NSW

Friday 13 December
Lizottes | Newcastle, NSW

Saturday 14 December
Lizottes | Newcastle, NSW

• Sunset Suburbia (Vol. I) EP Out Fri 19 July through Bloodlines
• Pre-order  available here


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Posted in Blog, Melbourne guitar Show News    //    Post Date - July 9, 2019

Aussie acoustic guitarist extraordinaire and Melbourne Guitar Show regular, Lloyd Spiegel is pleased to unveil a brand spanking new song ‘Track Her Down’ – a deep and soulful blues number about the fleeting, yet precious nature of connections he makes with people on the road and the fragility of personal relationships for a travelling musician.

From his teenage years cutting his teeth in Melbourne’s dive bars, to spending his twenties touring the USA in Greyhounds, Spiegel has finished his thirties at the top of his game as one of the top dogs in acoustic blues. His skills as a guitarist, his huge voice and even bigger on-stage personality are seeing him recognised around the world – and the travel and experiences sparked by his nomadic lifestyle inspires much of his writing.

Says Spiegel of the new song, “‘Track Her Down’ isn’t really about a person or a place. It was probably an amalgamation of several women I met over the years who I wanted to get to know better but simply didn’t have the time and had to keep travelling. The greater story of the song is that the lifestyle I lead often doesn’t allow me to have anything but fleeting connections with people, and I don’t take those connections lightly; I carry them a lot more seriously than people may imagine.”

‘Track Her Down’ presents a different musical face for Spiegel and adds elements likely to surprise long-time fans. It brings a cruisy Memphis groove in place of his usual arsenal of blazing acoustic guitar chops, with horns and a sparing melodic guitar break rounding out the picture.

Since 2004, Lloyd has been the world-wide demonstrator and premier endorsee for Cole Clark Guitars, an Australian company that designs and builds its guitars with Lloyd’s hard-hitting style in mind.

You can catch Lloyd performing solo at the Melbourne Guitar Show at 12.30pm on Sunday August 4th on the Marsh Mezzanine stage and then joining Nick Charles and friends on the same stage at 1.40pm for a multi-player acoustic guitar session. Lloyd will also present a Cole Clark Guitars demonstration on Saturday August 3rd at 4.30pm in the Winners Circle Workshop Room.

‘Track Her Down’ is a teaser of things to come on the new album ‘Cut and Run’, due for release September 3. Australians can pre-order the album now through JB Hifi Online

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Posted in Artists, Interviews, Melbourne guitar Show News    //    Post Date - July 2, 2019

It’s the album which introduced us to Eddie Van Halen’s stunning finger-tapping guitar gymnastics. The same album which gave us Diamond David Lee Roth, one of rock’s greatest frontmen. It was Van Halen’s debut album, featuring so many great songs and so many classic guitar riffs. It was released back in 1978, after Kiss’ Gene Simmons had financed the band to make some demo recordings. ‘Van Halen’ was eventually recorded in the studio as a live album, in just one take with all members playing together in the studio. Michael Anthony once recalled how the band didn’t have many songs so they just recorded the songs from their live show in the studio. It has gone on to sell over 10 million copies.

At this year’s Melbourne Guitar Show you’ll be able to hear each track played live back to back by some of Australia’s most respected musicians. Simon Hosford’s Fair Warning will play the entire Van Halen debut album live on stage at 4pm on Saturday August 3 at Caulfield Racecourse in the Whammy Bar.

Fair Warning is:
Simon Hosford (guitar)
Gerry Pantazis (drums)
Jason Vorherr  (bass)
Eugene Hamilton (vocals)

Ahead of Fair Warning’s much anticipated performance at the Melbourne Guitar Show, Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips sat down with ace guitarist Simon Hosford to dissect the album.

Van Halen Tracklisting (notes thanks to Noise 11)
Side one

1.”Runnin’ with the Devil” (last played by Van Halen, 4 October, 2015, Hollywood)
2.”Eruption” (last played by Van Halen, 24 April, 1980, Cincinnati)
3.”You Really Got Me” (last played by Van Halen, 4 October, 2015, Hollywood)
4.”Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love” (last played by Van Halen, 4 October, 2015, Hollywood)
5.”I’m the One” (last played by Van Halen, 26 June 2013, Osaka)

Side two

6.”Jamie’s Cryin’” (last played by Van Halen, 18 June 2013, Nagoya)
7.”Atomic Punk” (last played by Van Halen, 18 June 2013, Nagoya
8.”Feel Your Love Tonight” (last played by Van Halen, 4 October, 2015, Hollywood)
9.”Little Dreamer” (last played by Van Halen, 3 July, 2008, Québec)
10.”Ice Cream Man” (last played by Van Halen, 4 October, 2015, Hollywood)
11.”On Fire” (last played by Van Halen, 2 September, 1984, Nuremberg)

Get your Melbourne Guitar Show tickets Now!

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Posted in Artists, Interviews, Melbourne guitar Show News    //    Post Date - June 25, 2019

Sarah McLeod, singer, songwriter and guitarist with the ARIA Award winning, platinum-selling rockers The Superjesus, has since gone on to establish an acclaimed solo career. Her latest album Rocky’s Diner, written and demoed in a secluded Brooklyn apartment in New York showcases her maturity as a songwriter, and her gift for melding grooves and soul within a rock framework. In 2018 Sarah was back fronting Superjesus as they celebrated the 20 year milestone of their landmark album Sumo. Now in 2019 Sarah McLeod brings her rock chops and boundless energy to the Melbourne Guitar Show stage.

In part 2 of our 2 part interview with Sarah McLeod, we chat about her solo career, last year’s 20th anniversary tour by The Superjesus, plans for a new recording by the band, Parlour gigs and more. Catch Sarah on Saturday August 3 at the Melbourne Guitar Show.

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MGS 2019: SARAH MCLEOD Part 1 – Guitars

Posted in Artists, Interviews, Melbourne guitar Show News    //    Post Date - June 24, 2019

Sarah McLeod, the singer and guitarist with the ARIA Award winning, platinum-selling rockers The Superjesus, has since gone on to establish an acclaimed solo career. Her latest album Rocky’s Diner, written and demoed in a secluded Brooklyn apartment in New York showcases her maturity as a songwriter, and her gift for melding grooves and soul within a rock framework. In 2018 Sarah was back fronting Superjesus as they celebrated the 20 year milestone of their landmark album Sumo. Now in 2019 Sarah McLeod brings her rock chops and boundless energy to the Melbourne Guitar Show stage. Sarah appears at the guitar show on Saturday August 3.

Ahead of her guitar show appearance, Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips caught up with Sarah at her home studio in rural Victoria. In part 1 of this 2 part interview, Sarah tells us the wonderful stories behind her guitars and we chat about the Melbourne Guitar Show.

Check out Sarah’s Facebook page HERE

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Posted in Artists, Electric Guitars, Gear, Interviews, Melbourne guitar Show News    //    Post Date - June 24, 2019

Acclaimed Australian roots music singer, songwriter, guitarist and performer Ash Grunwald has been out of the spotlight for the last five years. For three of those years he was soaking up a tropical lifestyle living in Bali before returning to Australia. Yet rather than merely kicking back and chilling out, Ash was working away on things, rebuilding his career and most importantly … himself. He was focussing more on his physical and mental health, happily writing songs,  working hard on his guitar playing and many other projects, which are now all about to come to fruition.

THE ALBUM First of all there’s a new album Mojo, set for release on a new label (Bloodlines) on August 30. It features collaborations with many other respected musician such as The Teskey Brothers, Mahalia Barnes, Joe Bonamassa, The Cat Empire’s Harry James Angus, Terry Evans, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Ian Collard and The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ Kim Wilson. The first single, Whispering Voice features Kasey Chambers. We’ll catch up with Ash at a later date to explore the album further. A national Mojo tour has also been announced for October (Dates below).

THE BOOK Then there’s a book! It’s called Surf By Day, Jam By Night and combines two of Ash’s greatest passions- music and surfing. In the book, Ash interviews a collection of famous surfers who play music and musicians who surf. Through conversations with Kelly Slater, Steph Gilmore, Jack Johnson, Dave Rastovich, Jaleesa Vincent, G. Love, and many more, Ash discusses flow states, jamming versus shredding, style, transcendence, fear, career longevity, growth mindset, mindfulness and what it’s really like to live your dreams. The book is also released in August.


THE SIGNATURE PRATLEY GUITAR Perhaps the Grunwald project that we here at Australian Musician are most excited about, especially ahead of his Melbourne Guitar Show appearance, is the announcement of the RBJ-90 Ash Grunwald signature guitar by local makers Pratley Guitars! Pratley Guitars is very excited to announce this new advancement in the pursuit of the ultimate semi-hollow electric guitar with the launch of the RBJ-90 Ash Grunwald blues model, in partnership with Ash. The RBJ-90 Ash Grunwald is the first of its kind for the company, designed to pay homage to old school blues guitars with its classic look and sweet tonality that is delivered through the use of unique Australian tone-woods. Despite the vintage look, the instrument feels entirely modern. Comfortable to hold and with a fretboard that makes playing effortless, this spectacular instrument utilises premium hardware and pickups to bring to the market an instrument combining classic looks, a modern design and unparalleled Australian craftsmanship. As well as Ash performing with the guitar at the Melbourne Guitar Show on Saturday August 3rd, Pratley will also be showing off the instrument at their stand on the exhibition floor throughout the weekend.

THE INTERVIEW Australian Musician’s Greg Phillips had the pleasure of chatting to Ash recently about the new Pratley signature guitar and the many other projects Ash is excited to be sharing with us all later this year.

Ash with Martin Pratley

Ash, there’s a lot happening for you this year with the new album Mojo coming out, you’re playing our Melbourne Guitar Show, you have a new signature guitar coming out and a book. How’s your headspace with all of that about to happen?
Fantastic. Really good because the album is five years in the making, the book took up a lot my life last year and this year. The signature guitar is just a pleasure. I feel relaxed. It’s funny because we were living in Bali for three years, it was a time of a lot of rebuilding, regrouping and working really hard on myself, my guitar playing, my physical and mental self. Now I just feel like I am stepping into something that I have been envisaging for a long time.

We’re really excited about this signature guitar. How did the Pratley association come about?
Martin (Pratley) is a really good luthier from up our way. He’s on the Gold Coast and he approached me after giving me a few stomp boxes, which were cool and then he said do you want to start working on a signature guitar? I thought what am I into and what’s right for this phase of my career? I’m a really big fan of big body guitars. I played a Gibson 137 for many years, that was my main guitar. Then I switched over to a Les Paul when I started doing band things. So I’d switch between those two. Obviously I’ve had a lot of guitars over the years but lately I have been playing D’Angelico, a variant of the 335 and that’s a really cool guitar but the chance to design my own guitar is really cool. We wanted to do something classy and cool and then when it hits production … I don’t know what price Martin will put on it in the end but we want to try to make it in such a way that people can afford to own the guitar. If you get too frilly and put things on that might make it look cool, it’s putting the labour up. At the moment it’s all made in Australia and it’s not made somewhere where labour is cheap.

Has there been much back and forth with prototypes?
There’s a lot of back and forth and so far I’ve only just been playing the first one. The idea is that it looks like a classic guitar in the mould of the 335 but with a different shape and a lot more fret access and the neck is designed to be very playable.

What about tone-wise, will you get much variation from this guitar?
I’m probably going to experiment with this a little bit between P90s and humbuckers. Martin makes his own pickups, so there are a few different options. With my tone, I stick to the neck pickup a lot. I like that big round mellow neck tone, especially on the P90s and get my variation from my pedalboard. But I go through phases where I just get the tone through my amp, just loading the front end of the amps and doing the old blues thing with just the volume. That first prototype in my studio is a lot of fun and has a really nice tone. Currently it has two P90s but we’re probably be going to work through one more prototype, maybe two before the Melbourne Guitar Show.

How important was the look of the guitar, the visual design? It has a beautiful colour scheme to it.
I love earthy tones. I’ve got a Les Paul Studio that I keep in Canada that is unfinished completely, it’s just like a raw wood thing and I almost thought that was my perfect Les Paul because I have that earthy side to myself, to my songs and to what I like. I like raw wood so it is a half way point between that and some really fancy ornate guitar that you can see a lot of work has been put into it. It’s made of Black Ash, I think it is called, which is a pretty funny coincidence but I still wanted it to have a warm sunburst look to it with a little bit of red coming through. I think it looks wicked. I’m pretty happy with it. I like vintage warm and natural, so I am really happy with the look of the thing.

You must be pretty stoked because there aren’t a huge amount of Australian musicians who have a signature guitar.
It’s really cool and I am really stoked. It’s really funny when you have played a million gigs, it’s really enjoyable to get to that level where you’ve been doing it for a long time and you get recognised for that. It feels really good. It almost feels like fate that all of these things are coming in now, that I have come back to Australia with a bit of a rebuild. One of the things I did while I was in Bali was I prepared myself for a new part of my career. I came up through the roots scene of the noughties. I started as a blues player in Melbourne. At that time I’d played a lot of guitar and was keen on the guitar, then I got into the roots scene and focussed a lot more on my songwriting. I kinda thought, I don’t want to be some shredder guitarist, I want to be tasty and be a songwriter. I think over the last few years I’ve looked at my career and thought about where I want to be going forward and I decided that now is the time being older, to go back to treating the guitar with more respect and being more in the guitarist scene. As soon as I did that, the irony of it… in a way it was me accepting my age in a way. Ok, I’m going back to a different phase and the irony of that is that I have felt so much love for my instruments. In the years gone by they were just my tools. I loved them but I didn’t froth. It didn’t excite my like when I was fifteen. Now I feel like I am fifteen again and the reason is that I am practising. I am putting the work in and I have found that it is a funny by-product that the more work you put into your playing, the more love you feel for the guitar and the more enjoyment you get every time you pick the instrument up. It couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

You are playing our Melbourne Guitar Show in August. Have you ever played a show like that before where there are a lot of musicians in the attendance?
I have done little things that were fairly threatening as a guitarist before. I have done guitar clinics and at Port Fairy I played with the Grigoryan Brothers and Lloyd (Spiegel) and Nick Charles and a few other really good guitarists and that was fairly intimidating as a guitarist. But I am just me. I have my own peculiarities as a guitarist. A big part of me has always been my vocals and songwriting and I think that’s what I bring to my guitar playing. It’s always my intention to talk through the instrument, so I will be enjoying doing that. I just think for me personally, to be there is actually a real honour on that side of the equation and I am just going to be really interested in nerding out completely and plugging into a million pedals and watching different players.  I am putting together a bit of a pedalboard that I will be using with a lot of cool analogue pedals too.


Will you be playing some tracks from the new album?
Yeah and the new album is really ‘guitary’. The first single Whispering Voice with Kasey Chambers singing on it is a reworking of an old song that I used to play on my Cole Clark lap steel back in the day and it was really mellow but I reworked it with the band into a dub mix, Hendrix kind of thing. So that was fun to have a fret on, so that will be a good one to play.

Let’s touch on the another project you have coming up, the book …
It’s called Surf By Day, Jam By Night and I am interviewing all of the famous surfers who play music and musicians who surf. I’ve got 14 different people. I flew to LA and interviewed Kelly Slater, who is a really good singer and has some great guitars. I was sitting in his kitchen as he was waking up and I was playing the guitar that Ben Harper gave him, a beautiful Martin signature guitar. We had a jam and he ended up showing me his Les Paul that says Slater on it, SL8R which Pearl Jam gave to him as he jamming with them in front of 60,000 people. This was the kind of stuff that was happening. As the book went on … I interviewed Jack Johnson and a whole lot of really inspiring people. I really started to draw a lot of conclusions about … things like meditating on shred versus style. Things that apply to surfing, they apply to music, they apply to your whole life. Jack Johnson said this great thing … the most stylish guy in surfing going back to the 80s is Tom Curren and that’s Jack Johnson’s hero. He said watching Tom Curren surf is like listening to a BB King solo, where there is nothing frilly, nothing extra put in there but everything is as it should be. What you are hearing is a lot of technical ability but somebody with their ego in control to the level that they don’t have to show you everything they can do. They do what is needed for that passage or part. That’s what we’d call a tasteful player in music or stylish surfer. It borders on a spiritual thing. It’s being so in control of yourself and your ego that you do what is perfect for the moment. I think of Derek Trucks like that and also my traditional heroes like Albert King. What my mission has been lately is to try and get all of those skills into my body, the maximum I can so that I can channel it. It could be something really simple or it could be something really complicated, that’s the journey I am on with my playing and something I kind of learned doing the book. The thing I noticed was that how you do one thing is how you do another thing. Jamming with Steph Gilmore, who is a 7 time world champion surfer, she had really good technique on the guitar and playing some chords that I didn’t know and shredding, playing some more heavier stuff with really good right hand technique. I was like, well why should I be surprised? She knows how to practice, she knows how to get good at stuff. Of course she’d be a such a great guitarist. So that was really interesting.

• You can check out Ash and his signature RBJ-90 Pratley guitar at the Melbourne Guitar Show. August 3&4 Caulfield Racecourse. Ash performs on the Saturday.
• The new single ‘Whispering Voice (feat. Kasey Chambers)’ is out now.
• The album Mojo is released August 30.
• Ash Grunwald’s new label Bloodlines have also acquired the rights to his entire back catalogue, including the ARIA-nominated albums I Don’t Believe, Live At The Corner, Give Signs, Fish Out Of Water and Hot Mama Vibes, plus Ash’s collaboration with The Living End’s Scott Owen and Andy Strachan, 2013’s Gargantua.
• The book Surf By Day, Jam By Night to be released in August (via Pantera Books).

Mojo tracklist:
1 Hammer (feat. Terry Evans)
2 Ain’t My Problem (feat. The Teskey Brothers)
3 Waiting Around To Die (feat. Joe Bonamassa, Josh Teskey & Ian Collard)
4 Whispering Voice (feat. Kasey Chambers)
5 Human (feat. Mahalia Barnes & Harry James Angus)
6 Trouble’s Door (feat Mahalia Barnes & Kim Wilson)
7 Mountain (feat. Mahalia Barnes)
8 3AM (feat. Harry James Angus & Ian Collard)
9 How Many More Years (feat. Eddy ‘The Chief’ Clearwater & Ian Collard)
10 Whipping Boy (feat. Terry Evans)
11 The Boogie
12 Goin’ Out West (feat. Kim Wilson)

With special guest Jack Botts

Friday 4 October
Jive Bar | Adelaide, SA

Saturday 5 October
Howler | Melbourne, VIC

Friday 11 October
Rosemount Hotel | Perth, WA

Saturday 12 October
West Australian Guitar Festival | Perth, WA
* Jack Botts not appearing

Friday 18 October
The Lansdowne Hotel | Sydney, NSW

Saturday 19 October
The Zoo | Brisbane, QLD

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Posted in Blog, Melbourne guitar Show News    //    Post Date - June 19, 2019

We are thrilled to announce that Jake Bowen, guitarist from cutting-edge American metal band Periphery will be joining us at the 2019 Melbourne Guitar Show to present a masterclass for Ibanez Australia on Saturday August 3rd.

Hailing from New York, Ibanez Signature Artist Jake Bowen has been an integral cog in the Grammy-nominated progressive metal band Periphery. With their debut in 2010 the band has solidified their place in the metal world and helped popularise an exciting new genre of music. Ibanez Australia will be hosting Masterclasses featuring Periphery’s guitarist Jake Bowen held across Australia. These Masterclasses offer an exclusive and intimate opportunity for budding or experienced guitarists to learn from one of the pioneers of the progressive metal movement. The Masterclasses will consist of Jake demonstrating and teaching specific techniques used on his solo work and Periphery’s catalogue and will conclude with Q & A session from the audience ranging from a range of topics. Jake will present his Melbourne Guitar Show masterclass on Saturday August 3rd. Just as each new Periphery release seems to turn progressive metal  around another 180 degrees, Jake Bowen, the source of the band’s rich tapestry of guitar-based ambient soundscapes, has also moved the boundaries of guitar design and performance with his new Ibanez  signature instrument—the JBM10FX, which he’ll be demonstrating at the guitar show. 

Midday Saturday August 3. Winners Circle Workshop room. No registration required. Be early to secure your spot!

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Posted in Artists, Melbourne guitar Show News, Special Features    //    Post Date - June 18, 2019

Ruben Guitars is a regular exhibitor at the Melbourne Guitar Show and will be there again in 2019 showcasing their beautiful instruments. We sat down with head designer Tiri Pestrivas at their facility in Ferntree Gully to talk about Ruben Guitars ahead of the guitar show.

Ruben Becker is the founder of Ruben Guitars and is a master luthier. Since 2011, he has been the driving force and creative designer of some of the world’s most beautiful bespoke guitars.  His entire pursuit as a luthier is the perfection of each and every unique and one of a kind instrument – handcrafted and designed specifically for you.  Ruben has unprecedented access to the world’s most sought after and rare tonewoods, making each guitar with the ‘Ruben’ moniker a truly bespoke, heirloom masterpiece. Handcrafting more than 25 bespoke commissions a year, and travelling the globe to source the world’s most rare and exotic timbers, Ruben has become one of the world’s premier luthiers.

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Posted in Articles, Blog, Melbourne guitar Show News    //    Post Date - June 12, 2019

Stars pic by Richard Hogan

The Melbourne Guitar Show will once again celebrate the Melbourne and Australian guitar community on August 3 & 4, 2019 at Caulfield Racecourse. Proudly presented by Triple M, Australian Musician, and 3PBS the lineup boasts an impressive haul of both local and international artists. In addition to world class performances from the artists on this massive lineup, #MGS2019 will also present a massive gear expo that will feature a huge variety of electric and acoustic guitars, effects pedals, amps and more state-of-the-art guitar technology, both home-grown and from around the world. See, Try and Buy! It will continue to be Australia’s biggest guitar pop-up shop, and that’s not all. The Melbourne Guitar Show will host information seminars, demonstrations, and live performances from Australia’s most talented guitarists and you can now buy tickets HERE

The full program for the 2019 Melbourne Guitar Show is still in development, with some more artists yet to be named and times yet to be locked in. Hopefully it will be available next week.

HOWEVER, to assist you with your ticket booking decisions, here’s a list of artists and the days they will be appearing at the show, either in performance or demo/session.

This list is subject to change but it’s where we are at right now!


SIMON HOSFORD’S FAIR WARNING (Playing Van Halen’s debut album)
HAMMOND TRIO: Rob Papp, Jon Wade, Rob Mercer.
Nick Charles, Shannon Bourne, Minnie Marks, Ash Grunwald, Phil Manning, Charlie Bedford, Corey Legge, Anna Scionti, Liz Frenchman

SUNDAY AUGUST 4. 10am-4pm

Nick Charles, Lloyd Spiegel, Van Larkins, Chris Finnen, Sergio Ercole, Adam Miller
Mal Eastick, Charlie Bedford, Dennis Jones (USA), Simon Hosford, Rod Bustos (Bass), (Marcus Ryan (drums)


NotePre-purchased ticket prices apply for tickets purchased up until 11.59pm on Friday 2 August. After this time, Door prices apply.

Adult Day Pass: Door Price $25 (Pre-purchased $20) (Day pass, valid for either Saturday or Sunday)

Family Day Pass: Door Price $50 (Pre-purchased $40) Family ticket for Saturday OR Sunday for 2 adults and 2 children under 15

Concession Day Pass: Door Price $15 (Pre-purchased $10) with Valid Student, Senior, Concession card (Valid for Saturday OR Sunday)

Adult Weekend Pass: Door Price $35 (Pre-purchased $30) (Valid for Saturday and Sunday)

Concession Weekend Pass: Door Price $20 (Pre-purchased $15) with Valid Student, Senior, Concession card (Valid for both Saturday AND Sunday)

Note: Children under 12yo are free when accompanied by a paying adult 


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