Our UK Guitar Show in September saw a lot of great guitar action but the highlight was the return of the Guitarist Of The Year competition.
The three categories and nine finalists flew in from around the world following the summer’s selection process that involved all-star judges including Paul Gilbert, Joe Satriani, Tommy Emmanuel, Jon Gomm and Mark Tremonti. It proved to be such a showcase of great playing that it made our judge’s jobs even more difficult.
YOUNG GUITARIST OF THE YEAR
All three finalists on the Saturday of the show 15 and under with a range of ability that was, frankly, jaw-dropping.
First up was 14-year-old Hunter Hallberg, whose inspiration was clear from the Ernie Ball Petrucci signature model he played. That he wrote his entry Jewel (from his newly-released debut EP] made his performance shine even brighter; fluid, dynamic and a maturity far, far beyond his years.
With the standard set high, New Jersey-based Abigail Zachko, 15, didn’t disappoint. Although she gigs with classic metal band Lunatic Fringe back home, her choice of combining two pieces by modern instrumentalists Mateus Asato and Mark Lettieri suggested much wider ambitions. “My band plays live pretty frequently,” Abigail told us backstage, “but it’s usually shady underground places. We do a lot of our own promoting so a normal show is maybe 30, 40 or 50 people. Playing in front of all those people today was great.”
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