January 8, 2014

Lesson and interview with Gianluca Ferro

Hi! The last couple months were amazing - I've organized the latest edition of my annual Jonas Tamas Guitar Contest in Hungary. This year, judges included Steve Lukather and Guitar World Editor-in-Chief Brad Tolinski, plus some of Hungary's finest players and other internationally acclaimed guitarists, including Gianluca Ferro from Italy, Rick Graham from the U.K. and Mathias Holm from Sweden.

Guitar World has written an article about the contest, featuring the 3 most exciting guitar video entries. You can check it out here: http://www.guitarworld.com/videos-three-outstanding-entries-annual-hungarian-guitar-competition

Gianluca Ferro has been one of the judge panel members, and he has written and recorded an amazing solo over the contest backing track. Here is his video:

 This is the TAB of the chorus (0:48), with great intervallic lines and well-rounded 3-note stucture:

This is the hybrid picked part at  0:37:

And finally, this is the first 8 bars of Gianluca's solo. In the last two bars there are multi-finger tapping sequences in septuplets. You can use your 1st and 3rd finger, or your 2nd and 3rd finger, respectively. Make sure to practice it slowly, and take care that all the notes sound clean and even. You can also use a hairband on the neck of the guitar.

This week I did an interview with Gianluca for my Hungarian guitar column at GitarShop.hu. With the permission of GitarShop, here is the English version of the interview:

Hey Gian, thanks a lot for taking part in this interview! You’ve got a great year in 2013, with new Jam Track Central packages, ESP endorsement, new videos and exciting gigs. What are your music plans for 2014? (New solo album, side projects, guest solos, clinics, etc.)

Hi Jonas! It’s such a great pleasure to be here with you guys!

Yeah 2013 has been a really intense year I had the chance to perform with Guthrie Govan, Andy Timmons, Kiko Loureiro, Michael Angelo Batio and the amazing Prashant Aswani. I also have been working a lot for Jamtrack Central, as you said!

2014 starts with a blast, anyway... I’m gonna perform at NAMM in California for Dragoon Speakers, an italian company.

As for the new projects, I’m working with Nick Pierce, drummer of Unheart at a new band called Breath Of Nibiru, we are now mixing our debut album with Aaron Smith (Jeff Loomis, Into The Flood, 7 Horns 7 Eyes). In the meanwhile I’m working on a new jamtrack package. I’m also scheduling some clinics in Europe for next Spring!

Nowadays, what is your practice routine? How do you maintain and develop your technique, your chops, your fluid runs?

Well, I spend the most of my time writing songs and putting new ideas together! I teach a lot so I only have my mornings and weekends free.Anyway I try to save as much time as I can refining my chops and inventing new lines. Right now I’m more focused on phrasing, trying to combine more chromatic fragments and arpeggios with a hint of hybrid picking as well as some 4 note-per-string fingerings.
It’s not a super-organized routine as it was in the past; Yep, I still practice with my metronome, but I’m not that obsessed by technique nowadays. It’s more about finding new ideas then getting hyper-fast!

Luckily summer is free so I usually play almost the whole day !

What is your typical creative process when you write new material? Do you come up with riffs first, do you start a drum track and play melodies over it, or is it a different method?

Well it might change a lot! Sometimes I listen to a song at the radio and I think:” that sounds pretty cool!” so I try to get the same vibe for my stuff trying to figure out how the chords are moving around and how the whole arrangent is built. That works fine for the more melodic material. Sometimes it’s just noodling around a drums groove or sometimes it’s an actual project in my mind with different sections and elements. I always try to be balanced and organic with my songrwriting. I need to feel every element compensating the others. So, if I have a very melodic chorus I might be searching for a more harmonically complex verse etc... When I need to get freak I often experiment with synthetic scales,symmetrical chord progressions or weird harmonic process. I take a piece of paper and start drawing weird diagrams! It’s a good way to bring your thoughts outside your box but,of course our ears have to judge the result!!!

How you motivate yourself and please tell some main factors that contributed to your success as a musician! I’m especially curious to know your inner self-talk and positive beliefs that help you to go forward and be persistent.

I think that every step you take brings yourself a little bit higher. Doesn’t matter if you just came down from a stage where you performed in front of 25.000 people or you just learned a new position for a scale in your bedroom.

You just have to know that you’re going somewhere and that’s a cool place to go. I think you’re truly alive as long as you try to do your best every single, day. As a musician and as a human. 

You might make mistakes; all right. Then you’ll learn from them. You might be tired and lost sometimes but you still will have your path to follow; sooner or later your efforts will be rewarded in some way. Just enjoy your stroll, enjoy the view, be alive, humble and positive and don’t care very much about the destination!

Thanks for your time and in the name of the GitarShop.hu staff I wish you lots of success and fun for 2014!

Thank you so much guys for taking me on board! Hope to cacth you all soon ! All the best for 2014 to all the GitarShop friends !

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