I’ve been a guitar fan/player since I was in high school. I learned guitar after I realized I was the only one in class who didn’t know how to play a D-A-G-A chord progression (of course, a G-C-D for most love songs). So I bought myself a cheap 300-peso (around 6 US dollars) to start learning some chords. Then I bought a Beatles Jingle collections of their music. That’s my start. Eventually, I started wanting more. So I picked up an electric (an imitation) and an amp (another imitation and cheap one) to learn rock guitar. That’s when I decided to enroll and I found this great teacher “Jay” (who played for local band True Faith). I learned the basics of Jazz improvisation and classical guitar. But I couldn’t not stop playing rock. So I gravitated to the Blues when I found work here in Manila. I started jamming with some journalists and like-minded musicians at the National Press Club. We played classic rock, Beatles and some blues. Then, I found myself jamming with ex-members of the Labuyo who wrote some tunes like “Batugan” and other songs popularized by Side-A (I forgot the title, but it sings like this… Galing lang ako sa inyo…).
That’s a short history of my guitar history. But right in between those years, I’ve discovered many other influences. So I’m lining them up here. (Disclaimer: These are my own top guitar players which some of you may disagree).
Joe Satriani: The guitarists’ guitarist. Here’s a video from YouTube (check out the hairstyle and jeans!). A classic live rendition of his tune “Always with You, Always with Me.”
Steve Vai: The innovator. A student of Joe Satriani, Vai stretched the guitar’s rock range, delving on out-of-this-world tones and harmonies. And he plays effortlessly. His live shows are also fun to watch. This video is one of his best love songs called “Tender Surrender.”
Eric Johnson. The Texas’ shyboy. Ah Via Musicom! That’s one of the top guitar albums that I still love to this day. Johnson is not a flashy player like Vai or Joesat. But he plays a mean pentatonic riff! And he loves to just skip strings, making this a signature style. Here’s a video of him in Austin City Limits, playing Cliffs of Dover, another favorite.