This August, Melbourne will host a guitar festival like no other. Australian guitarists and enthusiasts will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the instrument as the Melbourne Guitar Show brings together manufacturers, players and performers from a range of styles and levels of expertise. Mixdown caught up with Festival Director Rob Walker to find out more. Tell us about the motivation behind setting up the Melbourne Guitar Show? The guitar is the world’s most popular instrument and we want to celebrate it. The members of the Australian Music Association want to inspire and excite the public about playing music, by presenting the best products, the biggest brands and the best players all under one roof.
What is your history with the instrument?
I got my first guitar as a teenager, and I still love playing it, but the bass has been my lifetime (so far) passion. I still play professionally and regularly. The 1973 Fender Jazz is my favourite, but I love a 1980 P Bass Special, a Noyce Dolphin 5-string, a Music Man Stingray and a Taylor AB1 acoustic as well.
Who is the Guitar Show aimed at?
Guitar (and ukulele) enthusiasts who want to see, try and buy the latest products as well as some interesting vintage items. It will be the biggest “pop-up” guitar store in the southern hemisphere – open for business for one weekend only this year – for anyone who’s into guitars, this is the event for them. Music lovers will also love the Melbourne Guitar Show with a killer line-up of players performing all weekend on two stages, in many different guitar styles and genres. There will also be two workshop stages, free lessons, tips and tricks from the professionals. From beginners to professionals; there will be something for everyone.
How many exhibitors will be there?
We’ll have about 50 exhibitors among them, the major suppliers and brands, local and interstate retailers, local guitar and ukulele makers, local custom amp makers and a decent collection of vintage to see and buy.
What sort of performances and special guests can we look forward to?
The Melbourne Guitar Show will host the best of the local guitar scene. There are multi-award winners and superb up and comers in our line-up of artists. From Jeff Lang, Lloyd Spiegel and Fiona Boyes, to Racer Axe, Nat Allison and King of the North, Wayne Jones, The Davidson Brothers, Geoff Achison and Jimi Hocking - a line-up of performances and clinicians not seen at a Melbourne guitar show before.
What educational workshops and seminars are available?
There is a great opportunity to learn stuff from our clinicians – all weekend there’ll be product clinics and workshops featuring the likes of Steve Mackay, Brett Kingman, Phil Ceberano, Jimi Hocking, Marcel Yammouni, Shannon Bourne, Lloyd Spiegel, James Ryan, Simon Hosford and many more.
What can prospective players expect to learn over the weekend?
They can see first-hand how the professionals do it – both in performance and in clinics and seminars – they have the opportunity to learn from the best. There’ll be several guitar technology sessions, how to get great tone, cutting edge amp technology and talking boutique pedals. They might see what goes into building a guitar or learn about how to play a style like metal or bluegrass.
What type of products will be available and can punters expect a good deal?
There will be guitars at the event that punters might have only seen online. The exhibitors will be dealing on the weekend. There will be amps, FX and accessories, print and learning resources. There’ll be a group of Australian makers of fine instruments and custom amplifiers. And there’ll be a fine collection of vintage instruments and amps, including a 65 Hofner Beatle Bass Signed by Sir Paul, a rare Rose Morris 12 string Rickenbacker used by George Harrison on the 64 Beatles tour and a rare 1952 Fender Telecaster to name just a few.
The Melbourne Guitar Show will be held on the weekend of August 8 and 9 from 10am - 6pm at Caulfield Racecourse. Visit www.australianmusician.com.au/melbourne-guitar-show for all the details.