This should have been published back in June - but company problems meant everything was put on hold...
Here is what would have been published on guitaridol.tv, licklbrary.com, alloutguitar.com etc
Artist Ten: Damjan Pecjinoski (Macedonia)
Damjan was another who flew under the radar until his taptastic rendition of Andy James’s ‘Metalcore’ track made people stand up and take notice. A cursory look at his other YouTube performances simply blew away the judges – and his fusion final heat entry didn’t disappoint: so how did he fare live?
Rob Harris: “…nice to hear some proper playing through changes… in the 16 bar break though he should have comped the chords instead of leaving it to the backing track …”
Phil Hilborne: “…very, very accomplished… needs to stop copying Greg Howe: Gregs’s already out there! …liked the latin touch… ultimately too derivative for me though …”
Martin Goulding: “…composition, playing all heavily in the Greg Howe style: same licks, nuances, phrasing, techniques and vibrato – even the same latin section… a perfect clone of Greg… needs much more of an individual identity to set himself apart from his main influence… in all areas amazing – fantastic technique, great potential …”
Owen Edwards: “…world class technique, groove phrasing and timing… has it all: but I suspect too close to Greg Howe on the basis of this composition… has that liquidity of feel and touch that I have seen Guthrie Govan exhibit… great natural performer… up there with the best for me …”
Simon Pitt:“…interesting and musical choice of material… at times exhibits really musical insight and touches of wit …”
Stephen Loveday: “…cool focus on timing and groove… great playing – not a bit repetitive… would be nice to really hold on some of the notes to give the playing real contrast …”
Simon McBride: “…lots of technique… great use of a latin vibe… great use of arpeggios …”
Damjan suffered due to many finding his track and use of techniques just that bit too close to Greg Howe’s for comfort: but if he came back next year with a more wholly original track I cannot see anyone beating him. A truly world class guitarist with a superb command of many more styles than was shown by this performance – his playing is not in question, but ultimately he had to be judged on what was performed on the day. I am convinced that Damjan has what it takes to become one of the new generation of guitar heroes and we are all looking forward to hearing and seeing much more of this exciting young player!
Artist Eleven: Gustavo Di Padua (Brazil)
The final of the returning trio of live finalists from last year, Gustavo is arguably the most “rock” of the finalists this year, with his combination of prime 80’s US players such as Jake E Lee, George Lynch and Nuno Bettancourt – all spliced up with some latin American touches.
Rob Harris: “…gutsy player – nice to hear some variation in tones… good use of whammy… good technique – but not a great tune for me personally …”
Phil Hilborne: “…some great contrasting musical sections… nice rhythm and clear lead playing – overall I liked it: and good entertainment too! …”
Martin Goulding:"…great vibe, cool riffs, tight composition – choppy and rhythmic in places, fluid in others… great full one rock phrasing… excellent touch/feel and nuance… gritty and “in the pocket” melodies, authoritative vibrato… aggressive and full of commitment: great track and playing throughout …”
Owen Edwards: “…can be summed up easily: some much needed “rawk ‘n’ roll”!... great live charisma – does the classic Jake E Lee leaning back pose (see the Ozzy live at US ’83 festival) to a tee… nothing revolutionary but what a great combination of chops, taste, charisma, image and style …”
Simon Pitt: “…engaging personality… technically adept and a real crowd pleaser …”
Stephen Loveday: “…great sound… real energy and fire to his performance… best “attitude” and stage presence so far… hoping for a bit more substance though: played with even more old school rock ‘n’ roll showmanships (think Angus Young etc) would have been my absolute favourite …”
Simon McBride: “…good stage presence, good song, good variation of techniques and feel…”
Gustavo delivered a great rock guitar performance: if the present revival of classic/80’s style rock continues someone should snap this guy up soon. Gustavo get out there and join an up and coming cool rock band and get out there in the States (maybe as a support act to Chickenfoot?) - that is where your future lies…
Artist Twelve: Hedras Ramos (Guatamala)
Hedras was technically the fifth most popular online guitarist, but as Faraz Anwar couldn’t attend due to visa problems he got through – it wouldn’t have mattered if he hadn’t as the online judges all had this astounding young shred maestro through anyway. At only (just!) 17 years of age it was always going to interesting to see if he could pull it off live…
Rob Harris: “…good intervallic playing… but where’s the tune!... more chops than a butchers shop!... powerful delivery…”
Phil Hilborne: “… angular piece… not the best tone… strong technique – nice tapping ideas… good variety in the arpeggio sections… very good overall – but a little too Phrygian dominant for my tastes! …”
Martin Goulding: “…nice eintervallic melody… good control and tone… riffage top class… playing is full of colour, flair and technical flamboyance… incredible potential… very impressive and musical use of the full range of techniques …”
Owen Edwards: “…fantastic technique for one so young – absolutely on the same level as world class shred/metal players twice his age… combination of Andy James and Marco Sfogli in his approach… fizzy tone on the rhythm guitars though – but lead cut through great… very confident live performer for his age – don’t think he dropped any notes!…”
Simon Pitt: “…very technically adept and really worked the crowd …”
Stephen Loveday: “…great, and super accurate shred guitar played with real conviction… mad composition – tuneful in places but almost mathematical in it’s structure… this guy I could really work with …”
Simon McBride: Irish Blues/Rock Guitar Virtuoso, Young Guitarist Of The Year Winner, highly acclaimed solo artist
“…superb technique… good stage presence and performance… interacted wellwith the audience …”
So, Hedras pulled it off! All the judges appreciated the undeniable technical command that he has – and even if his chosen style wasn’t to all our tastes there is no denying that there is a new kid on the block in the world of shred guitar!
So there we have it: 12 performances dissected by not only the judges and live audience, but a worldwide audience via the online webcast.
When the judges scores were sorted out it was ultimately down to two players: Danielle Gottardo and Jack Thamerrat.
Jack got it, followed by Hedras Ramos.
Stev Vai's Choice?