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Tommy Emmanuel: How To Master The Acoustic Guitar

15 January 2020 | 8:13 pm | Staff Writer

How do you master the acoustic guitar? We get some secrets to success from Blues On Broadbeach headliner Tommy Emmanuel, who was recently named the #1 acoustic guitarist in the world on Music Radar, as voted by fellow musicians.

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How does it feel to be named the best acoustic guitar player in the world?

I'm very happy to be recognised by my peers and fans alike. However, polls are just that - peoples' opinions. The world is full of amazing musicians. I'm one of the lucky ones who stuck at it and somehow stood out from the herd, through hard work and a lot of determination. Thanks to those who voted, I'm very grateful.

Is there anything you’re still trying to master on the acoustic?

I'm still trying to get better every day. Any instrument is never mastered, but progress is exciting and inspiring. If I don't play a lot, I feel I'm slacking off, and THAT WON'T DO!

What guitar players inspire you?

I am inspired more by singers and songwriters, but I love all styles. Classical to metal, country to pop and blues. I love what so many of my peers have given us, and this younger generation of players is much more adventurous than my generation.

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What makes a good acoustic player?

There are so many aspects of someones playing that I listen for: Number one would be feeling, then timing, groove, tone, good and interesting ideas. Originality is important. And being in tune!

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give an aspiring acoustic guitar players?

Learn good songs... practice them with a metronome a thousand times, don't be in a hurry and get it right!

What is the most common mistake players make?

The most common mistake I hear is players not interpreting the melody and chords correctly. Young people either rush everything or drag like hell! EVERYONE should work on the time and understand its importance.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I want to say that I'm deeply upset about the condition of our beautiful country. People and animals suffering so much. I pray for the future to be focussed on getting back to the real Aussie ways and not focused on money and power. We need each other, we need our values and our principals to be upheld properly. I'm looking forward to coming home in May, and in the meantime, I'm joining a lot of my mates in raising money to aid the recovery of our wide brown land. There's a lot of love out there for Australia - never underestimate it! Love to all.

For all the details on Blues On Broadbeach, which runs from 14-17 May, head to the festival’s website.