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Latest News From The Blog...

I love my guitar. Honest! 

Since my new video went up online, I've been getting the occasional criticism from guitarists for mistreating Wilma (my lovely, faithful handmade Lowden guitar). "Look at the state of her!" they cry. "That's a cruel thing to do to a beautiful instrument!" they wail.

It makes me sad. :(

Why? Well, I love my guitar. Anyone who's seen me play will see that I clean her immediately after every gig. If I'm playing two sets, she gets cleaned during the interval too. I lookafter her to the point of obsession, and she might look worn but I've played over 1,000 gigs with her and she's still the only guitar I take on the road. That's right - I don't take a spare. "What happens if you break a string?" I can hear you asking in my head. Not sure how you got in my head. But anyway - I have never broken a string on a gig. Well, once in Rome but we were both tired.

The damage on my guitar is caused almost exclusively by scratching the top, often with a pick (Jon Gomm signature picks, available in the store!). The same is true with Tommy Emmanuel's famous beat-up Maton (and that's cedar topped too, as I recall, so it's even softer!) Your guitar won't get that scrapheap look from normal drumming techniques.

If you are trying out percussion on the guitar - which I HUGELY recommend if you enjoy fun - the only way you'll damage it is if you do it badly, just like any other technique.

1) Don't drum with your nails, especially acrylic or plastic nails.
2) Don't use your knuckles - but that's at least 50% to avoid hurting yourself!
3) Don't do it hard - the percussion sounds are naturally far louder than the regular notes, so if you do it hard you'll be all out of balance, volume wise.
4) Don't do it directly above/below the soundhole (this depends on the bracing pattern of your guitar. If it's a Takamine, for example, you WILL crack it there).

The better your guitar is, the better the percussion sounds you will achieve. Hitting a $100 Fender acoustic will sound like slapping drywall. Hitting a £2,000 Lowden, or a £20,000 Michael Greenfield guitar sounds mellow and warm, like a tom tom played with a soft mallet.

DISCLAIMER: If in doubt - chicken out! Don't send me the repair bill, anyway....

Thanks for reading,

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New Single 'Passionflower' Out Today! 

My first ever single, Passionflower, has finally arrived! Here's the video (Youtube link)

You can really help me get my music into more people's ears by sharing it - post it on your facebook, tweet it, blog it, email it to your friends / family / fellow inmates / etc...

And you can download the song right now from the store page,  and Pay What You Want - you can even pay nothing. It's totally your call. :)

You can buy it as a download card too - a postcard I designed with artwork on the front and lyrics on the back and a unique download code. It will be hand-addressed and posted to you!

The guitar tab is available too: you can download the full transcription for £1.99, with all my crazy guitar tapping and retuning explained. Or there's a free easy version for those who just like to learn the chords and the words. Get them from the Guitarists Only area.

I really hope you enjoy listening to and watching the song, sharing it with friends and having fun with the transcription. I feel like this is how music should be released.

The second single in The Domestic Science Singles Series will be out on Saturday October 29th 2011, and the launch will be at Leeds Guitar Night -

THANKS for supporting independent music!

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Gibson Guitars Pleads Innocent, I Disagree 

 Gibson Guitars was raided not long ago by US officials, and endangered woods imported from India, Madagascar and elsewhere were seized.

Gibson is pleading innocence and has already garnered 10,000+ signature to a petition. They say the law isn't clear, they say they are providing jobs for Americans, they say all kinds of things but they don't say why they need to use these woods.

I mean no offence, but in my opinion Gibson are in the wrong here.

Harvesting endangered woods in India might not seems serious from a US perspective, but it is extremely dangerous to the short-term environment and long-term economy of the regions being devastated by deforestation.

I have read that the discontinuation of their eco-range SmartWood guitars was because the consumers didn't like it. But nobody will buy a guitar which you're clearly saying is not as good! If it was just as good, you'd simply replace the woods in your normal stock, not make a new eco-range. Gibson know this, they aren't dumb. And it meant they could keep using endangered woods, and blame you.

And Gibson are also warning YOU might be prosecuted for simply owning a Gibson, which is scaremongering nonsense.

All they need to do is switch to sustainable woods! What's the big deal? It will sound the same and look great.

Your axe does not need to be an axe. 

"Was this worth my house?"

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The Domestic Science singles series 

People say the internet has killed albums. Well I thought about that, and actually I love the idea of a return to the early days of recorded popular music, when people just loved one song at a time, really intensely. Or even to a time before that, when they had to buy the sheet music and learn to play it for themselves.

So, I've made some singles to be released in a series this Autumn, available by only as downloads (no CDs this time), only from, and on a Pay What You Want basis – each song will cost you zero pence, or a million dollars, or anywhere in between! You can listen to it first for free, then choose how much you think it's worth / what you can afford. 

Or you can receive the song by post, in the form of a specially designed, hand-addressed postcard which will have a unique code allowing you to download the tune.

10% of your payment will go to The Happy House orphange and school in Watamu, Kenya.

I'm also transcribing the guitar tab for each song – the proper semi-impossible Gomm arrangement, and a basic strum-along version too - so you can learn to play it yourself if you like.

The songs were home-produced by me in my house with my battered guitar Wilma, some budget microphones and an old laptop, hence the Domestic Science title, and each one has an accompanying video which has been produced on a shoestring by helpful fans and budding film-makers, keen as always to get involved and help the cause. Thanks dudes!

The first song is called Passionflower, and it'll be out on Wednesday September 28th. The following singles in the series are mix of new songs, unexpected cover versions and instrumentals. Keep an eye out for more info and sneak previews as the date approaches...

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Leeds Guitar Night 2011 - featuring me, Erik Mongrain & more.... 

The Leeds Guitar Night is back for 2011, and I'm delighted to be hosting a fantastic international line up at The Wardrobe in the Quarry Hill Arts Quarter, where you’ll see and hear the acoustic guitar played every way you could imagine and possibly more! My guests this year are modern pioneers of the acoustic guitar, revered by their fellow players around the world. 

This concert will also be the Leeds launch for my new project ‘The Domestic Science Singles Series’. The second single in the series will be released and revealed on the night of this concert. To celebrate we’re inviting the Leeds Guitar Night audience to an aftershow party at The Wardrobe which will continue til 2am.

Tickets are £8 from

My first guest is the incredible Erik Mongrain from Quebec, who astounded guitar lovers worldwide with his phenomenal composition ‘Airtap’ in which debuted his radical lap tapping technique. His 2009 appearance on Later With Jools Holland further expanded his reputation as a virtuoso who constantly seeks to push the boundaries of his instrument. “His awesome talent is audible and visible for anyone who has encountered his playing.” (Acoustic Magazine) Me and Erik have been cohorts for some years but this is the first time we'll share the same stage.

The second guest is the wonderfully eclectic acoustic virtuoso Giuliano Modarelli whom I met at College studying Jazz in Leeds. Originally from Italy, his unique and exceptionally innovative style is a subtle blend of World Folk, Arabic, Flamenco, Latin and Eastern European. Giuliano regularly tours India and Africa. "A fusion barometer would have registered Modarelli's originality and his ability to tap into Jazz's innate power of seduction." (The Sunday Express)

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