Biography

Jonny wishes he had learned the guitar at an early age, but didn’t start until he was 15. By this stage he had spent 9 years being taught the cello, piano and organ. He swapped the cello for the guitar, mostly because his cello teacher’s breath was really very bad. Seriously, in those cramped teaching rooms it is important that your tutor doesn’t eat egg and onion sandwiches for breakfast and garlic bread for lunch. All that he had learned on the other instruments was gradually transferred to the fretboard including a desire to be the whole orchestra/band where possible.

Following the traditional, classical music route meant that he had to specialise in the piano because nobody took the guitar seriously as a real instrument in those days unless you only played Bach and Tárrega. From the first moments of picking up the guitar he was immediately involved in local bands, playing dreadful cover versions of songs by various progressive rock bands.While at university, he discovered that he actually loved almost any well crafted music, no matter what the style, so his musical tastes started becoming more and more eclectic.

On listening for the first time to Stanley Jordan, Jonny realised that you don’t have to play the guitar the normal way to make some awesome sounds and started using both hands on the fretboard to create piano-like textures.

At university in Belfast he started playing in Blues bands and show bands as well as original bands ranging from heavy rock through to acoustic croonings. He started specialising in music technology, gaining a Masters degree as well as an interest in experimental and electronic music and ways in which the organic tones of the guitar could be manipulated.

Jonny studied to be a music teacher in Homerton College, Cambridge, going into full time teaching in a school in Leicestershire where he flirted with playing the trumpet for a while, and coaxed the cello out of retirement (albeit very briefly). In 2002 he left full-time classroom teaching and started his own business as well as teaching guitar part-time.

He played in many bands during this time, including a Joe Satriani tribute band (which did tend to attract a very specialised audience!), various function bands, a jazz band, pit bands, church bands and played the odd solo gig showcasing the two-handed tapping technique on the electric guitar.

In 2009, Jonny discovered the music of the modern acoustic guitar players such as Eric Roche, Preston Reed and Andy McKee. Their music inspired him to transfer his electric guitar skills to its unplugged, steel stringed cousin. He bought a beautiful Avalon guitar at the end of 2009 and hasn’t looked back, or taken it out of his hands ever since.

Influences

Eric Roche, Andy McKee, Newton Faulkner, Preston Reed, Thomas Leeb, Michael Hedges, Jeff Buckley, Sarah McLachlan, Nick Drake, Queen, Muse, Pink Floyd, U2, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Audioslave, The Tragically Hip, Joe Satriani, Yes, Rush, Jamiroquai, Martin Taylor, Joe Pass, Pat Metheny, Stanley Jordan, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Brian Eno, The Orb, Pendulum, Bach, Beethoven, Dvorak, Mahler, Bruckner, Wagner, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Vaughan-Williams, Reich, Glass, Stockhausen