Category Archives: News

January 2018: Austria, New Tune, Endorsements, Interviews and More!

A late happy new year 2018 to anyone reading this! I started the year with a bang (well actually a Guitar solo at 12:10am) with the Freddie in Concert show. I think I played about 5 notes or was it 500? Then the next day I got a nasty cold which got the better of me, however despite this, I have been having a great month so far!

St. Antons – Austria Ski Resort Gigs

After recovering from a nasty cold I was off on a plane to St. Antons Austria with my friend Rachel Hawker who is an awesome singer/songwriter, we had a residency for a week playing in a really popular local bar.  It was my first time playing Europe professionally and I really enjoyed it, everyone seems to really appreciate live music and musicians! (I even got to use my E.U adaptor on my Line6 Helix LT pedal) Rachel regularly plays as a solo artist around the E.U however this time she was kind enough to invite me along to play some Guitar. We were joined on stage at times by some locals, regular visitors (Shout out to Adrian for Congo Drums!) Rachel even had a sing off with a famous Dutch singer across the bar! I can’t remember his name… I had a great time, one day I hope to go back and do something similar.  Show Rachel some support via the link below to find out when she is next out doing her thing:

https://www.facebook.com/rachelhawkermusic

New Tune: Office Meeting Area

Here is a fun tune I have been messing around with recently, I decided to upload it to Soundcloud. Let me know what you think. I really enjoyed putting this one together. I have some other 80s/retro inspired projects in line whilst also working on my own solo recording.  And if you want to hear more I now have my two E.P’s on Spotify, Itunes and Amazon!

 

Endorsements, or should I say: the kind people who give me amazing support and make my job possible!

I want to give a big shout out to these companies for helping me do my job! Click the images to be taken to their lovely websites and show them some love.


 

And whilst I am not a Line 6 artist, the Line 6 Helix LT and the Relay G50 has made it possible for me to get my tone right everywhere I go with no issues at all!

 

Nick Johnston and Aaron Marshall Interview now in Guitar Interactive Magazine:

My feature on the future of Instrumental Guitar music is in the latest issue of Guitar Interactive Magazine! I had the pleasure of hanging out and interviewing Nick Johnston and Aaron Marshall. We spoke at length about songwriting, making a career from music and some other deep truths about being a touring solo musician. This is a MUST see feature for any aspiring Guitar player whether you are into Instrumental Guitar or not! Check out the feature by clicking the picture link below:

Continuing…

This year will be the year  the Mask of Judas debut album is released, we are VERY close to releasing the release date. Its all planned. I will be updating again during February, so keep a look out!

I am also hoping to stop by the Birmingham Guitar Show on the 25th of February, so if anyone is there, come and say hello! More info on this soon.

The rest of this month for me is lots of tech runs and rehearsals for this year’s Viva Productions shows followed by a tour through mid February, really looking forward to hitting the road again!

What I am doing this December and what I have done and will be doing!

It’s been a while since I posted here, I have been a very busy with so many exciting projects and playing lots of different shows. Its been great! Aside from some of the things on the following list that I am up to, I am always working on new music, lessons and creating interesting musical content for my Instagram and YouTube. I would like to extend a huge thank you to Dan Holland who has done my recent photos for this website. He is exceptionally skilled at all things photo related. Go check out his work here:

http://danoholland.com/

Brighton Panto:

As I type this I am looking forward to a short holiday before I get back into the swing of things later this month with panto season I will be playing Guitar in Cinderella at the Hilton Hotel in Brighton from the 22nd – 28th of December. You can get your tickets here:
http://www.brightonfamilypanto.com/

Freddie Mercury in Concert:

This New Years Eve in I will be playing with Dave Jerome as Freddie in Minehead at Butlins. I have been playing this show throughout the year and it has been amazing sharing the stage with such great people and musicians. This will be our final show of the year but we will be back!

Mask of Judas – Album Release Getting Close & Focusrite Feature.

I get a lot of questions on Instagram, Youtube and Facebook about if I still play 8 string and what is MoJ doing!? Well I can tell you that the album is drawing closer, we are looking at releasing early-ish next year. Until then, Focusrite published a video of me talking about 8 string guitar composition and tone whilst playing along to a pre-production mix of a track from the album. You can watch that here:
https://youtu.be/8sv4D-ktvHQ

New Columns:

I have just started a new column series for Guitar Interactive Magazine on the art of rhythm guitar. In this series I hope to break down my approach to rhythm playing in many different styles and look at ways of practicing and increasing your rhythmic awareness. The first instalment of this series is in the latest issue of the Magazine, which is free and you can read online here:
https://www.guitarinteractivemagazine.com/

 

My Solo Album:

Earlier this year I released two new short releases. The Earth Completes Another Rotation and Distant Lights. DL is now available to stream on Spotify, Itunes and Amazon as well as my Bandcamp page. I am currently working on a full release with some exceptional musicians helping add to the music and create an amazing sonic picture. Its in the early stages but I am very excited about how this is going to come out! Until then, you can get my previous releases here:
https://sambell.bandcamp.com/

Interviewing Nick Johnston and Aaron Marshall (Intervals)

Last month I interviewed Nick and Aaron about their careers as instrumental guitarists releasing and touring instrumental music. It was a very inspiring interview and will be published in the next issue of Guitar Interactive Magazine…watch this space..

Next Year…

If two new albums next year and more columns aren’t enough to keep me busy, I will be gigging around the UK with the awesome Viva Productions and looking for more opportunities to improve and expand on what I do as a musician, guitarist and human. In early January I do my first European shows in Austria with brilliant singer songwriter Rachel Hawker, its my first time in a colder country and my first time playing outside of the UK! When I come back I will  be helping my band mates in putting the final touches on the Mask of Judas album release plan. Its on its way, I swear!!

Guitar Connoisseur Magazine and Quist:

In other news, keep an eye out on Quist’s youtube channel as we have recently collaborated on one of his amazing jam tracks and keep another eye out on Guitar Connoisseur magazine as they were kind enough to offer me a feature! I recorded a cool improvised solo over one of my tracks from the first E.P…can’t wait for you to hear it.

Gigs, Gigs, more Gigs and an awesome new Guitar!

I am currently recovering from a long couple of weeks of gigs for Viva Production shows Freddie, Beat Street and Soul Town with Lloyd Wade. I also played a show with the awesome Decades of Rock which featured some stunning musicians I have worked with in the past, recently and some never before! I feel so fortunate that at the moment that I get a chance to make a living from playing live music, I am humbled by the amazing musicians I get the honour of working with regularly and I really enjoy playing all manner of different styles of music within these jobs. I really believe its the people you surround yourself regularly with that can influence your direction and development as a musician and as a person. I would say I am more inspired, motivated and challenged by the people I am surrounded with now than ever before. Practising your instrument is important, but playing with people is where the magic happens!

Amongst the Viva Production shows that I am taking part in this month, I have a couple of gigs coming up!Mask of Judas are playing in Bristol, UK on the 24th of June headlining ‘Bristech’ Festival at The Gryphon alongside our friends Core of Io and Taken By The Tide. There are also a whole host of amazing bands on the bill who I haven’t heard of before, but I will be checking out! I also highly encourage you to check out Mask of Judas on Facebook over the next few months as we are slowly getting around to releasing our debut album! https://www.facebook.com/maskofjudas

On the 23rd of June I am playing with Rachel and the Remedies in Worthing UK, follow Rachel here for updates https://www.facebook.com/rachelhawkermusic/  I am also playing a private function with Lloyd Wades Soul Band in Goodwood at some point this month, which is an honour!

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In other news, I have a new Guitar! The AMAZING Eternal Guitars have made this incredible T-Type guitar, this guitar features a compound radius fingerboard, huge frets, Luminlay side dots, 5-way switch for all sorts of cool and usable tones and worn in lacquer on the neck to match the feel of the body. I am fairly new to playing T-style guitars, but I am enjoying it so far! Definitely brings out a different side of me! Videos coming soon! Be sure to check out Eternal Guitars on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/EternalGuitars18815301_1576348719043596_2148145971282859924_o

SOLO ALBUM OUT NOW!

https://sambell.bandcamp.com/

CLICK ARTWORK ABOVE TO BUY

I have released 7 tracks as a solo album. Some people may remember a couple of these tracks being under the same heading as ‘Jacketrock’, now that has just become me and what I do at the moment! I hope you can enjoy this guitar instrumental, low-fi retro vibe album as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Allan Holdsworth: The Humble Genius

The recent unfortunate news of Allan Holdsworth’s passing has been a shock to the whole Guitar Community. If you are a fan of his work or not its impossible to deny the mans unparalleled skill, creativity and message with the electric guitar. Beyond the technicalities of his playing and music, there is a lot to learn from Allan’s approach to being a musician. His view of the guitar as just a took to create the music that he hears in his head and spending time working on sounding like yourself rather than copying anyone else are two ideas that resonated with me heavily since I first discovered him in my very early twenties. I am going to share with you my humble experiences of Holdsworths music in this article, I would love to hear some of your experiences of Holdsworths music.

I personally discovered him through hearing other players talk about him…this was a time where I had never listened to much fusion style music, hearing Holdsworth for the first time was a huge leap for my ears. I loved it and without really realising became obsessed with the vibe and feel his music had on me. I had no idea what he was doing, but that didn’t matter at all, he was painting unusual soundscapes that took my imagination to different places. From Holdsworth I discovered a whole world of jazz-rock-fusion guitar players who really opened up a whole world of new inspiration to me. Everything from his technical approach to his melodic/chordal approach inspired me as a technician, and his humble view of his own music and place in the guitar world really spoke to me as someone who has never really fitted in musically. I am not putting two and two together here however as Holdsworth has gone on to inspire tons of incredible guitarists.

I was fortunate enough to see him play in a local seaside town called Hastings here on the Southcoast UK. It was a small theatre and he was playing as a 3 piece band. There were probably about 20 people including myself in the audience. We had a really special low key gig with him. A tall Irish gentleman came and sat in the row of seats in front of me, it was Gary Moore. There were two incredible guitar legends in that room that night, it felt very special. Allan’s records sound excellent and I personally love his live performance recordings. However seeing and hearing him in the flesh was perhaps the best thing ever. His playing was on fire, however in between songs he would apologise for his playing and say how out of practice he was. He was very human and humble, however he had this genius ability to play guitar like he was from an alien planet, a parallel often made by people talking about Holdsworth.

As with most legendary guitarists, people often imitate but never get close. This is due to the nature of being human, but there are a whole host of modern players who have been positively inspired by Allan in creating their own unique voice in the Guitar World.

May his influence continue longer and like Allan, may people continue to push themselves to be the best version of themselves possible.

Rest In Peace Allan Holdsworth.

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April Update: Mask of Judas @ Frankfest Plus More!

Mask of Judas are playing Frankfest 8th April alongside Orange Goblin and Beholder

Get your tickets here:
http://www.wegottickets.com/f/10569

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I have a feeling this is going to be one heavy metal festival looking at that line up. I hope to see some faces there this weekend! We will be playing as a four piece as Reece is away with other work. I shall be grabbing my Ibanez 8 string and plugging it right into a Laney Ironheart 60 watt head and picking all the notes.

CAPTURE THE MOMENT ‘Paul Gilbert Jam’ PHOTOS

I recently received some extra photos from my jam with Paul Gilbert from upcoming photographer Jessie at Capture The Moment Photography you can find her Facebook Page here:
https://www.facebook.com/CapturetheMomentPhotobyJessie

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I am still inspired from my jam with Paul. I have been working on solidifying my technical playing and simplifying some of my more complex ideas. I have also been working on my vibrato and timing even more so since our jam. Sometimes its the simple stuff that lots of Guitarists over look, I am enjoying going back to basics!

NEW LICKLIBRARY STUFF ON THE WAY
I have been back at Guitar Interactive Magazine HQ filming some reviews and new columns but what is most exciting is that I will be working on a few new DVD’s I have a feeling that musicians looking to grab some composition concepts and tips on playing guitar in a musical context will enjoy this DVD. Of course there will be some licks and phrases to learn, but I hope to really focus on the concepts behind songwriting, creating and arranging a song in an instrumental context.

STILL GIGGING AWAY!
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Of course I am still doing a lot of shows for the Freddie Butlins Tribute, and I will be back on tour in May with Lloyd Wade’s Soul Town and Beat Street.  Playing live teaches me a lot, with every show I feel a sense of purpose and satisfaction with what I am part of. As you can tell by the photo above I am also able to pull a rock face whilst playing a soul tune! This photo was taken by Dan Holland, you can check out his more breathtaking photography here:
https://500px.com/danoholland

(Feature Image by  https://www.facebook.com/michaelberkeleyphotography/ )

Jamming with Paul Gilbert & what I learned.

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On Wednesday 22nd of March I was lucky enough to jam with one of my biggest influences and guitar hero’s Paul Gilbert. A massive thank you to Ben Robinson from UK Guitar Masterclass who is a fellow student at Paul Gilberts Artistworks Guitar Lesson website for making this amazing experience possible. The event was promoted and put on by him in association with Guitar Academy UK.

Paul gave as usual a fantastic masterclass in which he played some covers and discussed various approaches to note choice, groove and chords. Inspiring as always. He was joined by some fantastic local musicians who supported him on bass and drums, I was fortunate enough to catch soundcheck before the event was opened up to the public, they were jamming songs and learning them on the fly, and they did an amazing job!

Halfway through the masterclass Paul announced the time had come to jam with some audience members, I knew I was already on a list however everyone who had come to the event had the option of putting their name down on a piece of paper to be pulled out a hat at random. I was first up! I knew I was jamming so I was already quite nervous…I am fortunate to have a job where I play to a few 1,000 people a week at Holiday Parks around the UK, I have a fair bit of gigging experience (160 gigs in 2016 alone!), I am not usually afraid of going on stage and doing my job, but this time it was very different for me. Not only was I to be jamming with Paul Gilbert himself but the audience was packed full of Paul’s fans, most of whom play guitar! I also knew there were a fair amount of well known local musicians in the audience who I really respect as guitarists. The pressure was very different from what I am used to…I got out my seat, got my guitar out the bag and climbed onto the stage!

Paul was running a JCM800 Marshal head into a 4×12 cab, he had his usual array of pedals, a bright purple signature guitar and bright orange pants to match. He was super smiley and accommodating straight away. He gave me a few moments to sort out my sound. Turning around I noticed I had been bestowed a 1×12 single channel amp, it was a clean amp with a tone, volume and nothing much else. Someone had borrowed a bluesy style overdrive to slightly boost the amp..I am no stranger to this kind of basic set up, I am a fan of going direct into an amp…but today I feel I may have needed a bit of comfort from some familiar gear, which I didn’t have…but no time for excuses! Paul set up a cool jam that moved between a C# major and minor tonality during the chord sequence, straight away we started jamming… Whilst I am clearly nervous (you can tell mostly by my vibrato and rushed phrasing, especially towards the end) however during the jam I felt a sense of calm…I remember at one point listening to Paul and looking over and thinking to myself ‘I’m just jamming with Paul Gilbert’…then suddenly it hit me..this really was happening! It was a really fun jam and I had some nice compliments from him, his road manager and some people in the audience. Safe to say I drove home that night on a high!

I have studied Paul’s playing for years, and I know how versatile and experienced he is as a musician, showman and guitar player. But when you share a stage with someone like that, the experience is electrifying, its something that only those who have jammed with someone of his calibre would understand.  Paul’s playing is indestructible…he has scary chops, and he execute them on a low slung guitar, whilst making guitar faces and most importantly make it groove and make total sense in the musical situation. It made me realise that I have a lot I need to clear out of my playing and re-evaluate how I focus on my practice and performance. Which is much needed for me as I have been feeling a bit directionless recently. I already started realising this a few years back when I started gigging REGULARLY in front of large numbers a few years ago, but listening back to my performance with Paul I can hear it and see it in plain sight. I know I can play better than I did in the jam…but its not about that, its about the fact I was able to get on stage with one of the worlds greatest guitarists and get the opportunity to communicate with him and jam.

Thank you Paul!

 

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Not sure what I was saying here…

 

 

 

Jason Spell

Recently the online guitar community received some heartbreaking news. Virtuoso Guitarist and Music Blogger Jason Spell took his own life a few days ago. Whilst I never had the pleasure of meeting the Man, he reached out to many other people and is much loved by not only his Family and Friends, but the whole online Guitar continuity. Jason was a hard working Musician, striving for the same things as all musicians strive for. Jason used to reach out to me when I was having my darker moments, he was super supportive of everyone in the community, he cared about it, he was part of it, and he added a light to it. Depression is a serious thing, nobody can ever really know how deep somebody else’s pain is, if you sense someone is struggling, reach out whilst you still can.

Rest in peace Jason.

There has been a Fund started for Jason’s wife Sarah. You can donate here:
https://www.gofundme.com/sarah-spell-fund

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Soul Music, Heavy Metal, Guthrie Govan and Paul Gilbert!

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Lloyd Wade’s Soul Town and Beat Street by Viva Productions:
Not long after I had started my Freddie Tribute contract for Viva Productions I got a call from them asking if I could hop on tour with two new productions as they had a guitarist drop out last minute. Of course I say yes! Viva Productions consists of a highly talented cast of 14 dancers and musicians, this particular tour has two shows, Beat Street, which is a high energy dance/drum/percussion based show with lots of different styles of music from RnB, Rock, Swing Jazz and Pure Pop, however this is all set to intense Latin and Hip Hop inspired rhythms and complex arrangements. The other act is Soul Town with Lloyd Wade, which features the same amazing cast however with the host being the incredibly talented Lloyd Wade. He knows a thing or two about soul music and it was an absolute honour to provide backing guitars for his set. You can catch him here singing with Take That at the O2 Arena:

I am fortunate enough to have been asked back for more dates on these tours in between my other work with the Freddie Tribute. I really enjoy playing as a sideman in different styles of music, I also really enjoy the choreography of stage performances like this, its awesome being part of it all. I hope to do lots more of this!
Mask of Judas Shows with Galactic Empire/Sithu Aye:
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Before I went on tour with Viva, Mask of Judas had two shows with the amazing Star Wars metal band ‘Galactic Empire’ and the Anime inspired band Sithu Aye. We supported then at the Joiners in Southampton and Patterns in Brighton, we had a great show playing to sold out audiences. It makes me excited about our upcoming album release! Here is some footage from my GoPro at the Joiners:

NEW Premier Guitar Feature on Guthrie Govans ‘Erotic Cakes’ Album:
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Premier Guitar called me up last month to make a feature on the amazing Guthrie Govan’s landmark guitar instrumental album ‘Erotic Cakes’. I had such fun creating the examples and writing the text for this feature, I break down his composition approach, gear, inspirations and technical  aspects of this amazing album. I am proud of it, please check it out here:  https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/25440-guthrie-govans-erotic-cakes 

 

Paul Gilbert is coming to town
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Paul is coming to the UK in March to do some guitar clinics, I have tickets to the Guildford and Bristol ones. I always feel inspired after watching Paul play and hearing him talk. One day I would love to jam on stage with him, just have fun playing phrases back and forth and cranking those Marshall’s past 5!