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TALKING GUITARS WITH CALEB GARFINKEL

Tell us about your guitar/pedal/amp setup

 I perform in a lot of different projects and have three main rigs set up: acoustic, electric and electronic.  The main guitars I use are a Paul Reed Smith McCarty electric, a Godin Multiac nylon, a Martin OMC acoustic and a Moog E1 electric guitar. My acoustic rig is mostly for solo and cover gigs and is set up so I can loop voice, guitar or both at any time, but only with the use of one microphone. I use a Boomerang 3 Phrase Sampler with their added Sidecar, which is just one of the best loopers available. This gives me four loops that are synced together, allowing me to explore the one-man band concept thoroughly. My electric rig uses a Suhr Badger 35, a beautiful hand wired amp from the US. It’s pretty sparse on frills – it only has one channel and no reverb, but it has the ability to power scale, turning the wattage down to as low as one watt to drive the amp really hot at low volumes. It really gives the tubes a workout and gets a really wide range of sounds.

My electronic rig is physically the simplest: guitar (Godin or Moog) into an audio interface, an M-Audio Profire 610, into a Macbook Pro running Ableton Live and Max/MSP. I take a single guitar input and send it through a fairly elaborate array of effect chains, using stock plugins and custom patches that I built in Max/MSP. My focus in this setup is in separating and layering as many different sounds, exploded out from fairly simple guitar passages. I use a Behringer FCB1010 floorboard to trigger MIDI functions inside Live, controlling software loopers and recording and finally, a Korg Nanokontrol for level and effect parameter control.

 

Tell us about your transition to live and how you found work.

I started playing live as a singer/songwriter, which took me down the fairly typical path of networking with similar artists, booking venues, maintaining relationships, and selling myself as a product. I began playing a lot of instrumental music – classical, jazz, acoustic – at cafes and corporate functions, and also cover duos and bands. I got involved with a few agencies that have given me a lot of work, and learnt early on that the more flexible and diverse my music offerings were, the more opportunities I could get. I put together a large repertoire that would fit in any situation, and agreed to play and learn anything that was required for a particular gig on the assumption that I could use those pieces for future performances. It’s almost a form of paid practice. The idea of marketing myself led me to deciding what sort of corporate music I’d be happy to play, and I then created packages based on that premise. One year I arranged a collection of Christmas carols for solo jazz guitar and sold a project called Carols by Caleb. It was a great way to play standard, overplayed music in new and creative ways. For a long time I played covers in a lot of regional pubs. They led to a lot of work in weddings, corporate functions and parties. In the past few years I’ve fallen into musical orchestra pits. These came about mostly by word of mouth and putting up my hand to play in something I’d never done before. I’m currently involved in the musical direction of cabaret and theatre shows. I first responded to an ad to write and produce music for a puppet show, which was a major learning experience. I’ve since come on board as the musical director of KaDo Warehouse in Richmond, where I arrange music with singers and performers and assemble and lead bands in performances. It’s a completely different type of work to the pub gigs and puts me right in the driver’s seat to create wonderful new performance pieces.

 

What private tuition do you offer? What are your approaches and rates?

I teach from my studio in Richmond, where I tutor all styles of guitar, bass, mandolin, ukulele and banjo. I’ve created my own method, which combines holistic physical awareness of posture and the instrument with a focus on music styles that a student wants to play. I have a set list of repertoire I usually teach in different styles, but I much prefer to focus on what students will actually enjoy and steer them towards that before branching out into new suggestions. I teach all ages from 6 upwards to retirees, and really enjoy watching each student develop at their own pace and reach their achievements.

Rates: $35 p/half hour/$60 p/hour.

To contact Caleb for tuition, head to: www.gotfink.com

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