Making its way back to the Caulfield Racecourse for its fifth consecutive year, the Melbourne Guitar Show is eyeing August 2019 off like a dog eyes off its dinner. Poised to be its biggest and best jaunt yet, this year's show – kicking off across the weekend of August 3rd and 4th – promises a (quite literally) jam-packed lineup of performers and exhibitors, with an emphasis on getting punters hands-on with the enormous array of axes on show.
In the lead-up to this year's Melbourne Guitar Show, Australian Guitar is going full steam ahead on the hype train. Every Tuesday and Friday, we'll be going head-to-head with one of the top-notch fretboard warriors making their way to the show, in the pursuit of getting to know a little more about who'll be melting out minds when they take to the stage. In this edition: Chris Bieniek.
With over 20 years experience tearing it up on the local scene, Chris Bieniek is a must-see for any music fan with an affinity for tight, punchy and prismatic riffage. Swerving deftly between genres (anywhere from pop to jazz to funk), Bieniek’s playing is consistently mind-blowing – you never know what he’s going to do next with his fretboard, and therein lies the charm. With a new solo album in the pipeline, we’ve got our fingers crossed for plenty of new music on Bieniek’s MGS ‘19 agenda.
What are you most looking forward to about the 2019 Melbourne Guitar Show?
The opportunity to play at the show with some great musos, and to also hear some great music.
Why do you think events like the Melbourne Guitar Show are so important for guitar lovers?
It gives people the opportunity to see and hear what local builders and artists are doing.
What can punters expect from your performance at the Melbourne Guitar Show? Do you have any exciting surprises or curveballs up your sleeve?
We'll be playing an eclectic mix of my original music from various projects influences. There will be plenty of improvisation, so who knows what curveballs may come!
What are you most excited about in the guitar world right now?
The many options now available for recording guitar. Great gear is so accessible, whether you like to record with real amps or virtual.
What innovations would you like to see companies take with the guitar in the near (and distant) future?
I particularly love the true temperament fretting system, and how they have made the frets shape closer to where more accurate pitches on the neck occur. I think innovations that improve the instrument's performance are particularly impressive.
What guitar(s) are you playing on at the moment? Do you have any particular go-tos or favourites?
A Cargill Frankenstein – it used to be a Strat Plus, but the only original part is the body. The neck is made by Jim Cargill, and the frets and fretboard by True Temperament, and it has an EverTune bridge.
Let’s go way back: what was the first guitar you bought, and what was it about that guitar that reeled you in?
A red Sparkle Samick with a Floyd Rose. I could afford it with my paper route savings, so it was a great introduction to playing the electric guitar.
What’s does the rest of your rig look like? Effects, pedals, amps…
I have a simple rig – a tube combo with just volume, treble, mid and bass. I also have a small pedalboard with two FoxRox Zim Drive overdrive pedals, a Jimi Hendrix wah, a MXR one-knob Chorus, a MXR Phase 90, and an Ibanez Delay (that I barely have on).
If you could design the ultimate guitar, where nothing is impossible with it, what would you put on it?
I would have a button installed that instantly fixed a bad sounding room or space.
Who are your favourite up-and-coming guitarists? Anyone we should be keeping an eye on?
There is a young Melbourne guitarist I taught a few years back by the name of Matt Hoyne, who recorded an EP a little while back. Listening to the recording, I was blown away by how much he had developed as a player, and how great he sounded.
Melbourne Guitar Show 2019
Stars (ft. Mal Eastick, Nick Charles and Roger McLachlan)
James Norbert Ivanyi
Cartridge Family (ft. Sarah Carroll and Suzanna Espie)
Simon Hosford’s Fair Warning
Saturday August 3rd + Sunday 4th
Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne VIC
Tickets on sale via australianmusician.com.au