Name: Don Alder though some folks seem to be calling me "Donny" Alder
Age: Sweet 16 as of 33 years ago = but a very young 49
Town: Vancouver BC Canada
Hometown: Grew up in a small cow town in the interior of British Columbiacalled Williams Lake aka "Willies Puddle"
At what age did you start playing guitar and why?
I started late around the age of 14. I had taken ill for a few months which kept me out of school. My mother gave me a guitar to help make staying home and resting more tolerable. I learned the intro to "Satisfaction" and thenput the guitar to rest. At some point in time I saw the movie "Woodstock" and was totally blown away by Alvin Lee and the very cool instrumental piece played by Jimi Hendrix at the end of the movie. I then began playingelectric guitar for some time until I met a guy that knew how to fingerpick, so he taught me the basics and I just kept going with it.
Simpson Sears electric deluxe 39.00 followed by a cheap Suzuki parlor guitar
Jimi Hendrix, Alvin Lee, Brian May, Wishbone Ash, Bruce Cockburn and Frank Zappa, Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath
At a school sock hop with a LOUD noisy band called Arsus Myth.
Acoustic Guitars you own:
I have a nice Family of acoustics that were custom made by some very talented builders. Each has there own unique place for recording or live. Collection includes: Sugicraft Mini Jumbo, Duane Noble Harp Guitar, Mark Deering OM, Andrew White Custom Body, Micheletti Kestrel, Jenkins Chameleon, Spirit Guitars Presentation OM, and a Gottschall Funnel body
A Greenfield Don Alder - G4 signature model would be at the top of the list and my main guitar. Some of my other faves would include a Mark Wood OM Wedge, Tony Karol custom, Matt Mustapick Baritone, De Gier OM , Jimmy Caldwell FC Model, and a wonderful custom OM by Victor Guitars.
Your Style, and how you developed it:
It's somewhat of a mutated Clawhammer technique. I have quite an aggressive right hand that strums while the fingers are picking. I started off with playing the usual picking patterns along with anchoring the pinky on the soundboard. At some point I made a conscious effort to incorporate the pinky. This opened a whole new range of possibilities. The non-stationary wrist along with the picking allows for some very fast playing when needed. New techniques are usually born from the songwriting process. I hear an idea and then find ways of making it audible on the guitar.
I try to practice but every time I pick up the guitar the session quickly turns into an adventure. It's a huge thrill to discover new things or write new songs. I guess you could say I'm practicing as theres a lot of repetition that comes with this process. A lot of what I record or do live is far from perfect. For me it's about creation and feeling. My playing style is passion driven. Sometime back I received a compliment from Pierre Bensusan. He came up to me and said "Don" "Great Set!". I thought to myself "COOL" then I realized he didn't say anything about the actual guitar playing, haha. Coming from Pierre they were still great words of encouragement.
Don Ross, Pierre Bensusan, Tommy Emmanuel, Peter Finger, Masa Sumide, Alex Di Grassi, Steve Vai, Robben Ford, Dave Martone, Jeff Beck, Vicente Amigo, Pat Metheny, Wishbone Ash and my good buddy Andy Mckee,
Is there anything else you want people to know about you, your playing style or your views on today's music in general?
Actually Yes, I would like to say "So young, So angry, Damn dat rap music" heh heh. But in all seriousness, It's a great time for acoustic guitarists. Opportunities and audiences are growing. If either of these cease to exist then let me introduce you to this short quote from Bruce Cockburn. "If you're not willing to play at a train station for tips then you might want to consider a different career" or something similar to that. I live by this. If there's money to be made, great!, but if not, Ill always play for the love of the instrument even if Im confined to playing in my bedroom. I would also like to say a special thanks to luthiers who like musicians can make very little money but build for the love of creating an instrument from a piece of wood.
Visit Don's website at www.donalder.com to learn more about Don and his music.