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Artist of the Month for February 2004: Greg Meckes

Greg Meckes

Age: 35

Elma, NY

At what age did you start playing guitar?
13 or so. To be honest, I don't really remember exactly when I started. 2 of my older brothers always had guitars around so playing was always a matter of curiosity at first. I started taking electric guitar lessons and eventually developed some sort of sense about playing. As far as acoustic fingerstyle technique, I'm what you would call self-taught. I never had any formal training on fingerstyle technique, so I guess my style is a little unorthodox.

First guitar:
Gibson Thunderbird from pawn shop. I'm not sure what year it was. It had 2 missing tuning pegs but it played and sounded great. I eventually traded it for a PA system - something I always regretted.

Early Influences:
Steve Morse, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen were my main influences at first. Since then there have been too many to mention. Steve Morse was always my 'main guy' and his overall musicianship was always a driving force for me to be a better musician myself. With him it's about music first, and his playing just happens to be overwhelming. At least that's how I always felt about it.

First gig:
A private party. I was never so nervous in my life. I was in a wedding type band and we did songs like John Cougar and Kenny Loggins.

Acoustic Guitars you own:
Taylor 314, an Ovation knockoff Applause

Favorite Guitar:
My favorite acoustic is my Taylor 314. I've never a guitar like it - even the better models. For some reason, this guitar is 'just right' for me. My favorite electric is my Hamer Chapparal. It's pretty beat up and has a 'classic 80's rock' look, but it has become my favorite playing guitar. I also own 2 Fender strats, another Hamer, and a 'parts' guitar.

Your Style, and how you developed it:
My acoustic style is fingerstyle. I guess it developed from writing music. My first composition on acoustic was more of an exploration of the music, and my 'technique' just kind of followed along with it. I would find myself plucking through chords to find sounds and textures, and my technique just grew with it.

Practice Regimen:
In my early years, I would practice every day for a few hours playing scales and working on my flat-picking exercises. These days I really don't practice much (even though I know I should) but spend time writing and trying to move in different directions with music.

Favorite Artist(s):
Wow this list could get long! Here's the short list: Steve Morse, Tribal Tech, Brett Garsed, Michael Hedges, Alex Degrassi, Jethro Tull, Chris Cornell, Sarah Mclachlan.

Is there anything else you want people to know about you, your playing style or your views on today's music in general?
My acoustic music is simple, yet melodic and thought provoking (or so I've been told). The style I've developed was born from the music so I really never studied a 'technique' or anything like that. I work pretty hard all the time trying to move in different directions musically.

I'm not really into today's music. It seems like it's all 'canned templates' of earlier music over the last 10 years. It doesn't seem to change much. There really aren't any truly groundbreaking artists, and there hasn't been for a long time. At least that's my view.

Luckily there is still groundbreaking music being made if you know where to look.
Check out Greg's website
If you are a guitarist with a cd out and would like to be featured here please contact me.

AOTM Archives:

August 2008 - Danny Combs
March 2006 - Bryan Clark
Februry 2006 - Darin Leong
January 2006 - Andy McKee
December 2005 - Don Alder
November 2005 - Doug Young
October 2005 - Nancy Conescu
August - September 2005 - Warren Greig
July 2005 - Ian Melrose
June 2005 - Roger Lasley
May 2005 - Jim Tozier
April 2005 - Jessica Papkoff
March 2005 - Todd Habekost
February 2005 - Michael Hewett
January 2005 - Steve Barney
December 2004 - Tony McManus
November 2004 - Chris Newman
October 2004 - Kevin Kastning
September 2004 - Rick Duke
August 2004 - El McMeen
June-July 2004 - Charles David Alexander
May 2004 - Tony Capri
April 2004 - Shane Simpson
March 2004 - Bill Cooley
February 2004 - Greg Meckes
January 2004 - Gary Leek
December 2003 - Ernie Hawkins
November 2003 - Keith Knight
October 2003 - Jaquie Gipson
September 2003 - Chuck Durfor
August 2003 - Cathy Horner
July 2003 - Art Edelstein
June 2003 - Muriel Anderson
May 2003 - Clarelynn Rose
March-April 2003 - Steve Wildey
February 2003 - Rick Ruskin
January 2003 - Kerry Kling
December 2002 - Tim O'Brien
November 2002 - Howard Emerson
October 2002 - Dennis Roger Reed
September 2002 - Larry Pattis
August 2002 - Paul Asbell