Watch 2018’s incredible Acoustic Guitarist of the Year finalists in action

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Since April this year, we’ve been on the hunt for the best amateur acoustic guitarists around the world, to see who should be crowned Acoustic Guitarist of the Year 2018 - and now you can view the winning performances at the final, held at the UK Guitar Show on Saturday 29 September.

Alexandr Misko was crowned the winner at the Takamine-sponsored event, with Karlijn Langendijk and Casper Esmann runners-up. All three delivered unbelievable solo performances, as you can see below.

Hundreds of entry videos were submitted, before standout performances were sent to star judges Jon Gomm, Tommy Emmanuel and Mike Dawes. The three finalists were then judged at the show itself by Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar Techniques and MusicRadar editors, as well as Mike Dawes.

In addition to the prestigious title, Alexandr walked away with a beautiful Takamine EF340S-TT ‘Thermal Top’ guitar, among other fantastic prizes.

Enjoy the three finalists’ performances below…

Winner: Alexandr Misko

Alexandr, from Russia, had his first classical guitar lesson eight years ago, when he was just 12. He was fascinated by different kinds of music during his teens, especially old-school rap.

Playing guitar has become the most important part of his life - composing original music has always been the best way to express his feelings and emotions. His biggest dream is to become a successful touring musician who shares his music with the world.

Alexandr’s biggest influences in the fingerstyle world are Jon Gomm, Thomas Leeb, Mike Dawes, Preston Reed, Pino Forastiere, Erik Mongrain and Don Ross.  

For the competition, Alexandr recorded a brand-new song called Tale Of Lost Times, which is the name of a Russian fairytale. It’s about a hero who makes a long journey and overcomes many obstacles to save his princess, although we never know if he manages to do it or not. It’s up to listener to decide...

Karlijn Langendijk

23-year-old Karlijn Langendijk grew up in the Netherlands surrounded by guitar music. She started playing the guitar when she was 13 years old, inspired by her father.

Playing the guitar gives Karlijn the ability to share stories without words, she says. When writing, she composes all the intricate shades of emotions and not just songs that are happy or sad. Composing and playing is a way for her to deal with and translate her experiences into sounds that other people can relate to.

Karlijn’s initial musical inspirations were guitar players like Tommy Emmanuel, Don Ross and Mike Dawes, so she was grateful to be chosen by the three guitar masters Tommy Emmanuel, Jon Gomm and Mike Dawes. Her current influences come from piano and film music by artists like Tigran Hamasyan, Chopin and Philip Glass.

Karlijn's song Triangulum is named after a small constellation in the northern sky. The three-note motif in her piece symbolises the three brightest stars of this constellation, which form a triangle.

Casper Esmann

Hailing from Denmark, Casper started playing 11 years ago after his dad showed him a video of Tommy Emmanuel. The next day he went out and bought a cheap guitar and started teaching himself how to play.

Playing guitar means absolutely everything to Casper, he says; it was great therapy in helping him out of a deep depression two years ago. His influences include Tommy Emmnuel, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, Kotaro Oshio, Martin Tallstrom and Petteri Sariola.

Casper describes making it to the Acoustic Guitarist of the Year final as “unbelievable”. He could never imagine that something like this could ever happen to a guy like him, from such a small town in such a small country.

D-Day is dedicated to that day when the soldiers landed on Omaha beach in Normandy during World War 2. Casper always felt emotionally moved by this event. The piece has been written to make the listener visualize that day from a whole new perspective, telling a story without words.

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