Since May we’ve been on the hunt for the Young Guitarist of the Year 2019 - powered by Ernie Ball - and we can now reveal our three finalists will be Joey Bissell, Liam Garcia and Yamato Mori.
We invited entrants to submit a video of their playing, before creating a shortlist to be reviewed by our star judges Nita Strauss, Plini and Rabea Massaad, who rated the players on technicality, originality, musicality and feel.
The top three Young Guitarists have now been invited to appear at our live final at the UK Guitar Show on 21 September. The winner will be crowned Young Guitarist of the Year 2019 and take home a bumper prize package from sponsors Ernie Ball, details of which will be revealed soon.
Now, in alphabetical order, let us introduce you to this year’s finalists...
British guitarist Joey Bissell has been playing guitar for five years and cites everyone from John Petrucci to Chuck Berry as influences. “When I found out I had made it to the final, I was over the moon,” he says. “It goes to show that hard work pays works off and I am very happy to know that mine did!”
Liam Garcia started playing at just three years old, thanks to the influence of his musician parents and tells us he used to drift off to Frank Gambale DVDs as a toddler.
“Knowing I’m a participant [in the final], it’s truly kind of a surreal feeling,” says Liam. “The fact that some of my favourite players in the world thought I was good enough at hitting this 6-stringed piece of wood relatively fast makes me want to develop my tone, my playing, and my musical self even more to get better.”
Yamato Mori hails from Japan. He’s been playing for four years and blew us away with his entry tune Eureka. He says Plini is his favourite guitarist due to his architectural ear for composition, “He is making a world with creative ideas,” he says. “And he sounds really epic.”
Yamato’s already looking forward to September’s final. “I am very happy to be playing in my dream location, London,” he says. “[And excited to have] a great judge listen to my performance.”
Want to watch the live final?
The Young Guitarist of the Year 2019 final will take place on Saturday 21 September at the UK Guitar Show, held at London’s Business Design Centre. Visit the UK Guitar Show website for tickets.