Guitar All Night Long
Including a masterclass by Mattias Ia Eklundh
Friday, 27th January 2017
De Duycker, Hoofddorp, the Netherlands
When I read the title "Guitar All Night Long" it immediately grabbed
my attention. The advert continued with "Duycker and Headway present an evening
for progressive rock/guitar music.
Ah well that must be me then.
It was truly a home match because Duycker is in my residence.
So just five minutes by bus and I was there.
I had no idea what to expect. Guitar clinic? Master class?
A progressive rock concert by someone who usually plays reggae?
I just went in very open minded and with a title "Guitar All Night Long",
what can go wrong!
The first two clinics took place on a small stage in the venue with the
people attending at the same height as the performer.
It made it very informal, a situation was created to ask question and interact with the guitar player.
First up was Axe Hessel, a guitar teacher at the music school just next to Duycker.
He immediately told he was a bit the odd one out.
He was not going to talk about playing fast or other extraordinary guitar technics
but he focussed mainly on the instrument itself and on songwriting/creativity.
He showed his guitar that was built by
who was present this evening with a few guitars he built himself.
It was interesting to hear Axe tell his approach to guitar playing and music writing.
He told how his sessions worked when he was writing music with other people.
Working with a laptop and music and the fact that when he
finally has all his stuff set up and is ready to play that some other people already lost
their moment of inspiration.
Axe considers himself a teamplayer and then it is all about dealing with those
He played a couple of tunes, mainly improvisation, with support by his laptop.
He already stated the sounds were not completely to his liking,
he knows how to use music software but he clearly likes it better to play with real people.
Second guitar clinic was done by Marc Meesters.
He plays in a couple of bands, Lesoir, Fallen One,
Scarescone, Faith Healer and the tribute band Gunz 'N Roses.
He is now also working on a project with Dennis Leeflang and
if I heard him correctly there will be a guest appearance by Bumblefoot.
I am a bit ashamed to tell but I had never heard of Bumblefoot,
I do however have heard of Buckethead and to my surprise
Bumblefoot replaced Buckethead in Guns N' Roses.
Somehow I missed all about Bumblefoot but for sure I will be checking out
some of his music now.
Marc Meesters did more playing than talking but he was open for every question.
He plays Vigier guitars and he explained why.
His guitars have a flat neck so they are easier to play.
It also means that other "normal" guitars with a curved neck
are hard for him to play.
Amongst other guitar players who play Vigier guitars are of course
Bumblefoot and Buckethead but also Guthrie Govan and Geezer Butler.
Marc Meesters also mentioned Shawn Lane as an inspiration.
The easy playing flat necked Vigier was pleasant for Shawn
because at the end of his life he had pain and stiffness in his joints due to illness.
Very grabbing story, I will surely be checking out some of his music.
Marc used a tablet to provide a background of music.
He clearly had more experience with programming music on a laptop
and he had created some nice background tracks where he could show his guitar skills.
He played some instrumental songs he composed himself.
Heavy guitar orientated rock, technical stuff and fitting for a guitar clinic.
On a standard he had a second guitar, also Vigier but this time fretless, wow what a sound.
Marc did more playing and less talking but during his talks
he explained enough about where he got his inspiration and
I heard some new interesting stuff to check out,
enough interesting homework.
And during his playing he sure showed his skills,
if he is playing with some of his bands in your vicinity be sure to check him out.
Mattias Ia Eklundh
And now it was time for the masterclass by Mattias Ia Eklundh from Sweden.
He plays for the band Freak Kitchen and with many other projects.
He is also known for his masterclasses and his Freak Guitar Camp,
two weeks in the woods of Sweden playing guitar and talking about music.
Sounds like a great experience.
Within ten minutes he already talked more and played more than the two
guitar players before him.
He was on the main stage on a chair with besides him a chair for his mobile phone
that provided the background music.
So we started out with a laptop, then a tablet and now a mobile phone.
Bit strange but I must say the sound was superb.
Also a big compliment for the sound guy in Duycker,
the sound was very good and at Duycker it is always very good.
Mattias made some jokes about the amplifier. He played on a huge Marshall amplifier that
would make any guitar player jealous.
He usually plays Laney amplifiers so the great Marshall amp was topic of many jokes.
Mattias brought an eight string guitar build by Caparison.
The guitar had true temperament frets, the frets were not straight but curvy.
It makes each note along the neck of the guitar more accurate.
There are some interesting websites about true temperament frets and I advise guitar players
to check them out, very interesting approach to really get your guitar sounding perfect.
Mattias plays some great guitar but he is also one hell of a talker.
The words came out of his mouth as easy as notes from his guitar.
Constantly joking around about anything, his freshly washed hair, Nick and Simon,
Indian food and of course the "terrible" Marshall amplifier.
Mattias is very inspired by Indian music.
He explained the theory about the complex rhythms in math- and art-metal.
He used an approach he learned in India and he started clapping and making rhythm sounds
even with his mouth on his guitar.
And then we were all clapping and yelling DAH, TJI BAH DAH or something sounding
During one of his performances during his guitar piece he sang the rhythm sounds that he used
to compose the complex music.
He told us it was not difficult at all but during a clapping session he pointed some persons that
were clearly losing track of time.
He explained that losing track of time is the worst that can happen,
you may lose the rhythm but never lose the time.
Mattias is very inspiring and very very funny.
He was easy to approach, people could play his guitar, you could try out his eight string monster
with the awkward frets.
It was an experience I will never forget.
Last on the list was a concert by Junk Dilemma.
After some googling I discovered that Junk Dilemma is a project by Dutch
guitar player Twan van Gerven.
He is known for playing with Beef!, a Dutch reggae band, and Kenny B, a well
known Dutch reggae singer.
I read this before the show and I really wondered what he was going to play on
progressive rock guitar night.
I really like the band Beef!, their music is reggae which is usually not my
cup of tea but somehow I just like their music.
Twan van Gerven explained that a couple of years ago he tried to make an instrumental album
but he could not find a record company that wanted to publish his music.
The Beef! record company was of course not interested, they were doing reggae.
Twan recorded his music and put in on iTunes.
The music is a jazz/rock fusion, influences by Zappa can surely be found.
Because it was a guitar evening he explained something about his guitar and about the
origin of his music.
The first three had digital equipment to support their performance but Twan had a band
behind him and in front of him a huge amount of analogue effects.
It takes some more effort to get the sound you want but these analogue effects
sure sound a lot better than the digital equipment.
He had to tune his guitar very regularly, after every song he had to do some tuning.
It also gave him the opportunity to talk a bit about his music.
Not as much as during the clinics but it was nice to hear some background about the music.
The atmosphere was very relaxed, lots of interaction with the audience.
I think some of them were family or old band members but it gave the concert a very relaxed atmosphere.
I did not know what to expect but I had a very nice evening.
Hearing good music and discussing guitar playing in a very relaxed atmosphere.
The two clinics were very interesting and the masterclass by Mattias Ia Eklundh
was as interesting as it was hilarious. What a guy, very fun to watch and very
interesting insight in his music.
Junk Dilemma had a tough job because everyone was overwhelmed by Mattias
but Twan van Gerven and band succeeded in making it a remarkable evening.
Duycker organized a very interesting evening and as always the sound was perfect.
Mattias Ia Eklundh Website