Question and Answer Session with Liam

When did you start playing guitar?

I started playing guitar when I was 9, I took lessons through my primary school.

Why the guitar and not another instrument?

It is such a diverse instrument; you can achieve such a variety of sounds. It is also practical, as it can be easily transported and you can play it almost anywhere. I have always been fascinated with the legendary guitarists and the guitar itself. I have a natural affinity for the guitar so choosing it just made sense.

What was/is the most challenging part of playing the guitar?

There are different stages. There will always be challenges no matter how long you have been playing for. It’s all relative to where you are as a guitarist. For a beginner it might be playing the “dreaded F chord” or for an advanced player it might be sweep picking.

Who was your greatest mentor / teacher, and why?

My greatest mentor was my guitar teacher, Devon Swart, who taught from age 13 to 19. He is a brilliant player and teacher. He saw potential in me and invested lots of effort and time into my playing, for which I am so grateful.

Who are your guitar idols?

I look up to so many guitarists but there are a few who stand out, namely; John Petrucci, Kirk Hammett, David Gilmour and Steve Vai. I absolutely idolise these guitarists. Kirk Hammett was my first guitar idol and is one of the reasons I fell in love with the guitar. David Gilmour showed me how to put my emotions into the way I play. John Petrucci and Steve Vai just blow my mind in terms of what can be done with the guitar.

Electric or acoustic?

It is different for everyone. Overall I would have to say electric because it is more suited to the music I listen to and enjoy playing. However, there are times when I prefer playing the acoustic guitar; it depends on my mood.

Your top 5 guitar solos?

In no particular order:

  • Metallica – Unforgiven
  • Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing
  • Steve Vai – Tender Surrender
  • Jimmy Page – Stairway to Heaven
  • Slash – Sweet Child o Mine

Who would you love to jam with?

John Petrucci. I have so many questions to ask and so much to learn from him.

If you could have any guitar, which one would it be?

At the moment I am taken by the brand Suhr. So I would have to say a custom Suhr guitar.

How do you define your teaching style?

Relaxed, adaptive and fun. I customise my approach to the unique needs and skills of my students, and try to keep it fun while also being effective.

Top three tips for your guitar students?

  • Practice focused
  • Practice consistently
  • Enjoy playing
Image credits:
John Petrucci
Kirk Hammet