GT : Heard that you set up the Cort Guitar VIDEO Contest?
Eric : Cort guitars and I came up with the idea and thought it was a GREAT idea. All you do is go to youtube.com and type in “CORT GUITAR VIDEO CONTEST” and you’ll find the video clip that explains the whole entire contest. There’s actually 2 contests that you can join. One is for my song “TRIBUTE” and the other one is for my other song “TAI-CHI”. Both theses songs are off of The Unstruck Melody”. There’s HUGE PRIZES that you can WIN! THIS IS A WORLD WIDE CONTEST!!! Anyone can join!!!
GT : You’re coming to Thailand , Asia next year?
Eric : I plan for
sure on coming to Thailand next year and all of Asia for
shows and clinics!
GT : Do you collect guitars? Any special ones?
Eric : YES! All Cort Guitars! I LOVE CORT GUITARS,
they are the BEST!
GT : Do you collect amps and guitar pedals?
Eric : YES!
Mainly Fender and Marshall amps… I really want to get my hands on a CORNFORD AMP though.
GT : Could you say something to your fan in Thailand?
Eric : Thanks for your support and kind words, I look forward to playing in your country next year! I hear that Thailand is beautiful!
interview Eric Mantel By Peter Sow
Hello everyone, I have a chance to interview Eric Mantel who is one of the best guitarists, He will share his experience with us, talk about his ideas and techniques and the Cort Guitar Contest.
GT : How did you get signed with Digital Nations?
Eric : I sent them an email as to who I was and they said send out your CD! The rest is HISTORY as they say! Steve Vai is like the BEATLES of the guitar world. You can’t get any bigger than Steve Vai. To be on DIGITAL NATIONS is a dream come true for me. It’s a privelege an honor to be on the same label with some of the world’s elite guitar players….
GT : When and how did you start play guitar? Who is you inspiration? Who are your favorite Guitar Players?
Eric : Well I picked up my first guitar 1968 from a neighbor and started seriously playing the
guitar at the age of 10. I am the youngest of 6 children and was exposed to a lot of music at a very early age. It was my older brother Jon who really inspired me to play the guitar, he is 8 years older than me so he was already very good on the guitar. He exposed to me to a lot groups like YES, ELP, Moody Blues, Led Zeppelin, Robin Trower, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Cream, the list is endless! However, it was the Beatles that did it for me. I was literally obsessed with The Beatles growing up and they had a HUGE IMPACT on me like you wouldn’t believe! I actually wanted to be a Beatle and would talk in a British accent all the time, etc. In the mid 70s Peter Frampton had a HUGE impact on me with “FRAMPTPON COMES ALIVE”. Another HUGE impact on me in the 70s was Alex Lifeson of RUSH! Later on in the 70s I got more into rock fusion players like Al Dimeola, John McLaughlin, Bill Connors, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Morse, Jeff Beck, etc… then in the early to mid 80s Eric Johnson made a HUGE impact on me, just like the Beatles did. However Steve Howe of YES made the biggest impact on me more than any other guitarist! He really made realize that you can do it all on the guitar! As far as inspiration goes I would say it’s a TOSS between Eric Johnson, Allan Holdsworth and Shawn Lane…. I would say right now Guthrie Govan is my favorite current guitar player! He is simply amazing, he is from another planet! Everyone who plays guitar should strive to be as good as he is! Govan and I are a lot alike because we play all styles of music on the guitar, etc. I have too many favorite guitar players to list, it would take forever to write them all out!
GT : Could you tell us about your practice schedule?
Eric : When growing up I was literally practicing 5 to 8 hours a day with a few breaks! I am lucky if I can practice an hour a day because I teach 40-50 students a week = 40 to 50 hours of instruction plus I own a recording studio, etc. When I do practice I always work on NEW techniques and styles. I try to work on things that I don’t know as opposed to working on things that I already know. The main reason why a lot of guitar players get into ruts is because they keep going over what they already know thus they never expand. The key is to always remain a student of the guitar and also DON’T BE A ONE TRICK PONY!
What I mean by that is learn it all regardless of your musical tastes.
GT : What is you favorite technique? Can you show us? How to practice?
Eric : I have too many favorite techniques but I what I really love to do is play fingerstyle a la Chet Atkins stuff and chicken pickin’ stuff, like Albert Lee and Brent Mason… to me that’s the most difficult stuff you can do on a guitar, way more technical and harder to do then any kind of shredding (in my opinion).
GT : You play many styles of Music, how did you study them? How did you combine all those styles into your own original music?
Eric : Well I decided a long time ago back in the mid 70s that I was not going to be a one trick pony guitar player. It was really Steve Howe of YES and even Alex Lifeson of Rush that inspired me to play many different styles of music! I spent many many years with private guitar teachers studying: Classical, Ragtime, Jazz, Blues, Country, etc. I went to college for music theory and composition, etc. I studied the violin in college and I also play piano, bass and even some drums…
I also did a lot of self teaching and was learning a lot of songs on my own by ear. I spent a lot of time transcribing Al Dimeola, Allan Holdsworth and Steve Morse guitar solos which was very challenging!
GT : We’ve heard a lot of beautiful melodies in your music and also beautiful and flowing melodic lines in your solos, how did you compose them?
Eric : Well because I am singer / songwriter first, I am always thinking melody and song structure with everything that I do. A lot of that comes from the fact that I am HUGE Beatle fan and learned a lot from them. I spent my entire youth obsessed with The Beatles and spent countless hours listening to their music! There’s an old saying you are what you listen to. To me a solo should have a GREAT melody, GREAT tone, GREAT emotion and soul plus should be spiritually uplifting. It needs to hit you were you live! That’s what I strive for when I create my guitar solos and music in general.
GT : What is the most important thing for guitarist?
Eric : Throw away you ego and competiveness and be a student
of the instrument rather than trying to be a gun slinger at the O.K. Coral or should I say guitar slinger. Let your music speak for it self and always play from your heart! The world is filled with technically GREAT guitar players but how many of them are TRULY gifted at composing and songwriting who can also write GREAT melodies that are memorable. It’s much harder to WRITE a GREAT composition or song then it is to SHRED all over the fretboard. A perfect example of this, is NEIL ZAZA. Neil is a genius when it comes to composing and writing great melodies, the same is TRUE for Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, etc. I myself always think like a composer and songwriter first. I have The Beatles to thank for that!
GT : When did you start composer your own original music?
Eric : I started writng my own music at the age of 12 or 13.
GT : When you compose music, what do you think first? Where did you find inspiration?
Eric : Melody and song structure is the key! Inspiration can come from anywhere, at any time….
GT : Tell us about your new album “The Unstuck Melody”? Can you play us some?
Eric : The album took 2 years to make and was a LABOR of LOVE! I am very happy with it and plan on retiring off of it! LOL : ) but seriously I want the whole entire world to hear this CD because there’s something for everyone on it. It was designed so the non-musician and musician could listen to it. It has a very wide appeal to it. It’s 1/2 vocal songs and 1/2 instrumental. Just got to Steve Vai’s Digital Nations and you can get “The Unstruck Melody” from there!
GT : What system did you used for record the album? Tell us about gear you used?
Eric : PRO TOOLS all the way! I used a Digi 003 rack which was modified by BLACK LION AUDIO out of Chicago, DIGI PRE, Apogee Rosetta, AVALON 737, AVALON U5,
the list goes on and on and on….
GT : You have been recorded guitar since 70’s.From Analog to Digital. Could you share us that experience?
Eric : Analog is simply warmer sounding but digital is much easier to use in terms of editing, etc. There’s PROs and CONs to both but in the end Digital is the way go because it’s so much easier to use then 2 inch tape, etc. A lot of bands and artist record digitally, then dump it onto 2 inch tape and then bring it back into digital again…They’re are some really nice TUBE mic PRES out there that can really warm up your digital recordings…
GT : Do you think the music technology help musician to compose they music?
Eric : 100% YES!
GT : About F3, how did the project start? You was played with Neil Zaza, can you share us that experience?
Eric : The F3 TOUR was my brain child and I invited Neil Zaza onto that tour. I originally presented the idea to Florian Opahle who’s from Munich, Germany and then later asked Neil if he wanted to be a part of it too. Neil and I actually met at a guitar clinic that we were both doing together back in May of 2008. We hit if off and became friends soon after that. I basically put together a G3 type thing called the F3 TOUR www.f3tour.com and we did a tour of Poland for 2 weeks with Florian Opahle who works with GREG LAKE and IAN ADNERSON… We had a lot of fun on that tour and I have nothing but GREAT respect for Neil because he works hard at what he does! He’s a GREAT guitar player, a great composer with a GREAT sense of melody, a great showman, highly intelligent, etc. Above all he’s the nicest and sweetest guy you’ll ever meet, he’s the BEST! Florian Opahle is also a GREAT guitar player and a GREAT guy as well! Florian and I plan on doing more touring together in the near future!
GT : When you jam or improvisation, what is your idea? Is it different form composes music?
Eric : I simply try to play from my heart and listen to what’s inside of me and let that out. Actually music resonates in all of us because we are simply light and energy. What I mean is that everything in the universe has it’s own vibration. Music actually comes from vibration
GT : Tell us about your Cort’s Signature?
Eric : Well I have a CORT G285 signature guitar that’s in white that is kind of like a PROTOTYPE, it’s just a ONE-OFF! If I get enough demand for this guitar, I’m pretty sure CORT will make me my own signature guitar that others can buy world wide! It’s going to be a G285 model but will be called the TONE-MASTER because you can put the pickups in any configuration that you want, etc. It will have Seymour Duncan Pickups with Sperzel tuning keys, etc. It will be white with a tortiseshell pickguard. It will look very 60s retro looking!