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Free Five-City Gibson Guitar Clinics Kick Off Today

Axemen from Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Kochi and Kolkata will conduct guitar sessions this month

Rolling Stone India Oct 04, 2013

The Indian alternative music has seen a continual growth, and it’s not surprising that the audiences too are keeping a close tab on it. Workshops and clinics are helping upcoming artists and music fans decode or even replicate their favorite guitarists music. Starting today, Gibson kicks off a five-city guitar clinic featuring some of the best-known guitarists in the country. While Blackstratblues’ Warren Mendonsa will conduct the Mumbai session, Swarathma’s Varun Murali and Galeej Gurus’ Naveen Thomas will take stage in Bengaluru. Others on the bill include Adil & Vasundhara’s Adil Manuel in Delhi, Avial’s Rex Vijayan in Kochi and Underground Authority’s Adil Rashid in Kolkata [schedule below]. We spoke to the artists about their guitar clinic experiences.

Adil Manuel, guitarist, Adil & Vasundhara

Adil Manuel

Adil Manuel

The most random question you’ve ever been asked at a guitar clinic?

Many of them. The kind of people who attend guitar clinics specialize in a particular style or are session guitar players and they know a lot about that style. So some of them will come and say ”˜What’s a chord?’ and you don’t want to answer that. The other one I find is that they would want you to play the silliest blues lick, so even if  I am talking about bossa nova, they would want to hear the silliest lick instead. 

What is it that you as a guitarist take back from conducting a workshop like this?

For me, a guitar clinic essentially means that I can share with them, in a nutshell, what my approach is. A clinic or workshop serves as an insight on our own approach in playing. We [musicians] never really put it on paper, it’s something that just comes naturally for most of us. So when a workshop happens, you begin to analyze what you do so it helps you understand your approach and helps people, who do not know your style, understand that or just that particular kind of playing. Clinics keep you on your feet and sharpen you. The other thing a clinic requires you to do is to grab the attention of the attendees or of the musicians there or even the non-musicians. You don’t want to kick off from the word go and get into something that’s extremely complication. The idea is to keep it interesting and fresh. Personally I don’t like doing stuff that is already been done. I like to do something out of the box.  

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What can one expect from your session at this clinic?

Approach tactics and how to make the same old boring stuff sound like incredibly interesting. I talk about bungee jumping and playing the guitar. It’s like a free fall because here you won’t get hurt like bungee where your rope might break. In playing the guitar, if your rope breaks, it’s even better. I improvise so that’s how I think. 

Which guitar will you be bringing along?

I have around 17 guitars right now. I’ll be bringing in my favorite- the Gibson Custom Shop ES-339 and a couple of  Les Paul studios and the traditional Gibson Les Paul Future. I need some acoustic guitars as well  so I can talk about alternate tuning on the acoustic guitar too. 


Adil Rashid, guitarist, Underground Authority

rashidThe most bizarre question you’ve ever been asked at a guitar clinic?
Well the most bizarre question that I can remember came from a black T-shirt clad boy with a Mohawk. He was very enthusiastic throughout the session and came up to me and asked: “Bhaiya you are a rock!..All your band members are a rock”¦how many months will I take to become a rock like you?” and he had his devil horns up all the while.

What is it that you as a guitarist have taken home from conducting a workshop like this?
I believe there’s no end to learning new things and sharing what you learn is a very satisfying feeling. Conducting a workshop like this is always very enriching. I get to share my knowledge and learn new things, interact with all kinds of musicians and the occasional funny question always pops up.

What can one expect from your session at the clinic?
I’m going to explain how I think while improvising, composing, go about the basic structuring of songs, my approach to guitar playing, my major influences with some examples of course. My band members [drummer Sourish Kumar and bassist Soumyadeep Bhattacharya] are going to accompany me and I’m going to talk about how we make songs and there’s going to be a lot of jamming.

Which guitar will you be bringing along?
I’m going to bring my Gibson Les Paul standard and 50’s Tribute Gold Top and my Epiphone Les Paul ultra and standard. Besides I’m also going to showcase the new Les Paul future with the Min-e-tune feature. It’s gonna be a lot of fun and I’m really excited.

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Varun Murali, guitarist, Swarathma

Varun Murali SwarathmaWhat is it that you as a guitarist have taken home from conducting a workshop like this?

Workshops are always fun and unpredictable. One has to be spontaneous and energetic otherwise the whole thing gets boring. I have always loved teaching guitar and exchanging ideas about playing and gear. So I gain a lot of knowledge and different perspectives from other people about gear. Besides I’m really happy that I managed to help them in a small possible way through a workshop or clinic. If I manage to inspire someone through the process, then I consider it a success.

What can one expect from your session at Gibson All Star Clinic
Fun, an interactive session, some jamming, talk about gear and understanding tone, songwriting, theory concepts if necessary and more.

Which guitar will you be bringing along?
I will be carrying my Les Paul classic and perhaps my SG Zoot Suit as well.


Avial's Rex Vijayan

Avial’s Rex Vijayan

Rex Vijayan, guitarist, Avial 

What is the silliest question you’ve been asked at a guitar clinic?

This is the first time that I’m doing a clinic. I have been asked a lot of bizarre questions during tours and general interaction with people but these questions generally come out of curiosity and also when somebody appreciates your playing, so you don’t really mind. But I’m looking forward to some more bizarre and crazy questions at the clinic. Let’s see if I can answer them.

What can one expect from your session at this clinic?
This is not going to be a strictly theory or technique driven clinic. I am going to break down a few of Avial’s tracks and explain the guitar parts. I will also be speaking about my approach towards composing and guitar playing in general. I would love to a share few important tips as well.

Which guitar will you be bringing along?
I will be bringing my Gibson Les Paul Traditional guitar.



The Gibson All Star Clinic Tour schedule: 

The Gibson All Star Clinic TourOctober 4th, 5 pm: Warren Mendonsa [Blackstratblues] at Furtados, Juhu, Mumbai. Entry Free 

October 5th, 5 pm: Adil Rashid [Underground Authority] at Braganza Musical, Kolkata. Entry Free 

October 11th, 5 pm: Naveen Thomas [Galeej Gurus] and Varun Murali [Swarathma] at Furtados, Koramangala, Bengaluru. Entry Free 

October 25th, 5 pm: Adil Manuel [Adil &Vasundhara] at Furtados, Lajpat Nagar II, New Delhi. Entry Free 

October 26th, 5 pm: Rex Vijayan [Avial] at Basil Industries, Kaloor, Ernakulam. Entry Free 



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