Questions & Answers
+ When did you start playing guitar?
I started playing guitar when I was 5 years old
+ How long have you been playing guitar?
I've been playing for 26 years
+ How did you learn guitar?
I am self taught
+ How much theory do you know?
None - I couldn't play a major scale if someone asked.
+ Do the strings really vibrate like that in your Stringscapes videos?
The super cool string vibration effect is known as Rolling Shutter, which is to do with the way a camera sensor works. It you're trying to replicate the effect yourself it helps to have a bright background so the shutter speed goes up. Some people say it's a fake representation of the strings vibrating but I say that it's an artistic representation in much the same way a landscape painting is a representation of the landscape it is depicting. I actually think it's cooler like that! Also different notes and strings produce different patterns and wave lengths as you can clearly see in any of my Stringscape videos.
+ What guitars do you use?
My main performing and recording guitar is by Ted Åstrand. I am also endorsed by aNueNue and perform on their guitars whenever I’m in Taiwan or China.
+ What Capo do you use?
I use several capos by G7th. I also really like Elliot Capos and Thalia Capos.
+ Where are you from?
I was born in Tasmania, Australia.
+ Do you really make a living from Spotify?
Despite what you may have heard, it is possible to make a living from Spotify. Being a fully independent artist means I don’t have the reach of artists on a label, but it does mean I keep all of my royalties and that’s an average wage.
Did you know it only takes any 100 people from anywhere in the world listening to my music concurrently to earn me the average living wage for Australia. That’s an incredible opportunity and freedom!
+ What tunings do you use?
I use several signature tunings I discovered many years ago
+ What is your ‘Bell Harmonics’ technique and did you really invent it?
I wrote my first fully harmonics song when I was 9 years old using natural harmonics. My love of harmonics continued but it wasn’t until a decade later after injuring my hand in a cooking accident that I then began developing my Bell Harmonics technique. This technique uses left hand artificial harmonics. This is a technique I am extremely proud to say I invented, with no prior recordings or notation existing before. I was featured several times in Guitar World for this technique and continue to develop it to this day. My technique differs significantly to harp harmonics, cascading harmonics and waterfall harmonics. Bell Harmonics is a term I came up with after I wrote my piece Pepperleaf Pipes, originally titles Pepperbell Pipes that employs this technique exclusively.
I have had people say that “you didn’t invent this technique, the universe invented this technique” or “there’s a lost tribe on an island that has done this technique”. My reply to this is that I was the first person to take the mechanical movement of a left hand (or fretting hand) artificial harmonic and develop it into a technique that could be used in a musical sense. It could be argued that every possible human movement for every possible instrument, sport and activity has already been done - but this does not constitute a technique. A technique, much in the same way as film or sport, is the refinement and implementation of a movement into a practical usability.
+ How old are you?
I recently turned 31 years old
+ How much do you practice?
I practice as much as I can, although it can be difficult sometimes being a fully independent musician with all the admin, emails, messages, video editing, social media and business side of things.
+ How do you put a camera inside your guitar?
While I’m not the first person to put a camera such as an iPhone or GoPro into a guitar, I built a custom guitar and camera rig in a world first to create a higher level of production than previously seen. I’m currently working on Stringscapes v2 for release in late 2019 / early 2020.
+ Do you record everything yourself?
I record, edit and produce all content and videos myself. I work on average 100 hours a week on my music career.
+ Which strings do you use?
I use Jon Pearse 600L strings for everyday, and Elixir Phosphor Bronze 12-53 for recording.
+ Do you sing?
Ever since I was 5 the guitar has been my voice. Each song I play has a story which is told through the melody and sung through the guitar.
+ Are you a Christian?
I am. Psalm 108:1 has been my mantra for over half my life now and continues to be.
+ Do you do TABs?
I don’t do TABs. Perhaps one day when I feel more of a detachment from my music and also have some time I will, but it’s not something I can currently undertake.
+ Do you teach?
I simply don't have the time or resources to teach, but I can offer one-time Skype lessons for $500USD/hr.
+ What’s your favourite or dream guitar?
For me, my Åstrand guitar is the greatest acoustic in the world. So I already own both my favourite and dream guitar. I currently have a parlour guitar on order from Ted Åstrand which will be very special.
+ Do you use effects or looping?
I really love the pure sound of an acoustic guitar and am somewhat of a purist, so I don’t use a looper and only use a touch of reverb and compression when recording.
+ Do you do covers?
I only play original music. Composing original music is what I love doing, and while it’s true I could be ‘more famous’ if I played covers, guitar has never been about that for me. I tried once to learn a cover and even doing it for half a day was a struggle. It’s just how I’m wired, so I’ll leave the covers to the pros!
+ What microphone do you use for live-streaming?
I use an Apogee HypeMic and Mic+
+ How do you play so fast?
Practice, practice, practice. And a few secrets.
+ What’s the best way to support you?
Listening to my music on Spotify, Apple Music or any other streaming website is awesome! You can also become a supported through my Facebook page for a few dollars a month (similar to Patreon) where I post a few behind the scenes clips as well.
+ Do you tour?
After nearly a decade of playing over 1000 shows, I’m really happy to now be in a position to be able to perform a select number on concerts around the world when I’m invited to play.
+ How can I book you for a concert?
You can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. My main conditions for concerts are that 1) All expenses are paid 2) All flights and travel on the ground are arranged 3) All accomodation is arranged
+ You mention you like Anime, what are some of your favourites?
I watch quite a lot of anime while I practice, and it’s no secret I love Japan. Some of my favourite anime’s are Samurai Champloo, Trigun, Hunter x Hunter, Ghost in the Shell and Seven Deadly Sins
+ How can I follow you?
You can find me on just about all social media channels under my name ‘Alan Gogoll’ / @alangogoll
+ How often do you change strings?
Usually I change strings once a week as with heavy practice they tend to break around that time. I will also change before a concert. For recording I change them a day or two before and play them in to take the brightness off and give a more rounded tone.
+ Who is your favourite guitarist?
I’ve dedicated as much of my life as I can to guitar since I was five years old. I’ve always strived to become better at technique and songwriting as well as originality. There’s lots of guitarists I love (See my Acoustic Candy playlist on Spotify for some of them!) but there’s no guitarist I would swap places or abilities with.
+ What inspires you?
I’m inspired by all types of things! But one thing in particular is when someone puts a lot of love and passion into what they do, be it music or pottery or caring for people - that I find inspiring. The rush of finding a new riff and then the excitement and process of turning that into a full song is also exciting, as is the day to day progress of practicing.
+ What music do you listen to?
I don’t actually really listen to music. I know that probably sounds strange, but it’s always really been that way. I tend to listen to maybe one or two songs a month, but I really appreciate the music I do listen to. I guess I listen to a lot of music indigently through social media and series, but actually sitting down and listening to music specifically isn’t something that I do - not that I don’t like that it just doesn’t come naturally to me.
+ How long does it take you to write a song?
Anywhere from 2 days to 6 months! It’s usually a question of getting mentally prepared to spend the energy required to turn a riff into the finished piece of music.
+ Coffee or Tea?
I love tea. I love the idea of tea. I love the health benefits of tea. But I drink coffee.
+ Sweet or Savoury?
Savoury. Although I do enjoy a good dessert or bubble tea!
+ Favourite food?
The older I get the more I enjoy food. As it stands Taiwan and China have the nicest food I’ve tasted. Taiwan in particular sticks in my mind, as does Beijing!
+ Can you speak Spanish?
As much as I’d love to speak another language, I struggle as it is speaking English. I am currently trying to learn French though!