Don Alder Wins Champion Crown for Guitar Players Guitar Superstar 2010 Competition

Eric Clemenzi Takes Second Place. Charlie Crowe Nabs Third Place. Ten Finalists Performed for Judges George Lynch, Elliot Easton, Reeves Gabrels, and Gary Hoey in Livermore, California
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First Place winner Don Alder (center) with Charlie Crowe (left) and Eric Clemenzi.
Photo Bryan Turner

San Bruno, CaliforniaGuitar Player magazine’s sixth annual Guitar Superstar Competition was won by Vancouver, British Columbia, solo-acoustic player Don Alder on the night of September 18, 2010.

Alder stepped onstage completely alone, after several finalists with electric guitars had performed thrilling instrumental works backed up by the live house band. But Alder’s confident, entertaining, and technically flawless performance of his song, “The Rogue,” wowed the capacity crowd at Livermore, California’s Bankhead Theater, and garnered the only standing ovation of the night.

“He’s backstage, looking like he’s going to throw up because he doesn’t have a band, and he’s just playing an acoustic guitar all by himself, and then he goes out there and wins the whole show,” commented finalist Charlie Crowe, whose boisterous, in-the-pocket performance of “Intergalactic Cowboy” won him third-place honors.

Eric Clemenzi, who won a place in the competition through a public vote, delivered an impassioned performance of his song “Passing Through Time” to take second place.

The remaining finalists who fought it out lick-for-lick onstage in front of guitar-star judges George Lynch, Elliot Easton, Reeves Gabrels, and Gary Hoey were Angel Vivaldi, Chris Delis, Val Kostadinov, Kevin Zugschwert, Jodee Frawlee, Karim Khorsheed, and Daniel James Kumar.

Radio personality Nikki Blakk from 107.7 The Bone hosted the 2010 Guitar Player’s Guitar Superstar Competition.

“It was the most fun ever,” said Blakk.

Guitar Player’s annual Guitar Superstar competition premiered at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Theater in 2005. Developed by Guitar Player Editor-in-Chief Michael Molenda and the magazine’s editorial staff, GPGS celebrates transcendent guitarists, and aims to evangelize all that is thrilling and wonderful and cool about playing guitar.

Each year, the ten finalists are chosen from across the United States and Canada by the GP staff, GPGS Musical Director Jonathan Herrera, and, starting this year, public vote. Each hopeful guitarist must submit an audio track of themselves performing an original instrumental song no more than five minutes long. Hundreds of submissions flood the GP offices each year, and the 2010 competition marked the first time that video entries were required.

The competition’s 2010 backline sponsor was once again Mesa/Boogie. Partner Sponsors were DigiTech, Framus, Mackie, PRS, and Yamaha. Additional Sponsors included Acoustica, D’Addario, EMG Pickups, GHS Strings, Keith McMillen Instruments, Levy’s Leathers, Line 6, Samson, Sony, TC Electronic, Tech 21,, Voyage-Air, Zoom, ZT Amplifiers, and the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center.

The Marketing and Event Director for GPGS is Lauren Gerber.

Travel Arrangements were administered by ETS Travel.

Other essential GPGS personnel included Program and Promotions Designers Paul Haggard and Joelle Katcher, AV Manager Tim Tsuruda, Amos Productions (AV crew), JK Sound and the LVPAC Stage Crew (Staging and Sound), Bob Jenkins (who tallied the judge’s votes), Nancy Mueller (of the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center), Steve Palm, (CEO, NewBay Media), John Pledger (MPN Vice President) Joe Perry GP publisher), and the groovy MPN sales team of Contessa Abono, Jeff Donnenwerth, Albert Margolis, Will Sheng, and Greg Sutton.