If allowed, we probably would have given the 2020 Acoustic Guitarist of the Year crown to all five of our finalists, each of whom amazed us with their mind-blowing chops. The nature of competition, however, dictates that a winner must be chosen, and after much deliberation, we have awarded the 2020 Acoustic Guitarist of the Year prize to Australian guitarist and composer Alan Gogoll.
Gogoll's speciality is his bell harmonic technique, in which both hands simultaneously pluck artificial harmonics from the strings to produce gentle, bell-like tones.
Gogoll impressed us with not only the uniquely charming sound of his bell harmonic technique but also his seemingly effortless method of executing it. Performing his original composition, “Otter Rain,” he combined the technique with tapping on the body of his acoustic and occasional double-stop pull-offs for a performance that was understated and sublime.
He's been playing for 27 years, during which time he’s developed the technique and applied it to many of his original songs. Gogoll's albums include Bell’s Harmonic, Mulberry Mouse, and Through the Leaves, and he’s produced a series called Stringscapes in which a camera mounted inside a custom-built guitar records the strings’ vibrations against various landscapes.
Gogoll plays an Åstrand Å-OMC guitar handcrafted in Sweden and also won first place in the 2019 Furch Guitar International Guitar Competition and 2020 Magic Guitars International Guitar Competition. His music and videos can be found on YouTube and on his website, alangogoll.com.
Look out for a feature on Gogoll in Guitar Player in the near future, and a pro-shot performance video. For his troubles, Gogoll also won himself the contest's grand prize, a PRS SE T50E in Black Gold, worth $849.
Guitarist of the Year will return in 2021. To learn more about next year’s contest, or register, sign up at GuitaristoftheYearAwards.com.
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