We had quite a night in Murrieta for Guitar Center’s “Battle Of The Blues 2012” last night!

Fortunately, between Laura and I we were able to capture all of the winning contestants on video… but the audio is of varying quality due to the different cameras we used.

First round: After all 6 of us playing our solos over backing tracks the result was a 3 way tie which has never happened before that store.

Here are the 3 videos from the first round – Me, Daniel Newell (great player at 17 years old), and Sultan (he just goes by Sultan so that’s all I have.)

Here’s my attempt using the “Slow Down Blues” jam track.

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/7p149qQACwM”]

Daniel’s attempt

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlP-Qz2lkjk”]

And Sultan

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/4ptj7BkVDOU”]

Now, as I said the result was a 3 way tie. So the next part is a “Guitar-Off” type of tie-breaker where each of us just plays for 2 minutes with no backing track. I elected to go groove and play something to try and get the crowd clapping along and have some fun with this:

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/-at5n9lXu2c”]

And now Daniel’s tie-breaker

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/sjJUnxTmp0s”]

And finally Sultan’s tie-breaker

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/nEnhgZqp5YY”]

The result? Daniel got the final nod from the judges and moves on to the next round.

I did have fun and there were several BGU’ers out that night so having some extra crowd support was great!

The big question I suppose is, will I do this again next year? Well, every year I say I won’t, but I usually end up doing it by the time it comes around. So ask me next April and we’ll see what happens 🙂

    157 replies to "Battle of the Blues 2012 Round 2"

    • Jerry the French

      Hi Griff! (And all BGU’ers ’round the world)

      Looks to me the judges must have been def! You rule, my friend! As far as I know, and even though I’m a beginner with a guitar, Blues is about feeling in the first place. And tons of feelings you have, Griff! Much more than your competitors who, despite their ability to noodle aroud scales, did end up displaying technical skills much more than expressing feelings! You really are tremenduously talented, Griff Hamlin, and I also take this opportunity to pay tribute to your instructor’s skills. I really hope I’ll make it to Cali one of these days to salute you in person. Keep on the hard work.
      Jerry B

    • Dave Barrett

      Well Griff

      I believe you were robbed,theres no doubt your two other finalists are good guitarist however playing scales uber fast did not tick my box. I watched your session it had a beginning middle and end.
      Better luck next year, but thanks for the treat. Now its head down, I really must master solo example 3.

      Dave B

    • scott

      Disbelief!! What were the judges looking for? While Daniel and Sultan do have ability I dont understand the place choppy guitar gymnastics has at blues battles.Griff you were the only true blues player there and the I only one I found myself involuntarily jamming withI

    • Dave

      hmmm … I am not sure how this wound up in a 3 way tie. I still think the age and years played have a lot of weight in the scoring.
      I have some solid friends who play guitar and when I was trying to work on my blues chops all the stuff Daniel and Sultan are doing is pretty much what they said NOT to do.
      Hope to see you in the District next year … being your competition 🙂
      Griff you are one of the best I have heard out of most of the competitors.

    • Lee Lewis

      Hey Griff,

      man, you were the best one there in my opinion. I really ike your style and approach to playing the blues. Believe me, I’m listening and tryin’ yo cop every lick on that performance you gave.

      i already new you were a good player but you really should some stuff on your video. You seem to have an extensive vocabulary it seems so to speak when it when you solo. I can do it sometimes when I’m feelin’ it but not quite as consistant as you are. I am above intermediate and is seriously looking into studying some of your courses I can find to advance my playing. I’m about the level of some of the other guy’s on the the videos but I feel that I’m not close to where you at. GREAT WORK MAN! …and thank you for sharing some of your knowledge, it’s really inspiring!

    • Steve Lang

      … Griff’s Blues.. not guitar center news.

      loved your stylings, so hope to see your effort next year!

      p.s. the guy that won it all did honor the music well, so thankfully the mindless choppers didn’t prevail

    • jer

      your the man griff ill take blues technique over ripping up notes any time

    • Biff

      Just to let you know, Daniel is one of the finalists in the grand finale. And I heard him say in one video on YouTube that he plays the same song every time. Honestly, that’s cheating.

    • Michael Walling

      I did not finish listening to the other two on the tiebreaker it was just guitar noise to me. Once again you were awesome!! Proud to have you as my instructor. —Thnx—Mike

    • Freebee

      All three very good….Sorry GC….Griff #1 all day long !!

    • dajaviewcomm@aol.com

      So the judges were what….about 18-19 years old and worked at Guitar Center………what? Daniel bought his guitar there???? From the judges!!! obviously just kidding..read between the lines.

    • Steve

      Not even close, Griff. I suspect the judges were somehow related to Daniel. Ya think??

    • Andy

      It’s all been said already, but I vote for music and I didn’t here a lot of that from the other two. OK, I couldn’t play guitar at 17 (I’m not too bad now, at 43!), but I knew music then! Whatever the genre it has to come from the soul, and your playing did just that. You hit the notes you wanted, and you meant every one. Then again it’s all in the ear of the beholder (to steal another well known saying) and one listener feels something different to the next! What do I know?!
      Stay upbeat, and as my guitaring friends always say… KORITFW. (think Neil Young…)

    • Malc (UK)

      Mate! You want the truth? Your performance in that first round actually brought tears to my eyes. I’m not joking! Awesome and uplifting. I’ll keep trying with my acoustic in the bedroom! Thanks, big thanks!

    • Roger Keen

      Considering the age of Daniel, it was a good decision. ( Got to keep the young people interested). But for me, you were technically the best, with more mature licks and better rhythm. Maybe I’m bias, or it’s my age.
      P.S I have just purchased a new amp. The Fender Mustang II. It’s computer programable for a whole range of sounds. What ever it takes to stay interested.
      Thanks for the E mails, keep em coming.
      Roger Keen

    • Gary

      1/ Griff
      2/ Daniel
      3/ Sultan

      Wholey objectively, if it’s a Battle of the Blues. The other two shouldn’t even be considered, though Daniel did sound fairly Bluesy in the first clip! The kid can play but, really lacks in feel and sense of melody, IMHO! He just packed way to many showoffy runs and licks into his playing. Guess that should change with maturity. Sultan hardly played anything that resembled Blues.

    • Lou

      Hey Fella,

      Tough break on the finals…Thanks for playing some slow blues I really enjoyed your performance.
      As for Danny, he has talent but is nothing original or out of the ordinary and “Sultan” well…..

      Look, if you have already made recordings and traveled the world, what are you doing at Guitar Center? It’s one thing if they asked you to come and give a clinic or make a guest appearance but think about it dude, you are way beyond this! You are a tremendous talent, stop trying to prove that and keep playing!

      I am praying for you and your family that you get to know the Sweet LOVE of JESUS and get Born Again. HE Loves you and gave everything for YOU! You can meet HIM and HE is beyond amazing! Besides who do you think gave you the talent you have? You will never know your full potential until you use what you have in Worship to the KING!

      Thank you for your kindness in teaching me so much about the blues. You make it simple and very enjoyable!!

    • Scott Girvin

      Hi Griff,

      Great job. You were the winner.

      Would you let us know the set up you used. Start, PUs, pedals, amp setting. Please be verbose and thanks for the training and inspiration.


    • andy

      Hi,Griff …….. Your the man best blues player there that slow down is fantastic
      Bring on the blues bros man ,Im voting for you griff

    • David Monson

      Looks like you didn’t play against Real Blues players. They played a lot of notes without any feeling. You are much more polished every note, they are young guys tring to play blues, you really do play the blues, Bllues for blues you play better. What a rip off. Skip it next year and cut a CD, I’ll buy it!!! You rock Griff!

    • dyfryg

      Cannot agree more with everyone else, you played blues, the others didn’t. It was nice to see Daniel sat right in front of you in the guitar-off (is that an americanism?) pinching your idea! We have a saying her in Wales (uk) that we have never been beaten at anything——–it was the referee’s fault because he awarded them more points!! So chin up and keep up your great work with all of us wannabees.

    • John Elegreet

      Griff, you were the best musical performer not to mention the only blues performer. Yeah the judges failed you again and yeah I probably wouldn’t play in it again if I were you. On the other hand, in my humble opinion, you gave two young and talented guitar players a lesson on how to play blues guitar! It’s a win for the blues!

    • Simon Koumparos

      So, when did the Battle of the Blues become a shedding competition? The king of blues (BB King)
      typically plays under 100 notes per minute (yes I just counted!)…but each note has the character and feel which you put into your performance Griff. I do appreciate the kind of guitar virtuosity which Daniel and Sultan tried to show, BUT there’s a time and a place for that stuff…this competition wasn’t it and the judges missed that fact. You’re still the man Griff !

    • Ted

      You were robbed!!

    • kayakman50

      HMMM… Well I’ve been traveling since June 4th and have missed this whole thing. My opinion, and I’m no expert is that there should not have been a tie at all. Three way or any other. Griff’s first piece blew the others away. Clearly! Tone and transitions were smooth and BLUE. Others were loud and fuzzy. Not BLUE to my untrained ear. The videos were not in synch, so I looked away and just listened. Griff’s slow blues was like a schooling for wannabe bluesmen .Seriously, the kid’s sound was just too muddy and loud and hard to listen to and The Sultan was not playing the Blues until 40 seconds remaining in the “play off”. Again, I’m no expert, I’m just saying. Maybe Griff’s whole look/performance was too complicated.? Anyway,I’m back on my island and ready to play some guitar.
      Aloha ka’kou,

    • Frank Luiz

      I too thought you were the best. Keep up the great playing…

    • Daryl

      I thought you were the hands down winner with Daniel second. Dont know what the judges were on.

    • James Hicks

      Ditto the comments below. These other two guys got no soul. They can shred — but that’s not what I call the BLUES. IMHO the judges could should go back and a listen to some blues to get a historical perspective. 54Stratman

    • EJG

      All three were great. Griff’s playing was more to my taste, but music is so subjective, and the definition of “blues” is so amorphous, that its impossible to say who was “better.”

      All that said, its hard to believe that Griff enters this thing year after year and has never won the whole thing. There’s a guy from NJ, Matt O’Ree, who won it all a few years ago. I’ve seen him multiple times and he IS great, but he’s no better than Griff.

    • Phillip Martin

      Hi Griff, I’ve got 2 questions for you, Were the judges wearing ear plugs when you were playing? and did the other two know it was a competition for blues players?. I listened to Sultan for about 2 minutes and that was about 2 minutes too long ! The other guy wasn’t bad, quite competent. If the battle was for who could make the most noise playing a lot of notes then one of them deserved to win. As Mo Man said, ‘you played from the heart’, which is what the blues is all about. It was fixed, you were (and are) the best Griff, without a doubt. I’m very priveliged to be associated with BGU and such a great player and teacher. Best regards Phill.

    • Mo Man

      Griff: you are the winner youre playing was so much more tasteful & smoother.You played from youre heart & soul.youre guitar was talking to the people but they were not listing.Its not how fancy or how fast you can play a guitar.Its what comes out of you & youre guitar.you are the best youre sound & playing was grate.Mo

    • Kim

      You were a clear winner, I could not even listen to the end of the other Guys tracks. If the point was to cram as many notes into 2 minutes, disregarding any semblance of musical relevance, then you deserved to lose.
      I thought the idea was to play the blues? you were a clear winner, something smelly about the contest…


    • paul harrison

      Enjoyed the other fellows but…You was robbed Griff! Definitely the best! Well played.

    • Erny Ranftl

      Hi Griff, and all you other students of good taste! as even my wife commented (and she doesn’t play any instruments ) Could tell what sounded like the blues . And guess what ,she picked Griff .Needless to say keep up the good work .
      hmm i wonder how someone like Buddy Guy or BB would have faired under these judges?

    • rock-on-59@live.com

      i thought it was battle of the blues not battle of the shredders,in my opinion you win by miles griff.your licks where alot more tasteful and smoother.you are the winner.

    • Ron Dennis

      Griff –

      GO FOR IT!

      This is a free ebook (http://www.amazon.com/The-Flinch-ebook/dp/B0062Q7S3S/ref=la_B002C7CM7S_1_2_bnp_0_main?ie=UTF8&qid=1339197373&sr=1-2) that I’d like to recommend to you.

    • Mike Zeoli

      Griff,I have been around music for a long time. I can see you have a ton more feeling,and playing skills,than the other performers. We,your students know that you will always be number one,and a superb guitarist,and teacher. Mike Zeoli…

    • Cam

      Hi Griff. Great job still #1

    • cowboy

      Great job Griff…nothing new on the judging….some “suggestions” for next year:

      1) go someplace else..even out of state…where you are just another local hick..
      2) don’t shave for a couple of days…
      3) find some old hat, worn jeans, etc.
      4) use as POS tele (with killer pu’s)…something like mine..bg…
      5) gotta have some sunglasses…..older the better…



    • Serge Botans

      as mentioned by others, me thinks you were the only who played the blues and as such you should have won without going to the tie break … not right! i must admit that sultan’s displayed a mean technique in the tie break 🙂

    • Steve Tanner

      Griff, great job! I thought your solo was more musical and easier to keep together with than either of the others, but Daniel’s rapid fire picking was flashier, but not as musical to my ears. Keep up the good work.


    • Dave

      This wasn’t a Battle of the Blues, It must have been a Battle for the Shred Heads! Griff, You did better than either of the other two. You played real blues, with real heart and some soul to boot. It looked to me like “Sultan” was trying to mimic EVH and then didn’t do that well. Fast fingers will never replace heart and soul when it comes to the blues!!

    • Ed White

      Hey Griff

      That slow blues is what “blues” is all about. Great job.
      Now if I judged that contest, I’d quote BB , ‘no pain, no gain’

    • Riff

      Man those judges must of had wax in their ears, I thought it was a Battle Of The Blues.
      I think the decision might have been based on you being pro or semi pro player & the young guys amateurs.
      Good on you for having a red hot go mate, I think in reality you should have won that round.

    • Steve Grosvenor

      Griff, I know that in matters musical, it’s always a very subjective experience. That being said, I truly felt as though the judge’s decision was made on grounds other than the music. Your presentation of the blues was the only one of the three that actually was THE BLUES!
      Your tone was by far the most “honest”, your clarity of each note, even with the subtle distortion
      was easily the distinctive road map of the performance. Both of the other two players, even though they showed obvious abilities, were muddy and discordant at times, creating some very unpleasant overtones which took away from their presentation a great deal.
      In short, you were by far, the real winner of this showdown. It must be frustrating to give such a fine performance and then be relegated to a non-winning position. If I was judging, there would be no other choice that I could make, in good conscience, other than yourself as the winning guitarist of this battle.

    • Jesse

      Man, you got robbed. I thought this was about Blues. Clearly, you’re heads above!!!

    • Greg

      Griff,unfortunately you got screwed on this one. Neither of the other two players could keep up with you – if nothing else on how cleanly you played VS how sloppy they played. The 17 year old who won it sounds exactly like a 17 year old should sound playing blues………Mediocre at best…yes he was slightly more animated than you but you really should have moved to the next level this year.

    • Kevin Stewart

      OMG Griff you were robed you totaly blew them other dudes away come on it had to be fixed like the one reply says them other guys dont know what a blues scale is DAM

    • Glenn Smith

      Class comments from you, Daniel. Good luck the rest of the way!

    • Karen

      Thought this was the blues not metal. Griff you were there. I don’t think the other two even know what the blues is.

    • Ric

      Griff, Griff, Griff….
      You was robbed again, my friend! The playoff clearly showed who had more talent and fretboard knowledge. More knowledge of the “Blues” also. They must be predjudiced against you for being such a great teacher and all around Guitar-God. My sincere congratulations on three awesome performances! You still the man! I’ll keep buying your lessons and watching your videos untill I finally “get it”, and then I’ll look to you for more. Thanks for posting!

    • Richard Michael

      That takes a lot of dedecation for a 17 year old. Griff you may not have won, but you had the cooliest guitar strap. Congradulation to all

    • Marty B

      Griff, I guess they felt they had to give it to the youngster, I thought your segment showed much more talent, and fore thought, but that is the problem with having people judge these thing you dont now whats in their minds. Keep up the good work.

    • Pete B

      Great set Griff and without bias a clear winner by a country mile, yeehaa. Unfortunately you “aint got the hair”. If you feel the need to give it another go next year, a visit to the wig maker might be in order.(only joking)
      Thanks for including us all in the tension of competition and good on you for putting yourself out there!!
      CONGRATULATIONS on a job well done. It might be an English thing but for me, taking part is where its at, especialy when music is so subjective.
      Pete B.

    • Rue

      Griff laid down GREAT BLUES …clean, exciting, perfect…where was the Blues with those other 2 guys?? not there at all…. I thought they sounded very muddy , too much effects. Yes, Daniel and Sultan have potential but they are not in the class with Griff…they have a ways to go yet. I’m confused by these judges…what are they thinking ?

    • tucker

      Everyone was great, no bones about it. I guess I don’t quite understand…the topic was “the Blues” and you stayed with the subject. Absolutely excellent on your part in use of “just enough” effects to express the feeling one should get from listening to blues…most articulate. Daniel and Sultan were incredible and far beyond anything I could ever hope to aspire, but; for me, too much heavy metal influence and over-effects. The latter is certainly not to smack of anything derrogatory…but; for me the aural emotion just wasn’t there. Your every note was clean, decisive, very discernible with “gut-wrenching” feeling. I realize you wanted to win the round, and; for my part you did…you get the nod without bias or prejudice. You PLAYED the blues…you produced, young Skywalker! The baseball cap…Griff, where was the baseball cap?

    • Tracy Griffin

      Sorry Griff you got robbed, Danial was a fast player but i heard no blues in what he was playing, specialy in the play off. Got some kin folks some where in the mix. Thanks for the post.

    • bishop

      hello griff,bishop here// you the greatest, in my opinion,you could have played the same stuff thoses other guys played,and come out on top,thanks for the great work you shown us

    • Steve J

      I’ve been playing for 30 + years in both recording sessions (Nashville) and live and there is no comparsion between creativity and style to flash and uninspiring repetitive runs. I only heard one player make the guitar cry and sing and inho Griff is the pro.

    • Eugene Wollerton

      Just read Daniel’s post,,,,
      I see where he’s coming from… Well spoken.. good luck to him in the future.

    • Eugene Wollerton

      Well Griff my man,,, After listening to all 3 of you guys lay it out,,, and I am not going to be one sided about this… The best test was when you guys played without any backup tracks… I do not see how Daniel won… he’s good but he never left the E chord… He just jammed all over it… Same with the Sultan “of swing” All in the same chord.. and both were using distortion, which in my mind makes all of the riffs join together better.. and both were good players… But you should have taken the nod just with the simple fact, that you actually played a song… But you played great.. no distortion just a good clean sound and you hit every note cleanly… Clearly, you know your way around the neck of a guitar… I would have given you the nod on this one… Great job. Sorry I wasn’t there to support you in person… But thank you for showing us the results…
      We’ll be here next year for ya too…… Geno

    • Jim

      Hi Griff

      Been playing a long time
      You are far more articulate the both those fine player
      They may have appealed to the simple tastes
      They have many years ahead of the to learn what you play
      God Bless

    • Dan

      There is a difference between blues and shredding isn’t there.

    • MikeS

      Hey Griff, Sure I’m a bit biased, but IMHO, Sultan wasn’t really playing blues. He was shredding. While Daniel WAS playing what I consider blues, WHAT he played was fast but not as tasteful as yours. I wonder if they were honestly listening or if they decided to encourage the next generation by giving it to the kid.

    • Tom Hopsicker

      You got hosed!

    • Bob Ritson

      I think Daniel has a great future ahead – and his comment showed true class – I hope to see him performing locally soon. Griff has the feel and measure of a truly great blues guitar master and it’s always a pleasure to watch him ply his craft on video.

    • Eric

      Griff should have won. The other guys were flashy and bully wowed you with alot of notes, but they did’nt take you there to a musical groove. The other guys were good, but their notes were too muddied together . Griff on the other hand was like BB King where less is more, like a big easy type book for the eyes to read, but easy for your ears to listen to, it was blues!

    • Doug Reil

      Speed isn’t everything. Griff you play with feeling, that is what counts. My onion.

    • Tony Hawkins

      You’ve got some real contenders You da Man

    • Essbee

      Hi Griff,
      I agree with all the comments about speed and shredding.
      Where was the proper blues from Daniel and Sultan in their tie breaker? None!!!!
      You blew them with good true blues playing. Next year the competition needs judges who appreciate “de blues”.
      Good Luck Griff
      Keep on keepin’ on!

    • Phil aka Felipe

      Griff you were the only real blues player. The others were only TRASH speed merchants with no love or feeling in their music. Remember what you teach us, often simplicity in the melody is better than a shred of rock, metal etc that only makes ya go crazy.
      You were the best, maybe someone paid the judges off. Keep playin’ the blues man, I love it.

    • Neil

      Griff, you got screwed. You made music. The other guys, while maybe technically proficient, made noise. I could listen to you play all night. Three minutes of Daniel and Sultan were enough.

    • Ken

      I thought the comments by winner Daniel were very classy and I hope he reads this.

      I think he hit it when he said he knew what the judges were looking for and gave them what they wanted.

      Great job and congratulations to all three, Griff played “The Blues” and that was supposed to be what the contest was about.

    • Rodger Farrell

      It seems like the popular style is for the guitarist to go 1000 miles an hour with their hair on fire. (mes apologies) . You had more style and control and clarity of instrument than those guys! Burning through scales to me does not qualify as an artist. Good job, Griff.

    • Bruce

      The Sultan did’nt swing, Dan was all shred. and you were true blues.

    • Don

      Griff, you got screwed! What are they looking for the next Eddie Van Halen or is this a blues completion? You blew them away with the blues! That’s why I don’t go to Guitar Center they don’t know shit!

    • Daniel Newell

      This is Daniel the one who played.
      First off I wanna say that I agree with all these comments. Griff should have won hands down and I was so completely shocked they picked me. When I heard Griff I couldn’t believe the phrasing and tone and maturity and all of it. I just tried to play to my track the best I could and try to keep it as bluesy as possible. I did this contest last year and I played 100% blues and did no showing off and what I learned that night when I lost is that the judges at the store level want to see more showing off so I may have went a little overboard haha. As far as the “guitar off” they said there was no guidelines so we didn’t know to play blues or what they just said go play something good. Griff got it really hard to go first. I thought his performance was amazing. But I went third and I heard both Jim and sultan so I guess I tried to put in a mix of what they did. Anyhow I had fun and I have respect for both players. I hope to jam with Griff in the future.

    • Jim N.

      I have to agree with everybody else that said, they only heard one guy up there playin the blues . Great job !!!

    • Mike


      If you’d have stuck with straight blues, you’d have nailed it. I’ve watched several of your videos, sometimes you tend to get off on riff tangents that aren’t quite “straight” blues related. This was a battle of the blues.

      Just keep on rockin’ & stick to the blues.

      All the best MPH.

    • Faus

      You played the blues so you win.
      Your knowledge and abilities are above this type of contest I would not even consider entering next year.

    • Davo of Thorneside

      You won…the others were great, but they dont have the blues feel, nor the note selection. I hope you can move on to bigger and better things.

    • Glenn Smith

      Griff, you won the first round, and blew those guys away in the improv. You also looked sharp and played the crowd well. The judges should have asked themselves, “Who would I like to hear more of?” What a travesty! Battle of the “Blues”?!! Yeah, right!

      I’m WAY proud of you and thank you for involving all of us. But, I’m not sure you should dignify this contest with your entry next year.

    • John Keegan

      Griff – You got screwed again. You were definitely the best player there. Who are the judges anyway – the store employees ? Anyway another fabulous performance.

    • Mike

      One third of what I heard was blues, the other two thirds was, well I m not sure. Griff you won that in my eyes. Great job.

    • Gary Hylton







    • Doug

      Griff, I think you played excellently. You did the best in my mind, great clean sound. I like the look you brought also. daniel did a good job brought a few trick moves, however not near as clean and sharp as you did. Sultan seemed to have a cross between santana and zappa that was ok, however I didnt enjoy it as much as you, his was not as well played as yours. All I can say is you are subject to judges opinion. The best you can do is play with that love you have for blues, put your heart, soul, and passion for the music that I know you have and play like no one is there and have the fun you tried to have. Dont lose hope pal, your the best.

    • John

      Hey Griff. You won that hands down buddy. That kid definitely has potential and I envy his talent but he is no bluesman. Not yet anyways. I guess the judges were impressed with his young age.
      Your playing was inspiring. The kind of blues that tugs at your soul. Count me in as a Griff Hamlin fan. 🙂

    • ray

      My God, how could they give that to Daniel???????

      To me this sounded like teacher verses student…with neither Daniel or being the teacher…..
      They both played well but there was no comparison….Your fretboard skill and feel was brilliant..

      This result was so wrong and it makes me cranky……..obviously rigged..

    • Tim H.

      Hey Griff:

      Thanks for sharing this. I couldn’t agree more with the comments. One blues player and 2 shredders. You were the best blues player hands down. I’d love to get my hands on the tab of that 2 minute jam you did. That was fantastic! (Hint, Hint)

      I love your stuff and am learning a lot from your lessons.


    • JohnnyB

      Oops i meant 200 notes per sec players not per min…thrashing is very impressive to people but it is not the Blues

    • Al

      I also agree, the other two were good players, but you played the blues.

    • johnny b

      Hi Griff
      These other guys were not playing the Blues…both bordering on Metal. Some of the Jams I have been too, its always the 200 notes per second that seems to impress people. I appreciate the technique but this is not the Blues. Peter Green once commented on how these type of players dont linger on any notes, all about flash. Too bad that GC seems to use the same criteria. I saw the same thing up here in Northern Cal a few years back. If they were judging based on Blues, it should have been you..great Blues groove.

    • Peter

      I agree with all the comments. There were 3 good guitarists out there but only one played with soul. That was you. The other two were skilled but failed to move me. Three guitar players – only one Bluesman!

    • Mike


      Looked like a battle of two fretboard thrashers and one blues player to me – you should have won hands down. Your playing was pure electric blues at its most expressive. Still a hero to all of us BGU guys and gals!

    • Greg in Seattle

      Well Griff. What I heard form you was years of experience bending and manipulating the strings at a level that only people who understand playing Blues at such a high level can appreciate or those who listen to the track many times to finally anticipate every note. You know the same way we listen to the classics. So here’s my take on an audience. People have a Primal side that wants to hear loud raw throbbing music. So kick up the drive and go all Hendrix on them next time in between phrases. Or just keep doing what you’re doing. That’s pretty cool too. You’ll get it next year or maybe something even more prestigious.

    • Fred

      No one can beat the master. Tension and release gets my attention. Tastefully done and making a blues statement. The two newbees will learn cacaphoney with out direction is less desireable than music with a direction. You are the one the only. “Keep On”

      Great competitors and showmanship I enjoyed all three of you.


    • Dan

      It was great meeting you and your lovely wife last night. I really thought you had it locked up. Daniel was good, but he didn’t feel the music, and you could tell. If there had to be a 3 way tie, I figured it could have been with Kevin and Al, But Sultan… give me a break. You had them all hands down, but Kevin was “original”, and Al was “interesting” and fun to listen to.
      I was very disappointed with the decision, particularly after the guitar-off. You’re the only one who actually played a “blues solo”.
      Are you doing it again next year?… Your damn right you are…. If we have to drag you kicking and screaming….Hey if you don’t want to do it, then you don’t care if you win or lose. But if you don’t,at least, compete, then it will definetely be someone else winning and thats unacceptable.


    • D Jordan

      Well Griff, you got ripped off. Those other guys had some fancy moves and fast licks (nothing you couldn’t have done better), but they did not play the blues! Especially the Sultan. I can’t see how he could have possibly made the top 3. Those judges must have been smoking some California weed…..

    • Rhonda

      Hi! Griff, I’ve read some of the other comments and I agree with some of them. I really do think that you were better than the other two. I think you should have been declared the winner. Thank you for sharing this. I enjoyed listening to you play. I think it would be interesting if they had a battle of the blues on T.V. where you could call in and vote. Like they do on American Idol. You have my vote. I say you really won. Have a good week. Thank you again for sharing.

    • skipper

      You are the best. Don’t waste your time again in this contest, it’s not about the blues, if it were, you would have won.

    • Phil and Debra

      Hey Griff! I think that your performances were the cleanest technically and the most “Bluesey”!! You should have won hands down! Good to see you and Laura at the prelims last month! There’s always next year!

    • George K

      Come on!!! Those guys were good but you played “The Blues”. Great effort Griff, you got robbed!!

    • Brett B

      Really, those kids aren’t old enough to smell the blues much less play’em.
      Griff, you have groove, feel, soul, precision, clarity and originality. the other two
      players had some of those things but you have them all and they are sweet.
      Your 2 min was by fare the bettor of the three.
      Thanks for all you do and for all you share……

    • Crowley

      Ok, so the Griff and Dan in the shred off I can understand (Dan did do well)…but Sultan seriously! Did he miss the point of a Blues comp or is just misunderstood? As for the tie breaker Griff all the way man…that was blues. Dan started out ok then got over-enthusiastic and just ran up and down the fret board like he was in training for the Olympics. Griff my man you were robbed!

    • Jas

      Great tunes Griff. Blues as it should be not shredding gymnastics like the other two. Obviously the “judges” have never heard blues before.

    • Ron lajun

      Its not all about speed! Ya gotta have the “slow hand” feel and you blew them all away..in my book
      You won big time….

    • Dean H

      Blues is not just a genre, it is an emotion, a feeling, a physical state of being, that captures and transforms the listener. It is not about playing 50 notes a second while spinning plates on your head. Griff your performance moved me and elicited the emotions that a great blues song should.
      Guitar center should make sure the judges can pass a drug test before they can participate.

    • Mike Rebollini

      Griff…couldn’t even get through Daniel or Sultan’s tie-breaker…..”mess”…..what a bunch of noise…..sounded like a typical Saturday at the local Guitar Center. When did blues become a shred-fest? Melody, phrasing and restraint ….. you’ve got it all….. thanks !!!!

    • Jonathan

      Totally agree with the other comments, you were robbed !
      Question for the judges…who is the best blues player out of Eric Clapton and Joe Satriani?….tough call eh!
      Keep at it..
      Love your work.

    • Tom S


      You killed them. They are young and pretty good, but not any
      real blues came out of them.

      I can see how you wouldn’t want to do it again… but you should.
      Go man ! Hey ! That’s MY teacher up there !

      Tom S

    • bluezbelly


      what a disappointment! Other posters had it so right. The Judges missed the point by a mile. This was a blues contest! Dan has some riffs but ran out of material. He fell into some cromatic dribble to waist time…no turn arounds, lost his count, didnt roll it home like Griff (on cue i will add!!). And as for Sultan the Metal god. I wonder how he got that far in a Blues Comp. He has modal skills and great fingers but no soul.

    • David Vorster

      Griff what can I say blues aint blues if it is not played with pasion ,feeling and Precision!
      Lets give the youngsters a chance but they would have failed miserably even at our local musso’s jam night. You can and will play the Blues.

    • Ron Treat

      Great job Griff. The kid was good, but I like your style 100 times more than his.

    • joe

      Too bad Griff. You played for wrong judges. They have no idea what blues is. Shredding, noise, volume , is not what makes the blues. As a teacher, you are great, however these modern day so called blues is not my bag. I preffer the old style real blues. Walking up and down the fretboard is a show that every young, or new player does dream about. No melody expressed with most of players.
      PS: Did you borrow hat from Marty?

    • JASMIC

      you played the story

      the other two while good no doubting that
      seemed more like jumping through licks that sounded good but
      sorta like oil and water they coudlnt get the mix

      yoo da blues man without question

    • Willie

      Wow… the blues vs 2 Yngwie Malmsteen numbers in a battle of the blues competition and Yngwie wins it??? What the…????

    • Rick Verlander

      Simple – you won. They got it wrong and were impressed by practiced fingerwork rather than true musicality and ability. R.

    • JesseRay

      Can only add to what has been already stated- over and over, again..
      Daniel- quite good for his age, and Sultan…just are not in the same league with Griff.
      Thier playing lacked maturity, soul and precision…and NO it twas’nt even the Blues…..

    • jim

      I must say, that the store who put this on has done a complete miss service to themselves. They did not honor the blues at all, and if they didn’t, how can you trust there ability to help and point customers in the right direction? I would not trust them to be guiding or teaching music to anyone. This wan’t about Rock or medal it was the blues, to bad the judges didn’t understand this major point. Yeah, Daniel played ok Rock but not much taste for the blues, Sluten, played a mix of Rock and medal, but where was the Blues. Griff, If the store is going to not judge on the blues, then I would not waste my time with them again. Sorry my friend for the disgrace you were handed. Jim

    • djangobill

      Gotta go with Griff. Dan was 2nd; however, he couldn’t get out of a straight pentatonic feel ( a little over the top, as well). Both the other two were trying to dazzle everyone with their high speed (2nd round), but forgot the blues is a communication art. Take away the backing track and they lost continuity. They might as well switched keys 10 times and it wouldn’t have mattered.

    • Jason

      GRIFF! Guess those were deaf judges. Should have never been a play off. You schooled them boys all the. Just keep smiling and we all believe in you and your abilities. Great job on your playing and teachings.

    • Paul freeman

      Hi Griff – Great playing, lovely tone, the stuff I like. You would have got my vote if I had been a judge!
      I know who I would rather have guitar lessons from; keep it up,

    • R.C.K.

      I am from the “old school”.. like “Blues in the Night”, “St. Louis Blules” etc. Songs with melodies and feeling. I appreciate the talent and dexterity needed to play the stuff just presented, but to me it was nothing but a bunch of noise, not music…I was a specator at 2 alleged “contests” here in Phoenix and in both events, the guy making the loudest, most distorted noise was decl;ared the winner. I will not attend again.

      If this is what modern “Blues” is all about, I will continue my loyalty to Ranger Doug and the Riders in the Sky.

    • Lala

      Hi Griff,
      Where is the old way of comparison: apples to apples?
      You played blues from heart. The others played something that they practised: shredding with no blues in their heart and soul. They put themselves out of the scope of this contest.
      They did not play blues but something that they thought they can make the “pawns” blind with, and the pawn audience including the jury got blinded.
      You are the winner of the Battle of the Blues Griff, the others fought in a different battle.

    • GEMorgan

      Griff, you did great with your unique style. Great mix of rhythm and lead.
      Daniel was full of energy. The kid looks like a natural. I really enjoyed his style.

    • Karol

      They chose speed over style and taste!

    • Leif

      I wish I could say that “the best guitarist won”. Unfortunately that is not the case. Not because it’s you, Griff, and not because I’m following your BGU course. In my mind and in my heart it’s no doubt that you are way better as a (blues)guitarist in this competition, you are in your own superior league compared to the two other competitors. The only reason I can why Daniel won this shootout is because of his low age, and that the judges want to encourage young talented persons. Anyway, that is not a fair approach from the judges in this spesific blues competion.
      Griff, you deserved to win. Keep up the good work.

    • Geoffrey Parkes

      Hi Griff. You was robbed. I agree with all the other comments. Blues with a feeling, that you have, does it for me every time. It seems to me that along with everything else music has been sanitized and had all the goodness taken out. Musicians that play from the heart (like yourself) and not from the head are a dying breed, and that is very sad. My very best wishes.

    • Frank

      The consensus with all of the comments, here, surrounds the concept of the competition. It’s supposed to be the battle of the Blues. The only one that kept to that premise, especially in the “guitar off” was you, Griff. I have to believe the judges weren’t necessarily dialed into the object of the competition. Not sure what they were choosing when they chose Daniel. Your performance was hands down the best of the essence of the “battle”!

    • Tom

      I’ve read the remarks so far and the all have one thing in common. You were the only one playing the blues. I feel that if the other guys had selected a slow blues tempo like the one you used, they would have played the same notes at the same speed as the solos that they did select. There was no soul in their solos and without that there is no blues.

      Great job Griff.

      I do feel that your two minute solo was not up to your standards and rambled a little but that’s just me

      Again, great job.

      You’ll be back next year

    • Joe

      I guess the judges thought this was “Battle of the Noise” instead of “Battle of the Blues.”

      Sad. Tell them to go back and listen to SRV, Albert, B.B., Muddy Waters, etc. to get their ears recalibrated.

    • mark

      Of the three you played the better and most blues. Next year walk up there – tell em you understand you’re in a blues guitar competition and you are going to play blues music on your guitar. Close your eyes – imagine you’re sitting in the third row with your eyez closed – then play yourself some “Blues”. You play great blues when you ignore the technical fluff. Trust your sound. You know that’s what is really important. Like you said – B.B.Kings technique isn’t great, but his sound is great. Play all blues next year.

    • thedude

      you obviously played better,both times.
      real blues,from the heart…no fast runs with no feeling
      …keep trying ,dont be discouraged.
      eventually the truth comes out.

    • marc

      How did Griff not win that?

      Daniel’s EQ was a mess and Sultan?????????????Mystified.

    • Roger

      If your gonna hang your hat up Griff, can i have it??? all you guys did great and one thing i will say is you raise the bar waaaaay high for these guys to compete!! i think thats why Daniel and Sultan started shredding cuz thats all they had left in there bag of tricks!! young judges will go with that – assuming they were young??? its a young mans sport these days but ur still the man to recon with!!! soooooo can i have it?? huh??? lol

      umm not to say your old but ur not 17 thou?? lol
      awesome job!!! & fun to watch!!! 🙂

    • eric

      i watched them in order then read the comments and I agree, where is the “blues” in Daniel and Sultan’s tie breakers? Sultan had absolutely none until the last few seconds, all the rest was shredding. The proof will be in the next round, unless Daniel learns some blues soon he’ll be gone for sure. Unfortunately at the local level the judging may be questionable, at the higher levels it is probably more purist blues.

    • TXiceman

      The others obviously did not not understand what the bluse is…forthat matter neither did the judges. Griff, you were supurb…the others need some real bluse lesons.

    • Jim

      WOW!! 3 terrific guitarists. If I was a judge, and I’m glad I wasn’t, wouldn’t want to have to make 2 guys very unhappy, I would’ve given you the nod. Not just brown-nosing here, I thought your first go at it was superb.

      The hat was pretty cool as well 🙂

      Congrats, Griff, on a job well done.


    • Tony McCrory

      Watched in unbelief. Quite obvious to me who the “bluesman” was – no contest! Can’t figure out what the judges were listening to. Well done anyway, Grif.

    • raytuned88

      I guess guitar -off meant ” free -for-all, your tie -breaker was all blues.(and cool-sounding)like it should have been!! last I remember …its Battle of the Blues….. no one said anything about Battle of the Shred. bad call on the judges behalf, otherwise you would have taken it easily. similiar to what Bob is refering to.

    • ramsey horton

      Judges must be youngsters ….I prefer taste and class over ‘shredders’…..You won Griff!

    • Al

      You are awesome, wish I could play half as well…

    • Barry

      I wouldn’t buy a ticket to see the other two all that flashy stunt stuff gets old quick, your tone and phrasing were far superior, IMHO

    • john Kiltoff

      You Looked Great and played the blues not all that stinking noise
      You were # 1 in my book. I don’t know what the judges wanted but they were young guys that are used to shreding. me I hate it. It ain’t music.

    • Tom

      That looks like a lot of fun Griff. Of course you know there are no looser’s. the winnr is the one who has the most fun

    • HG

      I guess they were looking for a young gun. His soloing lacked anything melodic or rythmic and his tone was void of articulation and complexity.Add the fact that it wasn’t even bluesy,
      i don’t get it!

    • FerlinHusky23

      Well it was clear who was the superior player but it’s hard to best a kid who’s pretty good. And I liked that he did not dwell on the usual hackneyed blues licks. I’m not sure about Sultan in the bonus round…I think he confused blues with Van Halen’s Eruption.

    • mike

      Your shit was better

    • nick

      Wow,what can i say….i like very much,may be in one day i will have an electric guitar with floyd rose.I saw one in usa,a kramer striker,to bad i am so far away,i am from europe,romania,However thank you very much.Nick.

    • Darre

      Tough man, could a went either way between you and Daniel. I would have given you the nod

    • Bob

      If you measure it from musicality stand point in the blues genre you won by a mile. If you measure it from fast noise bordering on sheer wanking you came in last place. Too bad.

    • Skip Lee

      You have my vote!!

    • cris brady

      I found your se to be more entertaining, You played a whole lot cleaner and had more style. I don’t know who the judges were but they are wrong, I would not have chosen either of the other two, You still waxed them

    • Kevin Mahoney

      I don’t understand the criteria since the guy that won was the least musical. He was okay for a kid, but didn’t have a good senes of how to put phrases together in a meaningful way. You were awesome, and so was Sultan.


    • Neil

      You where robbed Griff! The kid is really good, but you’re a better showman! Blinding speed is impressive, but the blues has to have “heart”.

    • Shawn

      Griff – your playing was way cleaner and had more class and style (with soul) – you should have won!

    • Dick Smith

      Well, I was there so Griff you know how I feel. The other two just didn’t have any musical content, certainly not the blues. It seemed to me all the judges were looking for was speed.

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