Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Neil Haverstick

Neil Haverstick was born on September 22, 1951, in St. Louis, Missouri, and started playing guitar in 1965, being highly moved by the music of the Beatles, Yardbirds, Cream, and the general musical atmosphere of the 1960′s. Haverstick is a guitarist, composer, author, and instructor… here’s a few essentials for you press folks…

As a guitarist, the Denver Post called him “one of the most sought after session players in town.” Haverstick has performed zillions of gigs, such as playing and recording with the Colorado Symphony, including appearances with Judy Collins, Bernadette Peters, Diahann Carroll, Tommy Tune, Ferrante and Teicher, and Bill Conti. He has also played in orchestras backing such artists as Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Charley Pride, and others.

With his own bands, he has opened shows for B.B.King, Steve Miller,and King Sunny Ade; he has also backed up blues greats Jim Schwall and Joe Houston. As a freelance guitarist he has played blues, jazz, classical, country, flamenco, and folk, as well as plays (Man of La Mancha, Grease, Always Patsy Cline, The Last Five Years, and A Dream Play, performed at the Cleveland Playhouse, with noted director Pavel Dobrusky) and many private functions. He has also appeared on numerous CD projects by Denver artists, including Clay Kirkland and Mary Stribling.

As a composer, Haverstick won Guitar Player magazine’s 1992 Ultimate Guitar Competition (Experimental Division) with a 19 tone piece, “Spider Chimes.” He also won the 1996 arts Innovation Award in Denver for another 19 tone song, “Jimmy and Joe,” and the 1999 Composition Fellowship from the Colorado Council on the Arts. He has 10 CD’s of original music available featuring music in the 19 and 34 tone systems, as well as fretless guitar. His Microstock festival is in it’s 7th year, and he has performed at concerts in New York, Los Angeles, El Paso, Albuquerque, and Den Haag, the Netherlands. His composition “Mysteries” was published in 2007 by Christine Paquelet Edition Arts (www.paquelet-editions.com). Guitar Player mag said of his compositions, “Bold and daring, Haverstick ventures into distant aural galaxies”.

As an author, Haverstick has written for Guitar Player, Downbeat and Cadence, and has written two music theory books. “The Form of No Forms” was praised by the late studio guitarist Tommy Tedesco, who called it “A great book. I am still learning with Neil.” Jazz giant Joe Pass said, “I feel this book offers a new insight into not only playing the guitar, but music and how to understand it. A real book.” Neil’s latest book, “19 Tones:A New Beginning,” is a look at the 19 tone system of tuning which Haverstick has been working in since 1989.

As an instructor, Haverstick has taught hundreds of students, both privately and in classes. He has been a guest speaker at Dr. Richard Krantz’s Sound and Physics class at Metro State College for many years, and in October, 2004, he taught a seminar on tunings at Berklee College of Music, on the invitation of fusion guitar maestro David Fiuczynski.

"Beautiful Springtime" is a tribute to Chinese culture and music. It's performed on an Ibanez 7 string fretless guitar, using a Boss DD7 40 second delay for the background loops. The main melody uses a succession of different minor chords for the melodic line, and the solo is two pentatonic scales superimposed, F# and B. I was going for a very tranquil feeling. The pitches are intuitive, not based on any particular theory, but I'm sure it's not exactly the 12 tone equal tempered scale. Beautiful Springtime really means Wing Chun, who was a young woman that the martial arts style was named after.
"Beautiful Springtime" originally appeared on Stickman: Fretless (2010)
Write Haverstick at