We had the pleasure of welcoming professional musician Ian Wroe from the UK to Emerald Guitars HQ this week as he collected his brand new 7-string.
Huddersfield native Ian came to St Johnston to pick up his brand new green X20 Opus 7-string and was going to try it out with the band he plays with, Adrian Ingram’s Jazz Dawgs, during the week.
At the height of his personal guitar collection, Ian was the proud owner of 28, mainly electric guitars, from Les Pauls, Telecasters to archtops, but when he made the decision to stick to playing seven-string, he narrowed it down to seven sevens. His Emerald Guitar X20 custom is number eight, an his first acoustic 7-string.
“I had first toyed with the idea of buying a 7-string first at the Long Island Show in 2001, but my guitar chops were appalling then, they’re not massively better now, but I have improved somewhat,” he laughed, “ I didn’t go for it then and I’m glad I didn’t.
“From 2001 I met some astonishing players and it made me sit down and start working seriously, playing scales for the first time in my life, things you’re supposed to do anyway, looking at chords and other players to find out what they’re doing and getting the musicality down more.”
“Because I wasn’t going on big holidays and I could afford it, I would end up buying something like a (Gibson) Byrdland. It’s a fashion thing, you see one of your heroes playing a guitar and automatically you buy that one expecting to play like like him. It takes a long time to get that knocked out of you,’ he laughed.
When he saw an electric 7-string by Eastman Guitars in a local store two years, Ian thought I would give it a try. “I had some spare cash after selling another few guitars and thought it was worth an experience. And then I really enjoyed it!”
Ian tried to go back from seven to six strings after and was admittedly ‘all over the place’. “I had to think ‘What do I really want to do?’ and I decided to go completely for 7-string. I got rid of five archtops, a few Les Pauls and over a period of time I sold all of my 6-strings using that to fund the 7-string collection – They are not cheap,” he laughed.
When Ian made the decision to search for an acoustic 7-string, he knew it would be difficult, and mostly expensive, to buy a traditionally built 7-string acoustic. “I had seen RainSong and looked around at other compound guitars and I kept hearing more and more about Emerald Guitars. And seeing people like folk singer Mike Harding playing one in extreme environments, I thought getting one would be a good idea. Wooden guitars constantly need adjusting and we play in different environments, so it’s a constant battle.”
Causeway Coastal Route
Ian tied in a visit to Donegal with a trip to Northern Ireland where he caught up with some old friends and went on the tourism trail around the beautiful Causeway Coastal Route.
“I’ve been to the big tourist destinations like Dublin and Cork in recent years, but the last time I was in Northern Ireland was probably 1976, so I thought it be nice to have a few days to have a look around. The North Antrim coast is just fabulous.”
Having run a small business until seven years ago, Ian retired at 55 to concentrate on his music, having paid off the mortgage and sold his stake in his company to his business partner. Nowadays he travels around the world with the Jazz Dawgs, led by renowned musician Adrian Ingram, travelling a lot to North America where they play at various guitar shows. “Luckily, I don’t have to earn a living from gigging otherwise I would be starved. So what I tell people now is I drink beer and play guitar, and not necessarily in that order,” he laughed. www.jazzdawgs.co.uk
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