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Ben Higgins

Location: Dorset, England, UK
Date of Birth: 26th February 1985
Been playing guitar since: 1995

Born in Yeovil, England and growing up in rural Dorset, my exposure to guitars and music in general was my parents and all their friends. There was always a couple of acoustic guitars hung on the wall and, when people would come and visit, inevitably the guitars would come down to play ! However, it wasn't until my mum showed me my first few chords ( I won't embarrass myself by revealing the song.. but it was a big hit for a certain Scottish band in the nineties which never seemed to leave the number 1 spot – think what the opposite to 'dry' is 3 times ! ) that I begun my journey into the wonderful world of guitar.

I bashed away with old Irish folk songs that my Dad had taught me.. and I often found myself jamming along with anybody who was round the house. One thing, in hindsight, that these invaluable experiences did for me, was to help develop my musical ear.. which helped me progress beyond the acoustic into the scarily exciting world of the electric...

The thing that changed it all was discovering an old Iron Maiden tape in a dusty corner at home. The album was 'Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son'. Never before had I heard music so broodingly atmospheric, yet so anthemic. There was no going back. I had to have an electric guitar ! Being very blessed with having parents who actually supported my wish to delve into the world of music, I eventually did get my hands on a ¾ size, black Washburn. My Dad mentioned something about needing a distortion pedal, whatever that was. However, I wasn't particularly interested in what a distortion pedal was or what it did. How things change....! In this case, they changed pretty quickly !

A couple of bands followed, each getting closer to the music I so wanted to be playing, until I now play guitar with the best musicians I've ever worked with and people I'm proud to call my friends in a band called The Reckoning.

Playing and Influences
As much as my favourite rock and metal bands kept fuelling my inspiration, the first guitarist who really turned my head around was Joe Satriani with his Surfing With The Alien album. His playing seemed untouchable.. divine, in fact. However, the player who spoke to me the most is Marty Friedman. It's the way he really gets into his guitar and bends and phrases like his hands are both elasticated but also made of iron... the passion of a true master.

I also deeply admire the man who inspired Friedman himself, the incredible Michael Schenker. In recent years it's not just the music that's inspired me.. the words of the late and brilliant Philip Toshio Sudo and his book 'Zen Guitar' should be definite reading material for all musicians.

The brilliant thing about GMC is being able to share not just playing tips and approaches but our philosophy towards playing guitar. The true spirit of being a musician who is open to all learning is something that is ever present at GMC and I look forward to learning as much as teaching. And if I can one day end up with a picking technique anywhere near as good as Muris's then I'll be very happy !

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