See Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert and All-Star Cast Shred to Launch Guitar Contest

(Image credit: Christie Goodwin/Getty Images)

Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Tommy Emmanuel and dozens of other guitarists from around the world have put their shred talents together on behalf of fighting prostate cancer and depression.

The players have participated in a new video titled “Don’t Tell Me Not to Play Guitar,” shown below, that promotes guitar practice while raising funds for the EJ Whitten Foundation to combat prostate cancer and depression. The track is available on iTunes, with all proceeds going to EJ Whitten.

In addition to the guitarists listed above, the track includes appearances by Steve Morse, Frank Gambale, Guthrie Govan, Rob Chapman, Ola Englund, and many others. The song features the music of Dorian Chiiwahwah Phallic.

The video itself is but a kickoff to the Epic Guitar Solo Contest, a competition that will give eight guitarists from around the world a chance to perform with these artists in a second video. One guitarist will be selected each from the U.S./Canada, the U.K., Japan, South America, Asia/India, Europe/Middle East, China, and Australia/New Zealand/Africa/Oceania.

The contest is the brainchild of David Loader, a.k.a. Hack Wanger, best known for producing more than 300 episodes of Guitar Gods and Masterpieces show for Australian public TV channel c31. The issues of prostate cancer and depression are personal for him: Loader’s father passed away from prostate cancer seven years ago and his brother died from depression in 2000.

“In the name of prostate awareness and depression, we want to give eight guitar players around the world a chance at ‘World Guitar Stardom,’” Loader writes. “These music performances have been delivered by the greatest guitar masters of our time, all in good faith of wanting to perform alongside of each other to make a difference in the world of men’s health and well being. Especially in a year that rock has lost so many of their best.”

To enter the Epic Guitar Solo Contest, guitarists will film themselves recording an eight-bar solo over a backing track provided by the contest. Full instructions are provided here. You can also view the contest trailer below at bottom.

In addition to purchasing “Don’t Tell Me Not to Play Guitar,” you can support the cause by buying T-shirts or making donations at EJ Whitten Foundation.

To follow the contest, visit its Facebook page and Instagram, and use the hash tag #epicguitarsolochallenge.

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Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World, a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.