“Guitars adapt to whoever is playing them. I can play somebody else’s guitar for two weeks and it will change according to how I play it”: Ralph Towner on the sensitivity of the six-string – and why he doesn't use an amp on stage

Ralph Towner
(Image credit: Caterina Di Perri/ECM Records)

Apart from a solo career that began back in the early 1970s, nylon-string guitarist Ralph Towner has contributed to recordings from a wide range of artists, including Bill Bruford, Robben Ford and Weather Report. 

He also has the distinction of having had two craters on the moon named after his compositions, by the Apollo 15 astronauts. He’s a multi-instrumentalist, having begun his musical journey playing brass instruments before teaching himself to play piano, but it was to be the guitar that formed the main focus of his music. 

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David Mead

With over 30 years’ experience writing for guitar magazines, including at one time occupying the role of editor for Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, David is also the best-selling author of a number of guitar books for Sanctuary Publishing, Music Sales, Mel Bay and Hal Leonard. As a player he has performed with blues sax legend Dick Heckstall-Smith, played rock ’n’ roll in Marty Wilde’s band, duetted with Martin Taylor and taken part in charity gigs backing Gary Moore, Bernie Marsden and Robbie McIntosh, among others. An avid composer of acoustic guitar instrumentals, he has released two acclaimed albums, Nocturnal and Arboretum.