“All arrangements have phrases where you encounter string squeak. You’ve got to practice a lot more. You’ve got to play that thing a thousand times. There are no shortcuts or easy ways. There’s only getting it right”: Tommy Emmanuel on acoustic perfection

Tommy Emmanuel performs onstage
(Image credit: Mairo Cinquetti//SOPA Images/LightRocket/ Getty Images)

Tommy Emmanuel has been a working professional musician from the somewhat staggering age of six, when he toured his native Australia playing rhythm guitar in his family’s band, living on the road in their cars and rarely going to school. He was inspired to play after hearing the Travis picking style of Chet Atkins on the radio, a lightbulb moment and one that he still remembers vividly.

Six decades on, Tommy is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest acoustic fingerstyle players, a guitarist whose emotive playing and impeccable feel are matched by his sublimely dextrous technique. He sets the bar high for himself, and his incendiary live shows regularly wow audiences in venues across the globe. 

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Jamie Dickson

Jamie Dickson is Editor-in-Chief of Guitarist magazine, Britain's best-selling and longest-running monthly for guitar players. He started his career at the Daily Telegraph in London, where his first assignment was interviewing blue-eyed soul legend Robert Palmer, going on to become a full-time author on music, writing for benchmark references such as 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Dorling Kindersley's How To Play Guitar Step By Step. He joined Guitarist in 2011 and since then it has been his privilege to interview everyone from B.B. King to St. Vincent for Guitarist's readers, while sharing insights into scores of historic guitars, from Rory Gallagher's '61 Strat to the first Martin D-28 ever made.