Although he’s mainly a fusion guitarist and doesn’t really fit in the world of metal, he’s definitely a person who’s work is praised by a lot of people in the metal scene. It’s not very often that you hear of a musician that has mastered an instrument as well as Guthrie Govan has. His diverse style and flawless technique have led him to become one of today’s most distinguished guitarists.
Born in 1971 in Chelmsford England, Guthrie began playing the guitar when he was the 3 years old and starting playing was featured on British television when he was 8. At the time he was mainly influenced by artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. But when the 80s arrived and the popularity of guitar shredding arose, Guthrie immersed himself in developing his technical abilities through learning the styles of players like Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen.
When Guthrie reached secondary school, he realized that it wasn’t his best option so he dropped out and decided to pursue a career in music. In 1991, he sent some demos to Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records (a record company that promoted shred guitar which artists like Racer X, Cacophany, Vinnie Moore worked with).
Although Varney saw potential in Guthrie’s playing and offered him a record deal, the latter refused and claimed that the whole purpose of sending the demos was to see if he was good enough or not. Later on he began to indulge in jazz and fusion admiring the works of guitar legends such as Shawn Lane, Allan Holdsworth, and John Scofield to name a few. In 1993, he won the “Guitarist Of The Year” contest which was sponsored by UK’s Guitarist magazine with his instrumental entitled “Wonder Slippery Thing” which ended up on his debut solo album years later.
Whether he’s playing his infamous tapped phrases or strumming a few dissonant jazz chords, his playing is always top-notch. His deep knowledge of music theory and technique helped him form his varied style.
In 2006 Guthrie released his debut album Erotic Cakes, which is named after an episode frome The Simpsons, and featured well-known guitarists like Ritchie Kotzen and Ron Thal (a.k.a. Bumblefoot). Currently Guthrie writes lessons in Guitar Techniques magazine and teaches at Brighton Institute of Modern Music. He also plays local live shows with Erotic Cakes, the band that plays his original material, performs at guitar clinics and workshops, and is writing material on his follow-up album. Erotic Cakes (the album) is an album that brings out the best of both fusion and and rock, and contains elements of jazz and rock as well. Odd time signatures, catchy riffs, unique chord progressions, and seemingly-impossible, yet tasteful, solos are a few of the elements that contributed to this album’s success, and led Guthrie to become one of today’s pioneers in the fusion guitar scene. Artists like Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, and Steve Vai have complimented Guthrie for his work.
Guthrie joined with the prog-rock band Asia in 2001 and recorded the albums “Aura” and “Silent Nation” with them and left in 2007.
He was on of the founders of GPS, a band that formed in 2006 and consists of him and former members of Asia. In 2007 they released their debut album “Window To The Soul”.
He formed The Young Punx, a British electronic dance act and and continues to play live with them.
Erotic Cakes and saxophonist Zak Barrett formed The Fellowship, a jazz-fusion group that plays every Thursday night in the Basement club in Guthrie’s hometown
In 2009 he played on Dizzee Rascall’s album Dizzee Rascal’s album “Tongue n’ Cheek”.
Guthrie started using Suhr guitars in early 2004, and uses several models like the Classic, the Classic T, the Modern, and several variations of the Standard model. In January 2009, Guthrie and Suhr came up with a signature guitar, and another one was introduced the following year which differed slightly from the first model since it had set-neck construction and lacked the flamed maple top. He also uses Cornford amplifiers mainly the RK100, MK50, and Hellcat models. His pedal board varies from one gig to another, but it generally consists of an Ernie Ball Volume Pedal, a Digitech Whammy 4, a Dunlop GCB95 Crybaby Wah, Pigtronix Mothership, Menatone JAC Compressor, Hermida Zen Overdrive, Moonphaser, Guyatone WR-3 Auto-Wah and Morley Power Wah Volume Pedal.