Guitarist Curtis Fornadley Interview

“This is one artist who clearly communicates his message through his music."
~ Music Connection

“There are two types of music: music I like and music I don’t like”...  This genre inclusive approach has exposed Curtis Fornadley to a wide variety of music. Distilled over time, these influences have emerged and helped shape his unique musical voice. The primary vehicle of his musical expression is the guitar. Starting with classical guitar at the age of 11, Curtis has spent his life dedicated to learning, creating and pushing the boundaries of the guitar and his music. To the new listener his guitar driven music sounds like Rock but quickly the currents of Jazz, Blues, Surf, and Country can be heard along with the common thread that ties them all together: great melodies, virtuosity, and soulful playing.

In 2007, Curtis was one of ten finalists in Guitar Player Magazine’s “Guitar Superstar Competition.”

In 2015, Curtis released the "Tone Wizards" book.  This project, which was 2 years in the making, includes 17 interviews with top guitarists and gear gurus on the quest for the ultimate sound.

In 2017! The new album from Curtis Fornadley 13 Tracks to Resonate your Mind, Body and Soul. "Resonance" will be released on CD and digital download through Curtis' Official website, CD Baby, iTunes, and

Guitarist Curtis Fornadley Interview

Scott - Hi Curtis, Hey man.... Thank you so much for taking the time out to do an interview with me and my Guitarz site.  I hope all is well with you... Give all our loyal readers and peeps an update with what’s been going on with you in your musical world these days and a short but descriptive label of your style of guitar playing and the types of music you like playing.

What is the name of the current Album you are promoting at the moment? How did the music come about?

My latest album release is called “Resonance”. The tunes on “Resonance” are a collection of new material along with some highlights from the digital singles I have released in the recent past.

It has been almost 10 years since I released a physical CD; “Out of the Shell”. Since that time I have been releasing a series of digital singles. As I finished recording my last batch of tunes I started thinking about the best way to release and present them to the world. It takes a lot of effort to get the word out on new material, whether it is a one song or 12. After talking to some of the people that have bought and enjoyed my music in the past I came to the conclusion that the audience for my music is more receptive to an album than singles. Also the timing seemed right to document this point in my creative musical life with a physical album; something tangible, to hold in your hand and share with people. A CD may hold music in a digital format, but it is also lives in the analog, physical world. I hope that this physical element will enable people to slow down and enjoy the music and be freed from the “listen once and throw it away” mentality many of us experience with a Facebook and Tweets flying by. Resonance is also available as a digital download, but is currently not on streaming services.

Scott - What are your personal highlights on the new album? Why?

I guess it probably depends on my mood. But there are tunes that I am proud of from a composition point of view and others where my guitar playing is the highlight for me. As time passes it is easier for me to listen to music I have recorded because the distance eases the personal attachment and adds an element of objectivity. With a few of my tunes I am lucky enough to listen to them and enjoy them like I am listening to someone else. So far, for this record, “Where There Is Water There Is Life” comes the closest for me, since I think both the playing and the writing are really strong and the recording came out great. But in the end it does not matter what I think; I really don’t know which tunes will resonate with people. This record has my usual stamp of diversity of feels and styles so it could vary a lot.

Scott - What was it about the electric guitar that inspired you to play it?

That is tough to verbalize; it is really more of a feeling or an intangible attraction.  I vaguely remember a feeling as a kid, when I finally began to be able to play, where the flood gates opened up and it just felt like an extension of me as a person; a direct channel of expression or communication.  And really this feeling has never faltered since then.  I have creative slumps now and then, like everyone else, but that connection has remained true.  And I would not limit it to electric; I have this same connection to acoustic guitars, which allows for a different type of expression. I guess creating and discovering new music on the instrument inspires me to play.

Scott - What type of guitars do you play and why?

For electrics I like Strat type guitars, with a single-single-humbucking pickup configuration. This provides me with a very wide palette of possible tones. This is also helpful when playing live since I do not like to switch guitars a lot.  I like the weight balance  on a Strat (no more than ~8 lbs.) and the vibrato bar. Currently my main guitar is a Xotic XCS-2 but I also play Suhr and Fender electrics. Actually, the guitar I have had the longest, since high school, is a Gibson Les Paul. I use it now and then when recording.

Scott - What type of amps do you use? Do you use different amps for the studio vs live shows?

For live I have always gravitated to Marshall-type amps. Currently I use a Suhr SL68 or a Custom Audio Amplifiers OD100 amp, depending on the gig. For cabinets I have a Bogner 2X12 and a Kerry Wright 4X12; again depending on the gig. Actually the only vintage gear I have are two blackface Fender amps, a Super reverb and a Deluxe.  I use them both quite often when recording.

Scott - Who have been your main influences on your career to date?

I think there are two types of influence a player can have. One is mindset or approach and the other is where you try and emulate a players note choices and tone. Early on I purposely chose to listen and learn from as many different sources as possible so that I would not borrow too much from any one player or songwriter. In some case I forced myself to stop listening to certain artists. When I was a pre-teen and teenager I listened to the usual suspects: Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and Jeff Beck etc.. My guitar world changed when Van Halen hit the scene; that is one player I had to eventually cut myself off from. In my late teens I discovered, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass and Pat Metheny – my life long Jazz discoveries continued from there. Later Vai, Satch and Eric Johnson, showed up playing instrumental rock. Again at some point I needed to limit my exposure here as well for obvious reasons. I consider my non- guitar focused influences as powerful, if not more, in shaping who I am as a musician.  For example, as a young kid I remember listening to my parents playing Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass records, and I cannot remember a time when Beatles music was not a part of my life.

Scott - Who are you listening to these days?

I continue to seek out new things I have never heard before. With the Internet, access to all music is amazing -for the listener - not necessarily for the musicians that created the music. I have a paid Spotify account and use it as a discovery tool. This past year I discovered a great Jazz player named Jack Wilkins and I have been listening to his record “Windows”. Great stuff I never knew about before. New gig situations also expose me to new music. A Jazz Fusion group I recently started playing with has me relearning Billy Cobham tunes and woodshedding Lee Morgan heads. I try to keep in touch with new stuff as well, I like things like Muse and Twenty One pilots but I do not study them, I just let it wash over me. I try to avoid listening to the same Aerosmith or Who song on classic rock radio. If I am at total loss I put on Pat Metheny, Stan Getz or Cannonball Adderley; I never limit myself of those guys.

Scott - Do you embrace online social networking? Why?

I suppose I do, to a point; I only have so much time in a given day. For indie artists I think it as essential for meeting new people that you can introduce to your music. Online everything is only one click away. But this is very challenging because the noise level is so high and everyone is constantly bombarded with media content. People are saturated and numb. Hopefully I can make contact with a few people, have a dialog and create a space where they can listen and absorb my music outside of the 10 second attention span of social media.

Scott - Where can we buy your music? the best place to start. Physical CD are available from CD Baby and digital downloads are available through all the usual places including iTunes and Amazon.

Scott - I also don't want to forget this... Tell us about any other things you may be in involved in or any special interest besides music that is close to your heart?

Well I spent 2 years of my life working on the “Tone Wizards” book, which I released in September 2015.  In this book I interviewed many famous guitarists and gear builders on the nature and origin of great guitar tone and personal style. Looking back, I was able to apply many of the things I learned while working on the book to my music, recordings and guitar playing.  I continue to try and spread the word on the book. It was a labor of love and has been very well received so far. I believe much of the content will be relevant for many years to come. “Tone Wizards: Interviews With Top Guitarists and Gear Gurus On the Quest For The Ultimate Sound”.

Scott - Ok Curtis, Your parting shot across the bow?

I encourage anyone reading this to keep an open mind when listening and discovering new players and music. Oftentimes people can close themselves off from accepting music or artists they have not heard of before; waiting for others to tell them that it is good. On social media I often see threads or posts that perpetuate the myth of one player being better than another or people only liking one type of music or a handful of players. This “exclusive” mentality is unfortunate and limiting.  One of my goals is to create music many people can enjoy, not just guitar players; music that makes them feel something and listen to more than once. The primary voice for my music is my guitar playing, but great guitar players are a dime a dozen. The music has to take it to the next level.


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