Q&A Scene: Guitarists’ Special: Joseph Balfe

Leading up to the Melbourne Guitar Show, What’s My Scene will be celebrating GUITARISTSStay tuned for our exclusive Q&As, Vintage Guitar Scenes, Snap Scene features, and much much more.

Joseph Balfe answers our questions:

How long have you been playing guitar? Why did you first start playing guitar?
I’ve been playing since I was about 10, so around 8 years now. I probably first started because my older brothers were playing but it was finding fingerstyle guitar videos online that really got me into it.

Which guitarist most influenced your playing?
Probably Adam Rafferty. I love his style & it was his early videos that I learnt from.

Describe your favourite guitar.
Currently I’m mostly playing my Takamine acoustic. It was my first decent guitar which I’m now using again but with nylons.

How do you prepare for a show?
Being a soloist it’s pretty much up to me what I play so I just figure out a setlist depending on the type of gig, practice loads, run through for timing, check gear etc, all the usuals I guess!

Which artist/band was/is your favourite to play guitar with?
I got to play with Tommy Emmanuel at one of his NZ shows a year or 2 back, & as a fingerstyle guitarist you can’t really top that!

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.
Ok well it’s not happened yet but it’s kind of interesting! I got the invite to play at the Melbourne Guitar show (I think thanks to Nick Charles who I met here in NZ at a folk festival) & was really keen to come over, play, see the show etc. Then a couple of weeks later my cousin Gary from UK got in touch (we’ve never met so far) & said he’s coming to AUS/NZ & would be cool to meet up. Well he’s Steve Hackett’s drummer, who I then realised was also playing at the guitar show! So not only do I get to play at the show I’ll also be meeting Gary & going to their gig in Melbourne on the Sat night. Plus I’ll be staying with a good friend I met at the Tamworth festival a couple of years ago. So yeah all in all it’s gonna be a great weekend! :)

What, or who, inspires you?
Just any great musicians really, not just guitarists, & any genre too (although really into jazz at the moment)

Which song do you wish you wrote the riff for?
Not really a riff but Jerry Reed’s Struttin is prob one of my favourite intrumentals, & one that I pretty much always play.

If you had unlimited money, what would your dream guitar setup be?
A Lowden Jazz series nylon guitar, not sure when but it will be my next guitar!

What’s next for you?
I’ve recently started my music degree here in NZ so I’m pretty much tied up with that for a few years. I want to carry on as a solo performer but also become a versatile session guy too so am really getting into the theory side of it.

What is the best thing about the Melbourne Guitar Show this August?
A whole show dedicated to guitar! Really looking forward to seeing all the stands, other players & of course playing myself

What’s your scene?
A bit of everything :)


It was big in 2015, huge in 2016, and today the Australian Music Association has announced the 2017 return of the Melbourne Guitar Show to rock Caulfield Racecourse on August 5 and 6 – and this year, it’ll be bigger than ever.  Proudly presented by Triple M and Australian Musician, the line-up boasts not only an incredible haul of local guitarists, but also massive international artists – UK’s legendary Steve Hackett (Genesis), Canada’s renowned Nick Johnston and UK superstar Alex Hutchings.

In addition to some killer performances, MGS will also hold a monster exhibition that will feature a gigantic variety of electric and acoustic guitars, effects pedals, amps and more state-of-the-art guitar technology, both home-grown and from around the world.  It will continue to be Australia’s biggest guitar pop-up shop…and that’s not all.  In addition to this, the Melbourne Guitar Show will host information seminars, demonstrations, and live performances from Australia’s most talented guitarists, including: Lloyd Spiegel, Nick Charles and Bob Spencer with many more to be announced.

This year will be extra special as the Melbourne Guitar Show welcomes UK guitar royalty, namely, the original Genesis guitarist and successful solo artist in his own right, Steve Hackett, in a very special premium ticketed event.  Hackett will be touring Australia for the very first time with his lavish Genesis Revisited tour, playing classic Genesis prog-rock tunes as well as selected material from his 25 solo albums.  For the Melbourne Guitar Show however, in a more eclectic and informal setting, Steve will play an exclusive up close and personal acoustic-based show featuring musical director Roger King on keyboards and woodwind/ brass virtuoso Rob Townshend.  This will be the only Australian performance by the Steve Hackett Acoustic Trio.
Genesis, only ever made it to Australia once, in 1986 – years after Steve and singer Peter Gabriel left the band, so Steve is making it up to fans by bringing some Genesis magic to our shores.  It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for long serving Genesis fans and aficionados of 70s prog-rock.  Steve will also participate in an onstage Q&A session following his guitar show performance. Excited about the upcoming tour, Steve says, “I’m thrilled to bring my Genesis Revisited tour to Australia.  I’ll be playing there for the first time and I’m hugely looking forward to it!  It’ll be great to meet fans and friends, and I know it’s an incredibly beautiful country.  I can’t wait!”

Another star joining the stacked line-up is the Canadian guitar virtuoso Nick Johnston.  Known for his catchy, melody-driven instrumental music Nick has been able to carve out his own unique style within a crowded landscape of instrumental guitarists.  Nick’s playing has attracted sponsorship from massive international brands including Friedman Amps, D’Addario and Schecter Guitars.  Also on board this year, we welcome world-renowned guitarist Alex Hutchings (UK), a modern fusion guitarist par extraordinaire, lauded by many as one of the finest players in the genre.  His international following has exploded in recent years thanks to millions of YouTube views via both his own channel and JamTrackCentral (alongside such contemporaries such as Guthrie Govan, Andy James and Jack Thammerat). Regularly touring around the globe, Alex performs under his own name and as an international demonstrator for BOSS/Roland.

Drawing over 5,500 guitar lovers and enthusiasts to last year’s exhibit, the Melbourne Guitar Show is gearing up for the biggest event yet.  The voice of the Australian music products industry, the Australian Music Association (AMA) will be teaming up with Australianmusician.com.au and presenting sponsors Triple M and Aon to present this year’s guitar-centric weekend.  “We are looking forward to a show this year that builds steadily based on the merit and popularity of the first two and on the presentation of the best people we can find”, says AMA executive officer and MGS organiser, Rob Walker.  Not only will the 2017 MGS provide a hands-on chance to see, hear and play a broad range of the world’s favourite brands, it will also see exhibitors offering great show deals, plus an opportunity to get close to some hand-crafted, locally made instruments and epic guitar and gear collections.  Describing the exciting developments, Rob continues, “We will have more exhibitors this year, as well as bigger stand presentations by many brands.  We are in discussions with an increasing list of players who want to be a part of it, so we are sure this show will provide great value for guitar enthusiasts once again.”

The first artist line up announcement includes: Steve Hackett (UK), Nick Johnston (Canada), Alex Hutchings (UK), Lloyd Spiegel, Nick Charles, Bob Spencer, Shannon Bourne, Lloyd Spiegel, James Ryan and many more to be announced over the coming weeks.

The Melbourne Guitar Show will be held at Caulfield Racecourse on August 5 and 6.  

Tickets are on sale now!

Online ticket prices when pre-ordered:: Adult day pass $20, adult weekend pass $30, family day pass  $35, concession day pass $10, concession weekend pass $15, premium ticket** $40

**Premium tickets include admission to Steve Hackett show – limited tickets available







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