Review Scene: 2018 Melbourne Guitar Show, Caulfield Racecourse 4th & 5th August 2018

Double Bass Tattoo
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Upon walking into the Melbourne Guitar Show this year the first thing I noticed was a sign saying “first 15 minutes of each hour was quiet time”. What a fantastic idea, but it could have been longer. Well done to the organizers.

The ground floor consisted mainly of exhibitors promoting electric guitars and basses and also the amps and devices that go with it. I don’t know how someone can evaluate a guitar sound when it’s so distorted and processed? And then you have the ones who were going for the guitar Olympics! (But knocked over every hurdle in sight).

Luthier Frank Grubisa
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Sunburst Music had some great vintage and new relic ed guitars on display. It was also great to see Australian guitar builders Frank Grubisa and Charles Cilia (no relation) displaying their instruments, world class.

The layout this year was much better, especially with the way the stages were laid out. It made for a much better vantage point for more people to see and hear what was actually going on.

The mezzanine level was designated to acoustic guitars and related products. I was very impressed with the amount of local guitar builders presenting their wares. On the acoustic stage were some great pickers, I particularly enjoyed Nick Charles, Peter Baylor and Jeff Lang. Some of the acoustic players
had pedal boards and electronic effects which technically makes them electric! I think a bit of reverb is fine but other than that it’s pushing the acoustic envelope.

Albert Lee
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The main stage, The AON Whammy Bar, was where the bands were to be seen. Albert Lee being the main draw card on the Saturday. Albert is an absolute legend, I mean there’s even an Albert Lee guitar style. His band consisted of two players from his USA band and the drummer from his UK band. It was well worth seeing although the sound wasn’t the best for his set.

Shannon Bourne featured on Sunday with an eclectic set of original solo electric guitar compositions.

Click for the full day 1 gallery

It was also good to see a positive female content this year, Nat Allison put on a great rock show with well rehearsed and thought out songs and arrangements. Alison Ferrier played a rootsy / rocky set featuring Jeff Lang on guitar.

Author Wadih Hanna
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The surprise for me was the all girl Rackett who played a very enjoyable set of energic songs, great to see. Guitar music is alive and well.

There’s a new book featuring 400 pages of Maton guitars called “Made In Australia: My Maton Collection”, a labour of love by Wadih Hanna. Well worth a look. Great to see more Australian content.

I’m sure I missed some great things but just couldn’t do it all.

Until next time…

About Martin Cilia 85 Articles
Martin is an Australian guitarist and vintage guitar collector. Apart from his solo work he is a member of The Atlantics, Dave Warner’s From the Suburbs and is currently guitarist in Mental As Anything.


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