Today's Elevenses Throws Eleven Quick Questions At 'Italian Master' Daniele Gottardo!

Daniele Gottardo took up guitar at the age of 14. His dedication to the instrument has won him many musical accolades and prestigious gigs with top pop singer, Alexia. His astonishing two-handed technique, dripping with heart felt emotion, has made him a highly sought after clinician and magazine writer. High quality instructional DVDs feature his trade mark incendiary licks, and now Daniel is set to release his awesome debut CD, Frenzy Of Ecstacy.

So what’s your drink of choice at 11am in the morning?

To be honest, I usually still sleep until 11 am. Generally I take a cold tea or fruit juice.☺

Which song/album really made you want to play guitar?

When I began to play guitar I loved Kiss, especially “Let me know rock’n roll” - this was my favourite one. Then “Black Star” by Yngwie seduced me and so I passed to the neoclassical style. It was slow growing and it took at least three years before I understood that I really wanted to play guitar seriously and I think that this is the right way to do it.

Who’s your favourite guitarist ‘at the moment’?

As Scott Henderson says, it’s wrong to have only one favourite guitarist, because you are then inclined to play similar to him, so the best is to have several guitar players and then take the one that you really like. For me, Scott is for sure one of these, his timing, phrasing and touch is at maximum level - there are a lot of things that you can learn from him. Another guitarist that influenced me a lot is Malmsteen, he has the best bending from my point of view and a lot of passion too. You make a mistake if you hit only his speed! Lately, I very much like the French guitarist Bireli Lagrene, he has incredible phrasing and a lot of fantasy. It is very important to listen to the guitarists of the past, so you can get an idea of how the phrasing has developed over time. With regards to Jazz, I admire Charlie Christian, who starts with the most evolute Jazz, and also Wes Montgomery and George Benson. Also Pat Metheny inspires me a lot as regards phrasing, composition and sound. He is a giant, I think musically he is one of the most complete. John Scofield is also a master and I like his phrasing – out and acid.

The whole ‘Guitar Idol’ experience must have been pretty cool?

It was a nice experience to meet guitarists who devote themselves to the guitar, as I do. Furthermore to play my own music on the beautiful stage at LIMS was so gratifying, I hope to come back again in a near future!
I had a great time, even if it was a bit tiring as I’m not accustomed to the underground but then I was happy because we found a good Italian restaurant very closed to my Hotel ( by the way Y. Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert and all their friends were sitting behind our table and had a lot of fun!) I was also very happy with my outcome.

Daniele came 3rd - check him out and all the other finalists at:

So what are you up to at the moment?

Now I’m studying a lot, what I often do is to listen to the above mentioned guitarists and try to understand what they do to play so nicely. I think that transcriptions and analysis are essential, considering that all the best musicians made it like this. The problem now is that by using the Internet it is very easy to find a lot of educational material and to study a lot of things, but this in not enough, this is only a starting point! This is one of the reasons that a lot of guitarists play scholastic. It is very difficult not to be swindled by this trap and often I fall into it! I’m writing new pieces where I apply newly learned things. I also will be on tour with Alexia. Also this teaches you… the less notes you play the better it is, but the problem is that if you play less notes, these ones must all be perfect!

I am also engaged with MMI, a new didactic reality in Italy, with the collaboration of Frank Gambale and a valid program. (

I also are preparing a new didactic DVD on shredding (from Metal to Jazz). My first didactic Video was on Tapping (
I have also just finished my first instrumental CD. I hope that someone will like it?

You are influenced by everything from the high romantic composers, to jazz fusion through to shred and metal – does this help to explain your exquisite and unique style of playing?
Who would be in your dream line-up?

Oh thank you a lot! For sure, the high romantic composers and the ones from the first nine hundred years are for me of great inspiration. My absolute preferred composer is Arnold Schoenberg, every day for many years I have studied his harmony and composition manuals. I wrote for an Italian magazine (AXEMAGAZINE) a didactic lesson about him (Arnold 4ever is the title :)). He is famous for the dodecaphonic system and at my age he had already composed fantastic tonal music ! I love also Wagner, Mahler, Chaickovsky Bartok: Generally, chromatic music is of great inspiration, very funny and expressive. I like also nu-metal a lot, bands as Linkin Park, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Nightwish - so to counterbalance my jazz listening. There are a lot of metal bands like Lamb of God and so on, unlike the above mentioned ones, that for me, play kind of senseless - not a good example for young musicians!!
All of these aspects I try to merge together and you can hear this in my disc. It was very hard to play some very complicated chords with distorsion, therefore I’ve had to divide the chord between different instruments so to have a clean sound. I tried to include pieces quite stylisticly different but with a constant theme….” The semitone “.

Vocals: Iskra Menarini
Keyboards: Giovanni Allevi
Drums: Gavin Harrison
Guitar 1: Daniele Gottardo
Guitar 2: Steve Vai or Paul Gilbert (rhythm guitar!)
Bass Guitar: Richard Bona

I also must say that I have no complaints about the boys who play with me!

How many guitars do your own and which one is ‘your precious’?

I really do not have a lot of guitars. I’ve a 7string which I use for playing rhythm. 7 strings are too much for me, I must first learn to play my best on the 6 strings…it will be never-ending work… they should have made it with 5strings only! I have two handcrafted guitars and the red Fender Stratocaster which I played at Guitar Idol. I don’t like to change my instrument because I need time to get used to the fingerboard of a guitar. I try to pull at it and since I saw Andrea Braido playing (one of the greatest Italian guitarist, please listen to him) I don’t use the vibrato hand lever anymore.

So you’re stranded all alone on a desert island but amazingly there’s a bar, a stereo and some electricity – what 3 albums do you want to find on top of that stereo?

I would prefer to find some compilations!

One compilation of Romantic music which should contain my favourite piece “Verkarte Nacht” of Arnold Schoenberg , “Tristan” by Wagner, “Teen Symphnony” by Mahler,” Miracolous Manarin” by Bartok etc

Another compilation of my own best pieces and a compilation of a mix of fusion and rock.

OK, if possible, put these six guitar players in order of preference – Pat Metheny, Joe Satriani, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Stanley Jordan, Steve Vai and Jason Becker…

1. Yngwie J. Malmsteen
2. Pat Metheny
3. Steve Vai
4. Stanley Jordan
5. Joe Satriani
6. Jason Becker

So what’s your drink of choice at 11pm in the evening?

…I do not drink any alcohol. Therefore I drink fruit juice or tea.☺

Interview: August 2008