This is the second chapter of our discovery of the absolutely fantastic Guitar Innovator Felix Marin. I was so pleasantly surprised to have found his playing that we wanted to extend his musical story from last week’s feature. He’s truly the guitarist to watch. I consider him one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear. Now the Guitardoor interview with the Jam Master Felix Marim
What brought you to music and inspired you to be a guitarist?
“Weirdly enough, I can’t think of any particular event. But what I can say is that both my parents used to be working artists: my father was a professional touring and session musician, and my mother was a professional comedian. I imagine that seeing the passion and the art resolving family culture must have played a part!
In a more pragmatic fashion, I’ve been offered by family friends an old classical guitar when I was 12 and fell instantly in love with the object. At the time I was already a huge Beatles fan, so I immediately started to try reproducing what I had in my ears, the little I Feel Fine riff, and so on. And well, spending hours until my teenage ears found it good enough, I guess I started looking for new things to practice daily and then dived into improvisation quite quickly.”
“ I remember seeing the live video of Paul McCartney playing Let it Be in his “Back in the world” tour in 2002. The guitar player, in that particular version, improvises a solo that left me speechless at the time – I’ve seen it a couple of thousand times since then. This probably is what convinced me that being able to play melodically, with freedom on the instrument, and the ability to express effortlessly with what is within would become my drivers as long as I would be able to play.”
Who would you cite as your favorite players and who have been your influences?
Felix “Initially, like most of us I suppose, I was very much into Hendrix, Jimmy Page as well some less lead-oriented players like George Harrison and Pete Townshend. Then I discovered Queen and Brian May and it’s had an immense influence on my early development as a lead player and future guitar innovator recordings.
These days, as I try to push things a little further in terms of technique and harmony knowledge, I admire Guthrie Govan’s work a lot. In my opinion, achieving such mastery of the instrument while being able to keep things under control and remain musical as he is very, very rare and impressive (I am, for instance, in love with his work with Steven Wilson).
I have also been practicing some Eric Johnson tunes (I have not one but two videos of Cliffs of Dover, that’s how much I enjoyed playing this one), and it’s been a big influence on my current picking technique, in particular the attack intensity, and the kind of tone I now play with most of the time.
ERIC JOHNSON – CLIFFS OF DOVER COVER (ON HIS VIRGINIA STRATOCASTER !)
I am also quite a fan of Jeff Beck, I think he has really shown uniqueness in the tone and phrasing, not to mention his beautiful use of the tremolo. But there are so many others, Pat Metheny, Larry Carlton, Frank Gambale, modern players like Matteo Mancuso or Tom Quayle… all those players, in some way, inspire me, whether it is for their ability to vary, make a musical point in their solos, technical abilities, or tone. “
Amazing Sound innovations for guitar Purple Rain (Prince) – Full guitar interpretation by Guitar Innovator Felix Marin
I read About your love for the Stratocaster, tell us About The Guitar?.
“I actually used to be a Gibson kind of player, until quite recently. I owe my love for the Stratocaster to Eric Johnson, as the tone he has in his Live in ACL 1988 seemed really out of this world to me.
Soon after this discovery that occurred about 3 years ago, my brother – a great guitar player by the way – bought himself a Stratocaster, and playing on it, I realized how much I enjoyed the subtleness and expressivity you can add with single coils and using the tremolo in kind of a Jeff Beck fashion. That’s when I decided to start saving for a great Stratocaster, and I found it in the Eric Johnson Virginia model, as it features some things that are important to me and the playing I want to develop (the 12” radius if I had to name only one of them).”
Plugging it for the first time I knew it would be a beautiful love story between us two. I don’t know how Fender did it if it’s because of the wood (they used Sassafras for this model), the size of the neck, or all the building secrets we don’t see, but it has a resonance and a harmonical richness I have never found in any other Stratocaster, even the very high-end Custom Shop I had the opportunity to play.
Given the amount of time I spend with the instrument, there is quite a connection that has been created with this particular guitar, and I just feel at home with it in my hands and feeling its vibrations against me whilst playing. I think that this is when you know you found the right instrument for you.”
Epic Cinematic Guitar Innovator Jam Track in G minor (Jamin Backing Tracks) – Felix Marin
What beyond your personal love of playing, would you like to do with your obvious musical talent?
“Truly honored, thank you so much!”
“I have been a singer and bass player in bands for quite some time, so it’s only recently, about two years ago, that I decided to get more serious about my guitar playing. Seeing how it evolves and that I am just starting to have somewhat of a personal sound, I would like to use this in a personal album with both instrumental and sung tunes. So far, I am struggling a bit to find the balance between my personal practice, trying to write things, the little projects I am involved in as a singer or guitar player here and there, and my full-time job naturally. But I will get there and would consider that a great achievement.
Meanwhile, I am still trying to post things online regularly, as I find it to be a great driver to improve as a player and a source of sometimes amazing interactions with people worldwide.
In parallel, I am currently trying to get comfortable with my voice again, I truly miss singing. I am part of a little funk-rock trio where I sing and play guitar. We are just getting started but it feels great and I look very much forward to doing some gigs as a singer again.
And since I don’t believe in this 24 hours only day thing, I got myself a digital piano and started to learn some songs I enjoy singing. This is work in progress but being able to play 5-6 songs properly in public would be amazing!
Ultimately, I am doing all of this to share with people and use music as the emotional release tool it can be and is for me. Meeting fellow musicians, connecting with an audience, live or online and big or small, and the physical sensations I get by doing those things are the reasons why I am sticking to it, and I have no ambition to make a living from it, even if well … You never know what can happen.”
Do you have any particular words of wisdom to relay to someone just now learning to play the Guitar?
‘Don’t underestimate yourself, and don’t get scared by things you don’t understand right away.@Felix Marim
It’s incredible the things we can discover ourselves able to achieve, whether it’s learning a difficult piece or solo, learning how to apply some harmony concept, simply playing with fellow musicians, and even unlearning habits that get in the way of what we’d want to be doing. Just be kind to yourself, patient, hard-working, eager to discover as many players as you can, and don’t give up when things get tough, you’ll be grateful you didn’t.
In my opinion, it’s also crucial to try to be moving forward all the time, whether it’s about improving a technical aspect of one’s playing, learning how a given scale can be used in a way you’re not used to, … there are many things to be curious about and willing to improve, and in the end, it’s never over. Rather than seeing this fact as demotivating, it is in my opinion what makes learning an instrument great: the learning process will always be there to gratify your work, no matter the point you think you reached.”
“Finally, enjoy yourself, you are moving air and people out of nothing but your own emotions and energy and inanimate things, and it’s an incredible feeling and a wonderful thing to spend time on! So be yourself, share, learn, and play with and for other people … you won’t regret it no matter the level you have. The better you get, the more people you’ll move, including yourself.”