Acoustic Guitarist
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Eric Elias--Multi Instrumentalist

Acoustic Guitarist

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Eric began playing the Appalachian dulcimer at age 11 and graduated to the guitar by age 12 ($30 Sears acoustic). Like most kids, Eric was itching to get his hands on an electric guitar and even though his first electric came a year later (a Norma from a yard sale $12), Eric still maintained a passion for the acoustic and classical guitars through high school. Eric studied classical guitar with Lawrence Johnson while attending Roberts Wesleyan College during the mid 80's while earning a B.S. in social sciences. At this time Eric also performed with jazz, gospel, folk and fusion groups (touring England with the band Ignition), but never lost interest in the acoustic guitar.

This passion was further kindled while attending Bucknell University (for a masters in educational psychology) and studying guitar with David Cullen. It was here at Bucknell that Eric began to compose solo acoustic guitar pieces and experiment with open tuning. He also began playing the banjo, mandolin and dulcimer again. Eric continued to hone his skills there while performing with various groups and as a solo artist.

When Eric returned home to Rochester, NY in the summer of 1990 he continued composing for the guitar and performing with a jazz group and as a solo guitarist. Eric performed throughout the Eastern US and Canada focusing on his acoustic guitar playing and jazz skills. A highlight of Eric's Career was getting to perform live with Phil Keaggy for a show in 1992.

Now living in New England, Eric continues to perform as a solo guitarist (everything from finger style folk to jazz, classical and Brazilian pieces) on both his steel and nylon string guitars. Eric has also begun to merge his two musical personalities (electric jazz guitar and solo acoustic guitar) by playing acoustic guitar with his jazz trio and adding many of his solo pieces into the groups repertoire. Eric has expressed that the blend is exactly what he was looking for. It seems that Eric's work is starting to pay off. Several of his pieces have been used for local and national television programs and have been recorded by other artists. In the summer of 2000 Eric was nominated by the Hartford Advocate (Hartfords weekly entertainment mag) as one of Hartfords best solo performers.

Eric's interest in music in general has led to his tinkering with anything that he can make noise on. Eric has studied piano, banjo, mandolin, saxophone (alto and tenor), percussion, hammer dulcimer and messes around on accordion, flute, penny whistle and harmonica. He has utilized many of these instruments in performances and recordings with several of the bands he has played in.

Eric has also built the pick ups for his banjo, mandolin and upright bass. Eric says, "People frequently comment on how they like my mandolin, banjo and bass sound and often ask me whose pick ups I'm using. When I tell them that I made them for under $10 in parts they are amazed."


Slap/funk acoustic guitar, Northampton, MA

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With acoustic guitar wizzard, Preston Reed, summer 2000.

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