Need a riff to get heads banging? How bout an ambient soundscape to spark listeners imaginations? Or maybe just a nice mellow bass line? Whatever flavor your song needs, I can bring the spice!
I’m a 22 year old guitarist from Oklahoma. I have been playing guitar and bass for the last 13 years, and semi-professionally for the last 8. My passion has always been studio work! I have spent 10,000+ hours in my studio, working towards being able to provide the best work I possibly can, no matter the genre.
I specialize in riff writing, textural layers, and generally anything asked of me in studio. I’ve spent a lot of time honing in my playing style in blues, rock, R&B, country, and folk genres, and continue to broaden my skills to any and all genres.
The services I can provide are:
Rhythm Guitar Tracking/Writing
Lead Guitar Tracking/Writing
Riff Writing for your song
Adding textural layers to give depth to your music
Ambient guitar soundscapes
Bass Guitar Tracking/Writing
Song structure consultation
Guitar Lessons (Skype or Facetime)
Tone Building Lessons (I will work with you to help you learn how to dial in your perfect guitar tone!)
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
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Interview with John Ester
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently doing Skype guitar lessons for the most part. I haven't had any new session work come up lately so it's given me some time to work on a couple other ventures I've been wanting to start!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: For me it depends on the situation and what you can afford. I use strictly Digital equipment at the moment. The sole reason for that is because it's what I can afford at this time. I also think that in 2020, most digital gear/software is fairly on par with analog hardware. I personally use a Fractal Audio Axe FX for almost all of my guitar tones, and I'm very pleased with how it sounds. I spent years chasing the perfect tone, and almost went bankrupt doing so! But with digital gear, I feel like I get more flexibility for the money. Of course, I'd love to own dozens of tube amps and analog outboard gear, but I'm perfectly happy with what I have, at least until I can afford more! Hahaha
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Meeting people is by far my favorite part. I've always had an interest in people and finding out what makes them tick. Music is one of the deepest emotional windows into someone's personality and I always feel honored to be a part of making that a reality for them.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I am here to provide a service toy YOU. Don't be afraid to tell me what you don't like about what I tracked, or what you would like changed. At the end of the day, it's your name on the song, so make sure it's something you love.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing guitar when I was 9 years old. I spent the first several years playing in various Christian Rock bands and church worship bands. When I was 11 I took over leadership duties for the music program in my church's youth center, my church had a regular attendance of 300-400 people, and the youth averaged 100 people from 6th-12th grade. While working there, I learned how to operate live sound equipment and how to mix and EQ live instruments. When I was 16 I started learning how to record myself in a DAW, starting with Garageband. I quickly mastered that and moved to Logic Pro shortly after. I then spent several years tirelessly working on improving my playing and recording skills, as my dream has always been to be a session guitarist. I started working with local artists, learning how to work with clients and providing a service that they will be pleased with. In 2017 I joined my first band. In the two years that we were active we played shows extensively, winning the Oklahoma Battle of the Bands at the historical Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa. We later released an EP. That band disbanded in early 2019, and I spent the rest of 2019 doing session work for small time singer-songwriters and various solo artists, and continue to do so today.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: People skills. I've always had a passion for people and working close with clients to help them feel comfortable working with me. I believe that if you are kind and understanding, people will be more likely to work with you to help you understand what exactly they are looking for in a session. In the past when I first started, and I wasn't as comfortable with people, I noticed my clients were much more vague about their expectations; "Just do your thing" or "I trust you to do what you think is best". But once I learned how to use my personality to ease the artist into the process, they felt much more comfortable with being specific and helping me bring them exactly what they are looking for.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Is there any specific effects or anything you want me to use? Or a specific feel/vibe you want. I want to get into your mindset and perspective so I can create something that makes you feel right.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Bluesy RnB, Modern Metal, Blues Rock, Progressive Rock
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: When I finish a project, I can guarantee that it is the best I could produce with my abilities and knowledge. And I will never put in less than 100% effort to make your song the best I possibly can with my abilities and knowledge, because that's what I would want if I was hiring a session player.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Music Man Cutlass, Mesa Boogie Lonestar, BK Butler Tube Driver, Fulltone SS Tape Echo, Cables.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Melodic. I've never had an interest to listen to or play shreddy guitar solos or anything like that. In the 13 years I've been playing, I've always focused on melody and serving the song. My philosophy is "The goal is to invoke emotion. And I'd rather make someone feel a wave of emotion from one note than feel nothing from 1000 notes"
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Melody, emotion, and feeling.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I work from my home, and have a fairly minimal setup compared to a lot of session guitarists. I have a 2019 Apple iMac 27" where I run my DAW of choice, Logic Pro X. I use a Universal Audio Apollo Twin Quad MkII as my interface and monitor controller, and a pair of Yamaha HS7's as my monitors. 85-90% of my guitar tones come from a Fractal Audio Axe FX II XL+. I do have a few tube amps that I love to use when I need that organic feel. An Orange Thunderverb 50 head, a Supro Thunderbolt 1x15 cpombo, and a Fender Hot Rod Deville 2x12 combo. Most of the time I run those through a few different cabs; And Orange PPC212 w/ Celestion V30's, a Dr. Z Backline 2x12 (has a convertible open or closed back) with a Celestion Creambacks, and an Avatar Closed back 2x12 with Celestion Greenbacks. I mic these up with a combination of a Shure SM57, Sennheiser E609, and an AKG C214. As far as guitars, my main guitar I use on 90% of my projects is a Music Man Cutlass which is basically a very modern Stratocaster. I also have a Gibson Les Paul Standard with Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers, a PRS USA Custom 24, and a Telecaster I hand built that has a Mahogany Body, Maple neck, and Gibson P90 Pickups, I use that for Slide.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: My biggest inspirations are Andy Timmons, David Maxim Micic, and Tim Pierce. Andy Timmons was the first guitarist I heard that truly "served the song". It's through huim that I learned the importance of dynamics, phrasing, and tasteful soloing. David Maxim Micic has always captivated my mind through his ability to create beautiful soundscapes and textures and catchy riffs while maintaining simplicity. He showed me that your music doesn't have to be complex or difficult for it to sound amazing.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The most common is an artist sends me their song with everything already tracked, and I will overdub their rhythm tracks if they requested that, or I add guitar layers to thicken up dull sounding sections and increase dynamic depth of the overall song. For simpler songs, like acoustic singer songwriter tracks, I sculpt ambient guitar tones to give a wider, softer feel, similar to using synth pads, but with guitar instead of keys.