Ricky Z.

Session Guitarist All Styles

Ricky Z. on SoundBetter

Have a great tune, but you need high quality, effective, style appropriate guitars? I'd love to help you realize your dream. Working with everyone from Steven Tyler to Josh Groban, this is exactly what I've been doing for decades. Creative, punchy, melodic, sonically exceptional, interesting guitar parts recorded pristinely to best serve your song!

Grammy winning session/touring guitarist/producer Ricky Z. has recorded and/or played live with Josh Groban, Steven Tyler, Harry Nilsson, Jessica Simpson, John Fogerty, K-Ci, Steve Lukather, Nick Lachey, Don Grusin, The Sweet, Beto Cuevas, Vesta Williams, Lauryn Hill, Sheila E., Gary Wright, Paul Anka, Al Stewart, Rick Derringer, All For One, Sophie B. Hawkins, Paulina Rubio, Alejandro Sanz, Michael Buble', Joan Sebastian, Juan Gabriel (2016 Latin Grammy Award “Album of the Year”), Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Thalia, Jose Feliciano, Jenny Rivera, Los Trio, Manuel Quijano, Shaila Durcal, Pepe' Aguilar, Cristian Castro, T.V./Film Composers John Debney, Jonathan Hartmann, Christopher Young, Producers Mark Hudson, Ryan Hewitt, Ross Hogarth, Humberto Gatica, Gustavo Farias, as well as countless commercials for clients such as Walmart, Budweiser, Miller Beer, Coca Cola, etc.

Bill Champlin (Chicago) says "Ricky Z. has more than one style at his fingertips, literally! This guy's got it all! I love this guy!"

L.A. session legend Michael Thompson states: " Ricky Z is one of my all time favorite people and a really simpatico musical cohort. His guitar playing has the perfect balance of taste, tone, and 'tude"......MT

“I’m a big fan of Rick Zahariades, he could play the phone book and never reach a wrong number!!”
David Romano
(Josh Groban/Sarah Brightman).

Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.

Interview with Ricky Z.

  1. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  2. A: What is your vision for this song? What were the influences?

  3. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  4. A: Which is my preference in receiving track format? Individual tracks, stems, or stereo track? My response is: Whichever is easiest for them. I prefer a premixed stereo track, but that might be possible should the artist not be the engineer as well, therefore, we go with whatever suits the client best.

  5. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  6. A: My promise to clients is that I will ALWAYS put the song first, that's what makes for a successful, fulfilling recording experience.

  7. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  8. A: I thoroughly enjoy working with Josh Groban, in particular, a live video from Avatar Studios in New York promoting his "Illuminations" release. At the end of the day, mixing engineer Allen Sides commented that he loved the sound of the guitars and wished they'd sounded that good on the record. :-)

  9. Q: What's your typical work process?

  10. A: I generally listen to a track over a few times, sing along (taking notes), then proceed to start from the bottom up (rhythm parts moving up through melodies and tone/color shaping).

  11. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  12. A: Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Keith Emerson.

  13. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  14. A: Misconceptions... its simply 'plug and play', 'in and out', 'sausage making'. No love!

  15. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  16. A: Ac./El. gtr, amplifier, solar generator, extra strings. :-)

  17. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  18. A: Have a good idea of the foundation for what you're looking for in the song, while still maintaining enough separation to allow the song to grow. When I hire players for my sessions, they are provided charts with basic direction and any particular bits that are specific; the rest comes from them. I look forward to the direction THEY instill in the tune, otherwise, I'd simply play the parts myself, and... where's the fun in that? I love to surprised by what these professionals bring to the song.

  19. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  20. A: Currently, I'm involved with a singer writer from Detroit with my mates Gregg and Matt Bissonette and having a brilliant time. Groovin' and laughing with those guys reminds me why I started doing this as a kid!

  21. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  22. A: As long as there exists quality peripherals in a signal chain, this is a moot point. Digital processing renders all information as 1's and 0's. Digital hears exactly what it is given, therefore, as long as the system is provided with warm, full signals, that's what's going to be heard. So, my advise is to invest in the best sound sources possible which will inevitably produce the sound quality we've come to enjoy and appreciate. Besides, who really wants to mutilate 2" tape with a razor blade anymore? No thank you!!! :-)

  23. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  24. A: I love to help people realize their dreams. Each song is akin to a child to it's composer. To help raise that "child" to fruition and witness the excitement from a songwriter/artist when their expectations of the song are not only met, but surppased brings great fulfillment.

  25. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  26. A: I've been at this joyfully (recording and playing music around the world) for over 25 years.

  27. Q: How would you describe your style?

  28. A: I tend to play Pop music with an emphasis on MUSIC (not just guitar). The goal is to reach people's souls and bring joy/light into an ever complicated world.

  29. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  30. A: I would love to work with Annie Lennox as I admire her spirit, immense talent, musical perspective and humanity (as well as having mates in the band as well).

  31. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  32. A: Always be sure to run guitar tracks through a 'High Pass Filter' to eliminate boomy low end frequencies that can clash with bass instruments.

  33. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  34. A: I tend to work on Pop, Americana, Latin, R&B, Blues, Rock 'n Roll, Country music styles.

  35. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  36. A: My strongest skill is my 'Producer's' rather than 'Guitarist's' approach to tracking a song. Playing music rather than just guitar.

  37. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  38. A: I bring creativity, energy, exceptional sonic variation and an open thought process to help a song shine in it's best form.

  39. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  40. A: I use a compliment/variety of high quality ac./el. stringed instruments, large arsenal of effects devices, through vintage amplifiers into Focusrite/UA Preamps, Avalon Stereo Compressor, through an Apogee Rosetta 200 Converter via Mojave, AKG, Blue microphones.

  41. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  42. A: Record Electric/Acoustic/Bass guitar tracks for clients.

Various Artists

I was the Guitarsist/Bassist and Producer on various samples in this production

GenresSounds Like
  • The Sounds Of Tom Petty
  • Aerosmith
  • U2
Gear Highlights
  • 13 Vintage amplifiers
  • Synergy Preamps
  • over 35 guitars and assorted stringed instruments w/high quality Mojave
  • AKG
  • Blue microphones through Focusrite
  • UA preamps
  • Avalon Compressors and Apogee Converters.
More Photos