We're songwriters from Singapore.
We're married to each other.
E plays DADGAD acoustic guitar.
Our Christian faith is the theme of our art.
Since 2012, we've released 3 albums.
The 3rd is "10" - a 2 part album recorded live.
We've made it available on Youtube/podcast audio.
Because no one owns CD players anymore.
We also play our music at Christian venues and public places.
Sometimes we make short documentaries.
Sometimes we give long talks on worship music.
But all the time, we hope our songs share the beauty of Christ as winsomely as as possible.
For concert / ministry enquiries, do message us through the "Contact Us" section.
We'd love to hear from you :)
I picked up guitar in school when I was 14.
It was a black Japanese Fender Strat. With it my friends and I formed a garage band playing 3 chord indie covers and originals.
At 21, I started playing exclusively acoustic in standard tuning (EADGBE) - mostly worship songs for Bible study groups and in church bands.
In 1996, I bought my 1st serious acoustic guitar - a Maton ECW80 purchased in Sydney during our honeymoon.
Then in 1998, a kind gent sold me the Lowden O10 that I've been playing until today. I was just so drawn to the open-ness of its jumbo cedar top.
As a self-taught guitarist, my playing stagnated until 2006 where I seized the chance to take classical guitar lessons from Alvaro Sanchez. I remember Alvaro's words to me when I auditioned to be his student:
"I can see you have talent, but you need to start from zero !"
So from 2006 to 2008, I started from zero. For the next 2.5 years, I played nothing but classical guitar pieces beginning with Lagrima before graduating to tunes like Leyenda.
During that period, I set aside my steel string for a trusty a nylon student classical guitar (Jose Ramirez Estudio). Alvaro was kind enough to offer personal weekly lessons at his apartment next to Bukit Timah Hill. The lesson plan was straightforward enough. Just learn a piece of music a week. And I only need to attend 12-16 lessons a year.
There's only 1 catch: I had to play each piece taught to me every single day.
So by the end of year 1, I would have accumulated a repertoire of 12 pieces. And I practised them daily.
Every single piece.
Every single day.
At the start of year 2, we met again to resume my training. I felt confident about my playing and was eager to show my teacher the progress I made. I played. He listened, and then patiently said:
“I can see you have improved. Now you are ready to learn !”
Eventually Alvaro had to fly home overseas. So we parted ways. I always remember my time with him with fondness and gratitude. His lessons strengthen my hands and gave me technique I never had before. Thank you so much dear Alvaro!
Around 2009, I came back to steel string acoustic guitar, and started writing songs again. After my time with the classical guitar, I explored steel-string finger-style, and experimented with percussive DADGAD when Andy McKee (Drifting) and the CandyRat players exploded on Youtube.
But it wasn't the impressive showcase dexterity of those players that made DADGAD my preferred tuning. It was the fact that ML's vocal key center was in D. So having that dropped D bass gave us interesting songwriting possibilities.
When ML and I recorded Paperscapes in 2012, half of the songs in that album were written and performed in DADGAD, with the other half in standard tuning. But I was still very much a novice DADGAD player, limited to memorising chord shapes.
I guess I fully transitioned to DADGAD sometime in 2014. I had been attempting Pierre Bensusan pieces. They were painfully beautiful, Because it's impossible to play them without stretching 5-6 fret for chord voicings. Most of all, Bensusan's music exemplified the best of DADGAD arrangement.
2017 was when ML and I wrote and performed all our music in DADGAD. That covers everything from our 2nd album Twelve Windows to our latest album “10”. I'd also weaned off percussive guitar as my Lowden was getting quite beat up and I want to play it as long as I can!
Now DADGAD is my default tuning. I love it and am learning new things constantly.
Lately, I've been thinking about teaching DADGAD guitar, and sharing how I made sense of it after an initial period of struggle.
At first, I recall simply playing chord shapes and finger positions. Then later adding ornaments like trills and harmonics. But I think to grow as a player, you'll need a working knowledge of music theory to break-down the fretboard in triads, arpeggios, inversions, scales and modes. Each a map having its own distinct pathways, but all interconnected and layering one on top of the other.
That's how you tame the instrument to make music you intend for it.
In time to come, I hope to relate more about what I've discovered about this very fascinating tuning.
Hope to have plenty of such conversations on this topic. Until then, take care!