Crossover maestro

Crossover maestro
British guitarist John Mills.

SINGAPORE - Guitar enthusiasts are familiar with John Mills as one of the most recognised classical guitar players in Britain and the author of several books on the instrument.

But what many might not know is that he plays the violin too. In fact, some of the 66-year-old's distinctive guitar-playing style comes from the violin.

"I played the violin for several years," he says in a telephone interview from Cardiff.

"I don't really play it much these days, there's not enough time, but the violin is one of my loves because you can sustain a note from it. A guitar, once a note is plucked, it dies; on the violin, you can keep it going on."

Fans of classical guitar music can hear for themselves his distinctive style when he performs at the RELC International Hotel on Wednesday.

His show is part of the 11th International Guitar Festival 2013, which runs from today till Sunday and features other names such as guitarist Berta Rojas from Paraguay and luthiers such as Amalia Ramirez from Spain.

Mills will also conduct masterclasses and private lessons during the festival.

On how playing the violin influenced his guitar playing, he says the way he shifts his left hand along the guitar's fingerboard is similar to the way violinists do it, for example.

"There's also this technique called vibrato where your hand moves side to side and you make the note rise and fall and make it sing.

"I also incorporate some ideas from the bowing, in terms of relaxing and flexing the right wrist and arm, to help with varying the finger action and speed of attack."

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