One of the ACE guitarists in 
the chicago music scene,
enchanted by Yajima String 
Works' TSUBASA, Joe Becker 
is now using our guitar as his 
main axe for recording studio 
and session works.

From Guitar Player Magazine:
Joe Becker began playing at age 
four, and later was dubbed a child 
prodigy after appearing multiple 
times on Jonathan Brandmier's 
radio show at ages seven, eight, 
and nine.

After years of honing his skills, 
Becker was invited in 2002 to 
contribute a track to Jason Becker's 
tribute album, and made waves the 
following year for his instructional 
CD Shred 101. In 2004 Becker 
provided some soundtrack music for 
the indie horror film Evil Awakening.

      Photo Courtesy : Dave J. Hall
Click here for music posters
Becker is a very versatile and lyrical 
player who runs the gauntlet from shred
to ear-catching, melodic instrumentals, 
at times bringing to mind players such
as Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson.
MIKE VARNEY - [CEO Shrapnel Records, 
Tone Center and Blues Bureau]

This interview was conducted on April 13th, 2005
at the House Of Blues Hotel in Chicago, IL.

YSW  At age seven, you had already been considered a guitar prodigy. 
How was it possible to develop your skills so fast?
Joe I dunno.  I never really thought the term, "child prodigy" was appropriate.
 I'd be honored if [at best] people just called me, "talented".  Yeah, I played
a lot and could play things guys who'd been playing for 30 years or more
couldn't.....but I guess it's always just boiled down to having a better ear,
good physical response and a reasonable amount of creativity.  Ha ha ha. 
That kind of takes the magic out of it, doesn't it.....
YSW You have a track on the Jason Becker Tribute Vol II.
Tell us about that project.
Joe Since Jason's going to read this interview,
Man, Jason is the epidomy of guitar genius to me.  When I recorded the title
track for that album I kind of wanted to go, "old school" with the whole
neoclassical thing and at the same time express my sadness for his position,
and I think those two things come across pretty well.  He's the man, though. 
Totally cool and extremely ripping to the point of insanity.  Anyone reading
this needs to visit his website :

(Note: Shrapnel Records released Jason's second, "Jams" album in 2003.  
Joe was mentioned and also pictured in the album insert)

YSW As a professional guitarist, luthier, and product consultant yourself, please
tell us about your Tsubasa.
Joe Well, mine is a Custom model so it's slightly different from
the Standard model. But this guitar is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!! 
Man, I've owned ALOT of guitars, and this thing
is NICE.  The craftsmanship is insaine. 
I can't stress that enough.
YSW What do you like most about your Tsubasa?
Joe There are two things.  It's tone and how comfortable it is.  I don't know if the
tone is a combination of the bolt-on horn body and the pickups, or what.....
but it's just a monster.  Oh yeah.....and it's REALLY pretty, too.  Pictures
simply don't do it justice.
YSW You are a very versatile player and can play in so many different styles.
Which playing style is "True" you?
Joe WOW.  That's really hard to answer.  I'd have to say Blues, but in an 
Ed Van Halen sort of know....just pushing it beyond in a more free, 
slightly hyper direction.  I suppose a better [yet broader] answer would be 
fusion, as I tend to apply techniques to styles that don't normally apply.
YSW Tell us about your solo album "Warped Sense"
Joe Alot of weird stuff on that album.  You know, I had stopped playing for a 
few years until my first son was born.  I wanted to write him a lullabye 
and that really got me playing again.  That lullabye is on the album as well as 
a lot of other stuff I recorded immediately after that just to have in my 
archives.  So it's a mix of demos and pro recordings I'd made while establishing 
my studio.  There's some shred, bluegrass, blues, classical, Hawaiian Slack-Key...
.all kinds of cool stuff there.  We got so many emails from the website from 
people begging for a release we really had no choice but to put it out.
YSW A surprise to all of us, the recent album you were on, "Voices In My Head"
was not a guitar album. It consists of experimental and electronic music 
ranging from ambient to free jazz to just plain noise.  What was your concept 
contributing to this album?
Joe The track on that album was actually the same one featured on the movie,
"Evil Awakening". 
That track is blues, but it's kind of like evil blues fused with orchestra
[even though it's all guitars].  It's very, "Zappa" sounding.  Alot of people say
I sound like I might be influenced by guys like Zappa and Vai, but really if I'm
influenced by them at all it's by how open I am creatively.

YSW Your uncle Joe Kelly was the lead guitarist for the Shadows Of The Knight,
famous for the hit, "G-L-O-R-I-A".  Did you take alot of pointers from him
while learning to play?
Joe None.  As a matter of fact, I only met him a couple times. 
YSW You also grew up spending time with John Belushi's
(Blues Brothers / Saturday Night Live) mother Agnes.  Did you receive any
musical direction during that time?
Joe Well, John was already long passed when our families shared holidays and such. 
So, huge influence - same as everybody else - but not much past that. 
I will tell you it was kind of cool being at Agnes' house and walking past all the
Blue Brothers gold records on the wall every time you went to the bathroom. 

YSW Plans for the future?
Joe Keep rockin' with my Tsubasa, man!  Maybe after I finish the new album I'll do
some guitar clinics for release on DVD.  And I'll probably be hitting NAMM 
this July.  Other than that, stay tuned to my website.

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