Backstage with...Trace Bundy

Updated: 11 Nov 2013

American fingerstyle guitarist, Trace Bundy chats with Su Aziz about his greatest secret when it comes to playing the guitar and songs he listens to on his drive home.

Trace Bundy is not only a known fingerstyle guitarist but the 36-year old is also happily married and a proud father to a 3-year old son named Sawyer.

How long ago since you first bought your first acoustic guitar (the one you shared with your brother)?
Sadly, I have no idea where that guitar is now. I was ten years old when I bought it, so that was 26 years ago. My brother and I paid only $10 for it. That was where it all started.

Today, what’s your favourite guitar?
I own about five high-end guitars. As for my favorite, it’s difficult to choose one because each guitar has different sentimental value. My first 'good' guitar was a Taylor that I still play, so it’s the guitar I wrote my first album on. It has an important place in my heart. My other guitars are custom McPherson and custom Breedlove. Each one is unique and incredible. Hard to choose!

Please complete the sentence: To you, an acoustic guitar is…
An acoustic guitar is a drum kit, a piano, a bell, an organ and a violin. I love how one can make an acoustic guitar sound like so many other instruments, just by playing it in a unique way. I believe it is the most versatile instrument in the world.

How would you describe your music?
I always find it hard to describe my music. On my website, it says: 'Trace Bundy puts on an unforgettable concert experience, known for his innovative, percussive, harmonics, multiple-capos, looping, two-hands-on-the-fretboard kind of playing, mixed with a lot of witty banter'.

Besides the guitar, what other musical instruments do you play?
I play the banjo, mandolin, and ukulele some. I haven’t pursued playing other instruments very much, mostly because I love the guitar so much. I’ve had fun with the ukulele and wrote a song using one on my last album. We own a piano and I try to play around on it some. I also play some percussion instruments.

In not more than 10 words, please describe the journey to get to where you are now as a musician.
Years of dedication and hard work, but keeping it fun all along!

And the biggest challenge for you as a musician today is...
The biggest challenge for me right now is being apart from my family when I travel. I always miss them. I think I tour too much!

Your greatest achievement to date has been…
The thing I’m most proud of is becoming a father. Of course I’m proud of my albums, my world tours, dedicated fanbase, etc. - but the most important thing in my life has been meeting my son.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you change?
I’m not sure I’d change anything. I hope to be a person who is always content, no matter the circumstances. I feel immensely blessed for the life I’ve been given.

What’s the greatest secret you’ve discovered in terms of playing the guitar?
I’ve discovered that it is important to always try to enjoy the guitar – learn how to play some songs that you love! It sounds too simple, but the times when I felt the most bored of the guitar are the times when I didn’t have any new fun songs to work on. Learning music theory and proper technique are important, but if you don’t make it fun, you will lose interest!

While driving or at home, who do you listen to?
It depends. I listen to almost anything from oldies to Pink Floyd to indie rock to the Beatles. I’m currently teaching my son to love the Beatles – he’s always singing 'Yellow Submarine'.

What are the three things most people don’t know about Trace Bundy?
I studied Engineering in University, got my Masters degree and taught for two years at the University of Colorado before doing music full-time. I was 'Professor Bundy'. Before that I was a rock climbing instructor and outdoor guide for many years. Also, I grew up with a pet goat named Buddy. He went hiking with us and would often climb on top of our guests’ cars.

What’s your pet peeve?
Hmm…probably people who are unkind. I travel a lot to different cities and venues, and when someone is unkind, it frustrates me. There is no reason to be unkind to another person, especially someone you don’t know.

Besides great music and a guaranteed mesmerising live performance, what surprises can expect from you during your show in Penang on Nov 16?
Well, I won’t reveal my surprises [smiles]. During my live shows, I like to tell a lot of stories about my life and about my songs. My hope is that people leave with a smile on their faces.

What are you looking forward to when in Penang? 
I’ve never been to Penang – my brother visited last year and had a wonderful time, so I look forward to experiencing it for myself. I am most looking forward to the delicious food. In the US, there is a dish that I love called Penang Curry – I wonder if it originates there?

Catch American fingerstyle guitarist, Trace Bundy perform live on Nov 16 at Wawasan Open University. For more on this event, see listing. Alternatively, you can follow Trace Bundy's latest updates here.

Tags: Features