In anticipation of the Malibu Guitar Festival, kicking off this week from May 18 - 21, we sat down with Festival performer and acoustic guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel to chat about the week’s festivities, guitars, and much more.

Now in its third year, Malibu Guitar Festival brings together some of the world’s greatest players for four days of all things guitar, along with unique jam sessions, guitar demos, and even a one-of-kind guitar themed art show.

This year’s festival will feature performances from the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, Jamtown with Donavon Frankenreiter, Cisco Adler & G Love, Hunter Hayes, John Hiatt, Steve Vai, Robby Kriger, and, of course, Mr. Emmanuel—just to name a few.  

Like the idea of celebrating the guitar while taking in the picturesque Southern California coastline? You’re in luck—a few tickets are still available. Get yours now at[1].  

Now, let’s check in with Tommy Emmanuel.

Talk about a specific guitar that changed the way you play.
My first good guitar was a Maton Electric solid body guitar, the MS500. I played that guitar up until I got a Telecaster. It was the Fender Telecaster that brought me into a whole different way of playing—more country, more jazz, more blues. For me, the Telecaster was just the ultimate guitar. I could play Johnny “Guitar” Watson funky sounds. I could play Earth, Wind and Fire kind of swanky rhythm things. I could take the treble down and play jazz-sounding tunes. It was a great, great instrument. I'd say the Fender Telecaster changed my life.

Some incredible players are performing at the Malibu Guitar Festival. Can you tell us about the greatest live performance you ever saw?
That's easy! The greatest live performance by a guitar player that I ever

Read more from our friends at Guitar World