The Harmonia Cordis Association says Welcome!
Tommy EMMANUEL



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Tommy Emmanuel, one of Australia’s foremost instrumentalists, stated in his Epic Records press release: “To me, music is something that is beautiful and positive. If I can pass that torch on to others, then I’m happy.” This extraordinary guitarist has attained world renown status, and at 43 years old, is already considered a legend. “To say I’m blessed would be an understatement,” he stated in his biography on the Sony Music Artist Info website. “Half the time I’m waiting for someone to pinch me and wake me up from this dream.”

William Thomas Emmanuel was born on May 31, 1955 at Muswellbrook, New South Wales, Australia. Emmanuel first started playing at the age of four. The first guitar tune that he learned was Arthur Smith’s “Guitar Boogie.” In 1960 he started his first band called The Emmanuel Quartet. It was a family affair, with Tommy on rhythm guitar, Phil on lead guitar, Chris on drums, and Virginia on Hawaiian steel guitar. He and his wife Jane have a daughter named Amanda, and he still performs with his brother Phil.

As a young boy, Tommy practiced an average of 16 hours a day, sometimes in pubs. Early in his career, it was evident that he was very ambitious. He has worked with many renown artists in the music industry and has composed and arranged many successful songs. His musical versatility is evident in the different types of musical styles he’s played; jazz, rock and roll, bluegrass, country, and even classical. “I never shy away from a word like ‘pop’, Frank Sinatra is a pop singer, he sings popular music,” stated Emmanuel in his online biography. “Bach was a pop composer, and yes, I’m a pop guitar player. I have roots in all sorts of different styles of music, and I’m able to draw on all of that. At the end of the day, the thing that pulls it all together is my sense of melody.”

Emmanuel was inspired by the great American guitarists Chet Atkins and Hank B. Marvin of The Shadows. Emmanuel stated in his biography, “I heard a track of [Atkins’] on the radio and did a total backflip. That lovely fingerpicking led to my picking up the guitar. When I was in my mid-teens, I sent Chet a fan letter and he wrote me back—I’ve still got his letter. In the early ’80s, I went to Nashville for the sole purpose of meeting him.” Later on in his career, Emmanuel and Atkins turned out to be a successful pair that often performed together. John Anderson from Newsday stated, “Emmanuel professes a lifelong passion for Atkins’ playing, and he obviously has studied it, because it’s hard to tell where the teacher stops and the student starts. They play seamlessly, with a great deal of humor.”

Another strong influence in Emmanuel’s successful career has been the Maton Guitar. It is made by Maton, a Melbourne company in Australia. The model MS500 solid body was Emmanuel’s first Maton, and he started playing it at the age of six. It is his instrument of choice and he owns about eight of them. In June 1988, he was playing a Takamine guitar. At that time, the owner of the company approached him and asked if they could develop a model that met his high playing standards. Emmanuel agreed and the company soon produced the T/E Artist & Signature guitar. This model features Emmanuel’s signature engraved into the fingerboard. It is estimated that over 500 have been made. Today, Emmanuel acts as a consultant to the company to ensure the model guitar maintains its high degree of sound quality and payability.