Don Alder, a top endorsee for Yamaha guitars, will be offering a master class guitar clinic and concert at the Snoring Sasquatch on June 21.
Alder plays acoustic fingerstyle guitar with a passion that has quickly earned him a reputation as Vancouver’s “best kept little secret”. He is a world-class fingerstyle guitarist with a wow factor that has led to multiple endorsement deals with major manufacturers and a collaboration with Greenfield guitars to produce a signature acoustic guitar, the Don Alder G4 model.
His unique style of playing incorporates fingerpicking with simultaneous percussion on the soundboard to create a wall of sound. He is often referred to as sounding like a four-piece band. Lyrical and compelling, his original songs are notes of exploration — some passionate and haunting, some hard-driven, others light and teasing. In quiet pieces or pushing right to the edge, Alder’s phenomenal fingerstyle playing and rich voice captivate.
In 1985, he put his music career on hold to assist lifelong friend Rick Hansen with his quest to create awareness for the potential of people with disabilities and to generate funds for spinal cord research. The world tour inspired millions of people throughout the 34 countries visited and raised $26 million. Alder still works with Hansen in a vital role at the Rick Hansen Man in Motion Foundation, which has had an impact of over $200 million in the field of spinal cord injury.
In the early 1990s, Alder was mostly playing guitar as a hobby and was heavily involved in wheelchair sports. The world tour developed his wheelchair tech skills, which he continued to hone post-tour. This evolved to the point where he was chosen to represent Canada as the equipment manager/ wheelchair tech for the Canadian Paralympic team in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. During that time, Alder met Sam Sullivan and Dave Symington, both quadriplegics and founders of the Vancouver Adapted Music Society. Alder became the guitarist for the society’s performance band, Spinal Chord. They released a CD, Why Be Normal, which received national airplay, and the video, Mary.
Alder’s clinic is $20 and runs 1-3 p.m., with registration at Kingfisher Used Books or Black Bear Books. Advance concert tickets are $12 at those locations, and $15 at the door, which opens at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. concert.