Donald James Ross, or Don Ross, (born November 19, 1960) is a Canadian fingerstyle guitarist. He is the only person to win the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship twice (1988 and 1996). His album Huron Street reached the top ten on the Billboard New-age chart.
Ross’s music borrows from blues, jazz, folk and classical music creating a style that he describes as “heavy wood”. Ross names Bruce Cockburn, John Renbourn, Pierre Bensusan, Keith Jarrett, Egberto Gismonti and Pat Metheny as his main sources of inspiration. One of his songs, “Michael, Michael, Michael”, is dedicated to Michael Hedges, and Ross has performed straight covers of his compositions. One obvious but unattributed influence is the psychedelic 1967 track ‘Embryonic Journey’ by Jefferson Airplane. Ross’s advanced technique and his sure feeling for rhythm combine with uncommon ideas to make his style instantly recognizable. He often uses percussive techniques and plays intricate down and upstroke patterns with his thumb. These techniques have found their way into the toolboxes of many competitive fingerstyle guitarists. His use of acrylic nails allow him to get the sound of long fingernails without the hassle of broken nails.
Don Ross played a Lowden S-10 in the beginning of his career, but since 1997 has played a Lowden O-10. Today he plays custom-made guitars by Marc Beneteau, a Canadian luthier from St. Thomas, Ontario. The Beneteaus are equipped with a combination of microphone and K&K pickups. Occasionally he plays a baritone guitar and a harp guitar by Marc Beneteau, or uses a custom 7-string by Oskar Graf, a luthier from Clarendon, Ontario.
In the liner notes to Ross’ 2003 album Robot Monster, Bruce Cockburn writes, “Nobody does what Don Ross does with an acoustic guitar. He takes the corners so fast you think he’s going to roll, but he never loses control.”
One of my personal favorites is his cover of “Crazy”.
If you’re a fan of Spotify, here’s a couple tunes to get you started:
- “Klimbim”: https://open.spotify.com/track/1GK7EqgwoTg4Na9zbWRGKB
- “Never Got To Pernambuco”: https://open.spotify.com/track/1NU6Mq5fG2MwW4V2QYRWNr
Album: View List
- Lowden S-10. more info
- Lowden O-10. more info
- Fan Fret- Beneteau Guitar. Check on Beneteauguitars.com
- Quantum Trinity System. Check price on Kksound.com
- Oskar Graf Guitar. Check on Grafguitars.com
- TC Electronic PolyTune Polyphonic Tuner Pedal. Check price on Amazon.com
- Boss OC-3 SUPER Octave Pedal. Check price on Amazon.com
- Electro Harmonix Micro Q-Tron. Check price on Amazon.com
- DigiTech DigiDelay. Check price on Amazon.com