Finger-style guitarist Doyle Dykes is a guitar legend in the making. Influenced by a wide variety of musical styles and musicians from Chet Atkins to Duane Eddy and the Beatles, the American guitarist has developed a distinct, recognizable sound that amazes audiences with skill and breath-taking musicianship.
As an endorser and clinician for Taylor Guitars, Doyle has designed a very successful signature guitar, The Doyle Dykes Signature Model Taylor guitar ("DDSM"). Doyle performs extensively in venues ranging from Theatres, Bluegrass festivals, and churches, to major, international music conventions such as the NAMM and Musikmesse Frankfurt.
On the 1st of November 2007 at Tom Lee Academy Hall, Doyle Dykes, one of the best finger-style guitarists in the world, brought a total of two hours of fun, toe-tapping American guitar music to Hong Kong. Receiving big applause from the audience, Doyle's music was a product of his life experiences and his versatility in the country, ragtime classical and jazz styles.
Those who attended Doyle's clinic would certainly agree that it's a blissful experience to hear this American guitarist play, for Doyle has the power and gift, to make his guitar sound like five plays all the time. Rather than using a flat pick to strum or pick the strings, he takes the advantage of the fingers on the right hand to individually pluck the strings, to create an almost "orchestral" sound that is characterized by its distinctive melody, independently moving bass lines and inner voices. And these qualities live in every single tune that he demonstrated in the evening, from introspective ballads to blisteringly quick Chet Atkins-like finger-picking tunes like "Wabash Cannonball", a late 19th century American folk song with a frictional train theme. One of the many tricks that Doyle frequently performed on his guitar is the trademark stretch of the B string at the headstock, which produced the all-American steel effect. Not as easy as it seems, although Doyle can perform this act of de-tuning and re-tuning at ease, it is in fact a technique that may take guitarists a long time so to reach a proficiency that is close to Doyle.
Also included in the set-list of this cross-genre finger-stylist was "Country Fried Picking", and "Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera. The series of harmonics that he added to the last few measures of "Music of the Night" was clear, refreshing and revitalizing like the dew drops in the early morning. For no doubt, the sincerity, warmth and the apparent presences of God's spirit in his playing warmed up everybody's heart.
As one of the most talked-about finger-style guitarists in the States, as well as a featured performer at the Grand Ole Opry, (a weekly country music radio program broadcast live), it seemed to us that this Doyle has never lost the pure joy of playing. As this humble gentleman proceeded with the evening's program, whether it's a toe-tapping rag, or epiphanous instrumentals like "White Rose for Heidi" that celebrates God's answer to his daughter's bed-time prayer, every note that Doyle picked on the strings was filled with passion, and they sounded like as if they are Doyle's family members.
Summing up from the experience that Doyle collected over three decades, what would Doyle suggest to fellow guitarists? "There is no substitute to practicing. You have to spend time with the instrument. And also, make sure you get the best guitar that you can afford. Cheap no good, Good no cheap. I figure if back then, "Bubba", my dad didn't get me a nice guitar, I would not be here today."