Get to Know: Ruben Wan
The JTC roster is a special place, full of some of the finest guitarists and educators on the planet. So whenever we add to that roster, it’s something to celebrate.
Our latest addition however, takes us to a whole new place. We’re never scared to break new ground, and in Ruben Wan’s JTC debut, he’s helping us do just that.
So here he is, to give you a behind the scenes look of his mesmerising Learn to Play release.
How did you get into guitar?
To pick up girls in highschool…just kidding! I was bored one summer vacation and saw an ad for guitar lessons at my high school. Like most complete beginners, I had my parents buy me a cheap nylon acoustic guitar and decided to enroll. The guitar teacher only knew a few basic campfire chords and that’s the only thing he taught me for the whole two months duration of my vacation but even those few basic chords were enough to get me hooked and addicted to this amazing instrument.
And right now, what are you focussing on musically away from this release?
Before being a full on guitarist, I spent most of my high school days singing and writing cheesy Spanish love songs, everything took a big turn when I moved to LA to study guitar and for the past couple of years I have completely neglected my artist/singer-songwriter aspect of my career. This year I decided to find balance between my guitarist and artist sides so lately I have been writing and producing more songs that involve lyrics and vocals. The goal is to release a song a month, if possible two but realistically it's going to be closer to one song every other month.
Where did the inspiration for this track come from?
To be honest, I was creatively stuck for quite a bit when coming up with this song. I grew up listening to JTC artists/legends such as Alex Hutchings, Guthrie Govan, Marco Sfogli, etc.
Therefore when I was presented the opportunity to release a package with JTC, I was honestly excited and intimidated at the same time. I’m in no way a virtuoso guitarist and regularly feel the impostor syndrome creeping up on me so it was really hard to find the right inspiration for this track. Eventually though, I told myself that all these thoughts are pointless self imposed “Expectations”, so I called up a couple of friends to help me produce the backing track to my composition (Elijah Zhang and Renny Goh), reminded myself that the only important thing that matters is doing your best, and ultimately bringing a new flavour into JTC’s catalogue by combining my old and new guitar inspirations as best as possible.
It’s not often that people tune up a half step. Where did the idea come for that?
First of all I’d like to give a quick apology for doing this, I understand that this might have come off a bit annoying, my apologies. I tuned my guitar a half step for two reasons:
- For this particular song, I liked the tension of my strings when tuned a half step up. I use my whammy bar a lot on this song and having the guitar tuned up, enhances the sound of my whammy flutters.
- I was annoyed by a single note in my composition that was outside of my fretboard reach due to the standard tuning and key of the track. So to accommodate that single note, I tuned up.
What is the biggest takeaway from your JTC debut?
Don’t doubt yourself, because everyone has something unique to offer the world. A good solution to being stuck creatively is asking friends to help out, this allows you to use their creative input as fuel for inspiration and come up with something even more rewarding.
Shout outs to: Elijah Zhang (Drums) and Renny Goh (Keys/Aux).
Who is your favourite JTC artist?
Without hesitation, “Guthrie Govan”. My favourite JTC artist is actually also my all time favourite guitarist. If you ask any of my close friends, this has been my answer ever since I discovered “Erotic Cakes” back in high school. Though I have completely given up trying to play like him (impossible), everytime I re-listen to any of his songs or solos, I’m just filled with inspiration and emotions. His mastery of the instrument, feel and creativity is simply incomparable in my opinion.
What would you like to explore in the future at JTC?
I’m definitely down to keep writing more guitar oriented songs for JTC but I’m not opposed to doing a Masterclass or a lick package in the future if my time and schedule allows it. It would also be awesome to collaborate with another JTC artist and come up with a dueling guitars “Learn to Play” track!
Find out more
A huge thanks to Ruben for taking the time to answer our questions, and if you want to find out more about his debut, check out the video below!