Competition Advice from Jamie Robinson

Winner of the 2007 North American Rock Guitar Competition shares his expertise

What competitions have you been involved in?
I am the winner of the 2007 North American Rock Guitar Competition and competed in Guitar Player’s Guitar Hero Competition

How long have you been playing?
I have played for ten years now. 

Who are five of your biggest influences?
Eddie Van Halen, Jason Becker, Guthrie Govan, Paul Gilbert and Al DiMeola. 

What is your favorite rig?

My rig is very simple. I use the prototype of the Dot on Shaft JR-7 model, which is the signature model I am designing which will be out in the spring. I run straight into a multi-effects pedal, into a Randall RH200 head and a Randall cab. 

What sets you apart from other players?
My style is not ordinary instrumental guitar. It is much more aggressive and heavier. I find a lot of instrumental guitar very boring because players lay down a simple backing and just shred over top. Nobody pays attention to the song nowadays. My pieces are very song-oriented.

Can you tell us an interesting story from your experience in competitions?

Recently when I was competing in Guitar Player’s event, everything that could have gone wrong did. I missed the flight because of customs and they forgot my luggage – including guitar – in Toronto. I didn’t receive my guitar from the airport until a half hour before I went on stage, so I didn’t have any of my gear for rehearsal. After the competition was over, they wouldn’t even let me into the after party because I am only 18, and Guitar Player didn’t coordinate something.  

Give PG readers 3 tips for playing in guitar competitions.
1) Do the best you can do. Don’t worry about trying to compete with the other guys. Do what you do best.

2) The nicer you are to the other competitors and the more you get to know them, the better experience you will have.

3) When performing, try not to look at the judges, it will only intimidate you, and you will probably mess up! 

What’s a big no-no at a guitar competition that you would advise against?
The biggest no-no at a guitar competition is ego. All the competitors are there at the same level and doing the same thing. Just celebrate the instrument that you all have come to play. There is no need for an ego, just have a good time and perform your best. 

What’s next on your horizon?
I have the Jamie Robinson signature model from Dot on Shaft Guitars coming out in the spring. I will also have the Jamie Robinson signature strings, for seven string guitars, coming out. I’m also playing live with my band around Toronto and southern Ontario. 

How can PG readers find out more about you?
You can check out my music, videos, concert listings, and news at

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We’re almost finished with the aging process on our project guitar. Let’s work on the fretboard, nut, and truss rod cover, and prepare the headstock for the last hurrah.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. This month we’ll continue with our relic’ing project, taking a closer look at the front side of the neck and treating the fretboard and the headstock. We’ll work on the front side of the headstock in the next part, but first we must prepare it.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.



• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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