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Six String Theory Winners to perform at the Tokyo Blue Note September 11, 2016

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Six String Theory Competition Winner’s Circle

Congratulations to all our Winners & Finalists! Check website for full lists of all Winners and Finalists!

GRAND PRIZE WINNERS (each instrument)

GUITAR (tie): Roland Balogh (jazz )- Hungary
GUITAR (tie): Carter Low (blues) – Canada
PIANO: Nick Hetko – New York, USA
BASS: Isaias Elpes – USA/Brazil
DRUMS: Raphaël Pannier – NYC/France


Jazz/Fusion Guitar Winner: Roland Balogh– Hungary

Acoustic Guitar Winner: Rhythm Shaw – India

Rock Guitar Winner: Tom Caunt – UK

Blues Guitar Winner: Carter Low – Canada

Rhythm Guitar Winner: Peter Skrabak – California, USA

Classical Guitar Winner: Stephen Lee – Indonesia

First off, I’d like to thank all of the musicians who entered in the 2016 Six String Theory Competition as well as our honorary judges who devoted their time and expertise. I was thrilled that 170 countries visited our website and contestants from 45 different countries around the world signed up for the competition. I personally viewed hundreds of videos during the last few months and can honestly say I’m humbled by the sheer amount of talent that joined the competition from around the globe.

I’ve said this before, I generally don’t like competitions. Music is not about competition… It’s about giving, growing and bringing joy to other people’s lives through music. I believe with our Six String Theory Competition, we try to reach beyond the competition part to encourage musicians to share their music and have a goal to improve. We’ve had several people who have signed up previously for Six String and either not placed at all, or did not reach very high in the rankings. Then we’ve had those same people apply in later years, and in some cases, place very high or even win the grand prize.

This year’s winners were an amazing diverse group of musicians. In some cases, the first place, second and third rankings were separated by only a few votes. All of the judges concurred that this year was very challenging because of the amazing amount of talent and diversity.

I encourage all the musicians that joined our competition to keep going forward… The gift of receiving and giving music is truly one of the beautiful things on Earth and all of you are certainly doing just that!

I also want to thank everyone for taking their valuable time to vote and help out this year… I know everyone is super busy and we really appreciate the time and effort. Everyone did a fantastic job and many of you made very astute and helpful comments regarding your selections.

As all of us know, the music business has radically changed, but one thing remains constant, people still love music and the musicians who make it. You are all proof of that and these young winners are certainly proof that we’re in good hands with the next generation of musicians. Thanks so much for your support!

~ Lee Ritenour

SST Judges Poster 7-2016



Lee Ritenour’s Vinyl Box Set Giveaway!

To celebrate Lee Ritenour’s performance at The White House this weekend for International Jazz Day, we are giving away a numbered copy of Lee’s limited-edition Vinyl LP Collection. Enter below!

To learn more about the box set, check out the promo video:

poster jazz day white house 2016

I am thrilled to announce that “The Vinyl LP Collection” is now available for preorder!


 Individually numbered box set features 180-gram vinyl, remastered audio and 46-page booklet featuring never-before-seen photos and new liner notes by Ritenour

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — On April 22nd, Concord Records will release The Vinyl LP Collection: a limited-edition, individually numbered box set celebrating a key period in the prolific solo career of renowned guitarist Lee Ritenour. The Collection contains five classic LPs by Ritenour: Earth Run (1986), Portrait (1987), Festival (1988), Color Rit (1989) and, on vinyl for the first time, the GRAMMY® Award-nominated Wes Bound (1993). These albums have each been remastered, pressed on audiophile-quality, 180-gram vinyl and restored with original artwork and liner notes. An accompanying 46-page booklet contains new liner notes by Ritenour plus never-before-seen photos and ephemera from an extensive scrapbook collection lovingly kept by the guitarist’s late father.

 An exclusive edition is available on my website – it includes a SIGNED print and free domestic shipping with promo code RIT2016.


Do you play Guitar, Piano, Bass or Drums? Registration is now open for Lee Ritenour’s 2016 SIX STRING THEORY COMPETITION!!!


Grammy award-winning guitarist/producer Lee Ritenour hosts the 5th biennial Six String Theory Competition with applications accepted in Guitar, Bass, Piano/Keyboards and Drums. Registration is open from January 15, 2016 through May 15, 2016 on the website by submitting two YouTube videos. For Guitar, applicants may register in the genres of Rock, Blues, Jazz/Fusion, Acoustic/Country, Classical/Flamenco and Rhythm Guitar which includes Pop, Funk, R&B, and World styles (Brazilian, Latin, African, Island, etc.). For Rhythm Players, any contemporary music style will be accepted such as jazz, fusion, R & B, rock, blues, etc.

Partnering again with Yamaha, Berklee College of Music, Premier Guitar, Blue Note Tokyo, Crown Guitar Workshop & Festival, Monster, Jazziz, D’Addario, True Fire and Guitar HD, the 2016 competition offers incredible professional opportunities and a total prize package value of over $700,000.

Prize highlights for the 2016 competition include: Berklee College of Music Scholarships; performance at the legendary Blue Note Tokyo with Lee Ritenour and up-and-coming All-Star musicians from Japan; recording on Lee Ritenour’s forthcoming album at the stunning Woodshed Recording Studio in Malibu and Scholarships and Performances at Crown Guitar Festival in scenic Montana. Other prizes include travel and hotel for performance and recording opportunities, Yamaha Instruments & Endorsements, Professional Mentoring with Lee Ritenour, Monster and D’Addario prizes.

The Six String Theory Competition is the inspiration of Ritenour, who debuted the International Competition in 2010 with the release of his all-star guitar CD, “6 String Theory.” The guitar-only contest was a great success and the winner, Shon Boublil, recorded a track on “6 String Theory” and won a 4 year scholarship to Berklee College of Music, in which he just graduated in 2015. The guitar contest continued to grow in popularity and scope with another competition in 2011, which guitarist David Murray Browne won. By 2012, the competition expanded to include 3 new instruments: Piano, Bass and Drums and attracted wonderful, diverse talent from over 70 countries. Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory Competition also became an official non-profit organization with the mission of supporting aspiring musicians towards a professional music career through scholarships, recording, performing, mentoring and prizes.

The 2012 rhythm winners Selim Munir, Hans de Wild, Michael Feinberg, and Demetrius Nabors recorded a track on Lee Ritenour’s Grammy nominated “Rhythm Sessions” starring musicians Chick Corea, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Patrice Rushen and more. The guitar winner, Karl Marino, is half way done with his Berklee College of Music four year scholarship. The 2014 winners performed at the illustrious Montreux Jazz Festival and the guitar grand prize winner, Tony Pusztai, recorded a track on Ritenour’s “Twist of Rit” album starring greats such as: Academy® & Grammy® winning Dave Grusin, Dave Weckl, John Beasley, and Ernie Watts.

Legendary Advisory Judges will work with Lee Ritenour to evaluate and determine the 2016 winners. Those judges include Joe Satriani, Joe Bonamassa, Keb’ Mo’, Vince Gill, Brent Masen, Pat Martino, John Scofield, Julian Lage, Guthrie Govan, Steve Lukather, Daryl Stuermer John Patitucci, Dave Weckl, Harvey Mason, Patrice Rushen, John Beasley, Sonny Emory, Will Kennedy, Dave Grusin, Nathan East and many others.

For additional information on Six String Theory or to register please click here.