Each month in 2021, we will be featuring a member of the worldwide Gretsch community as our spotlight “featured player” of the month!
The featured guitarist for June is . . . John Auker!
A graduate of the Conservatory of Music of Capital University, John Auker is a versatile guitarist, bandleader, session musician, and instructor based in Columbus, OH. John’s studio work is on radio, TV ads, and albums: Noelle Shearer’s Speak to Me, Vesperteen’s self-titled, and Vineyard Music’s All The Earth Shall Worship: Live. He has performed with multiple GRAMMY award nominees and winners throughout his career.
John is an integral member of The Reissues, house band for the venue Thirty-One West. In their Platinum Album series, the band plays tribute to artists like Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, Tom Petty, and the Beatles.
Faithfully recreating George Harrison’s guitar and sitar work, John tours internationally with acclaimed Beatles tribute Hard Day’s Night. In 2017, The Toledo Mudhens featured the band for a Sgt. Pepper-themed jersey release covered by ESPN’s SportsCenter. Subsequently, they played St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium. Hard Day’s Night is a regular artist at Abbey Road On The River, the top Beatles festival in America. They performed in the Cavern Club for Liverpool’s world-renowned International Beatle Week and contributed to the Cavern’s 2020 Virtual Beatle Week.
Currently, John is lead guitarist for The Naz Church. He also played and wrote for their worship side project, Wake the Living’s River Hymnal.
John has Beatles and Harrison style courses on JamPlay.com and teaches private, remote lessons through Music & Arts/Guitar Center. As a teacher, John seeks to instruct, influence, and inspire future generations of players and music makers.
Catch John on June 12 as Hard Day’s Night will have an amphitheater show. June 19th, I’ll be doing a CSN show at Thirty One West. And June 26th will be Hard Day’s Night at the Rock the Ruins concert series, presented by the Vogue theater In Indianapolis. Check out his socials for details.
We asked John . . .
How old were you when you knew you were interested in becoming a musician?
I was 12 years old. The Beatles Anthology had just come out and I remember watching the specials on TV and feeling deeply connected to their music.
Why did you choose Gretsch?
I started playing Gretsch primarily because that’s what George Harrison played. I also noticed “That Great Gretsch Sound” was vital to modern worship guitar tones I was striving to achieve as a church musician. After playing Gretsch for some time, I developed a relationship with Joe Carducci. He directly helped my students with repairs and upgraded parts to their guitars. To me, that kind of customer care was astounding. The support he gave to artists like myself and my students elevated Gretsch over any other guitar brand in my view.
What Gretsch gear do you currently use?
6122SP Country Classic II Custom Edition (2004), 6122 Country Gentleman (1971), G6119-1962HT (2010), G5022CE Rancher.
Which musicians were the biggest influence on you and why?
George Harrison, Mike Campbell, the Edge, Nigel Hendroff — These guitarists all play to suit the song and arrangement.
How did you adjust and stay musical during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I have been fortunate enough to continue teaching, and have seen amazing improvement in my students even as we shifted to video lessons. I’m also playing for The Naz Church more than I used to now that my touring schedule is on hold. Hard Day’s Night has held livestream concerts on YouTube and participated in virtual festivals. We are currently working on a remote recording of the Abbey Road medley so that a high school orchestra can play along live with us for their final concert. I also started a new remote project with friends across the country working on quarantine videos. Our last video was a cover of “Naive Melody (This Must Be the Place)” which was then shared on the Instagram page for David Byrne’s American Utopia. That was a trip!
You could be featured in 2021 just like John. Click to find out how!