Italian guitarist Davide Lo Surdo is just 21 years old and he can play 129 notes a second. His jaw-dropping speed on the guitar won him the Sanremo Music Awards in Italy. He bagged the prize in the ‘Rising Star’ section as the “fastest guitarist in the world”. Surdo has toured all over the world with guitar gods such as Michael Angelo Batio, Steve Vai, Mike Stern and Ritchie Blackmore and many more, who are amazed at his guitar wizardry. And did you know that Surdo visited India last year? Excerpts from the interview:
How did you take to playing the guitar?
I started playing the guitar when I was nine years old. I saw my neighbour and her dad playing a classical guitar and I got fascinated. So, I started taking lessons in a church with a priest and after a few months, he advised my family to hire a professional guitar teacher for me. I had some private guitar teachers but after some years, I learnt a lot from the guitar players on tours.
How many hours do you put in to practise the guitar?
It depends. When I am on tour, I don’t have a lot of time for practise. When I get free time, I rest. When on a tour, I practise for 30 minutes before the show. When I am at my home studio, I practice for three to four hours a day.
How did you achieve a feat in playing 129 notes/second?
The first thing I learnt about playing fast is first, you need to know how to play slow because it helps increase the accuracy of what you are going to play. I learnt to play fast in this way and practiced a lot. The 129 notes/second is a serious of five arpeggios that I play together so playing them at my speed, it reaches that number of notes/second.
How does it feel to be recognised as the fastest guitarist in the world?
It feels really great. I always loved the speed on guitar but obviously with accuracy and of course, being considered the fastest guitarist in the world is something amazing for me.
Which guitars do you use?
I use Koloss Guitars, a guitar company from China, and they built my first Signature Guitar called “DLS1” which is on sale worldwide.
You also visited India in 2020. Any memories?
Yes, I toured India in January last year and it was a great experience. I played in Kolkata, Kharagpur IIT for KSHITIJ Festival and in Guwahati. I really love India and I think it’s a fantastic country. I remember that it was a very hectic tour because I landed in Kolkata on January 17 at 7am and I played in Kharagpur the same night without rest. It was the first of the three shows in a row. Amazing experience. I also like the food. I like to try new things when I visit a new country.
Do you plan on visiting India again?
Of course. I have confirmed tours in Bangladesh, China and Japan. So, when the pandemic situation improves, I definitely plan to come back on a tour to India. I love India.
What are your future plans?
I plan to release an album soon. I recently released my first song Resilience and am working on the second.
Watch Davide Lo Surdo perform live at the Second Edition of Mumbai Guitar Day on July 24 at 7 pm on Facebook.