Local Heavy Metal Guitarist Offers Advice for Aspiring Musicians

Ray Goodwin

Ray Goodwin, who shreds with the Phoenix metal band Sicmonic, lives in North Phoenix and teaches guitar and piano at Rhapsody School of Music in Anthem. On June 5 at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Sicmonic opens for Yngwie Malmsteen, a Swedish rocker that Time Magazine once ranked among the 10 best electric guitar players ever. In&Out Magazine asked Goodwin about his style, why he teaches, and what advice he’d offer aspiring rockers. The following has been edited for length and clarity:

IN&OUT: How would you describe your personal style?

RAY GOODWIN: I incorporate a unique two-handed approach that utilizes a mix of eight finger tapping, classical, and flamenco-style fingerpicking on the electric guitar. While this technique has enabled me to become very fast and articulate, my playing style has been equally recognized for unique and soulful melodies. Being a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, violin, piano) has helped me to innovate my approach by crossing instrument techniques (piano technique on guitar, guitar technique on piano, etc.).

IO: How would you describe Sicmonic’s music?

RG: Sicmonic’s music is a heartfelt and heart-pounding tapestry of sound. Stylistically, we fuse multiple styles of music from classical to rock to metal and just about everything in between. In the upcoming set with Yngwie Malmsteen, I will be playing back and forth between four instruments (electric 6string guitar, electric 7string guitar, the electric violin and a steel string acoustic guitar). I add on piano when we headline.

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IO: Where did the name Sicmonic come from?

RG: Sic = modern day slang term meaning awesome. Also, sic = attack. Monic = a root term for sound.

IO: How big a deal is this to warm up for Malmsteen?

RG: It is a HUGE deal for us to open up for Malmsteen. He is a world-renowned guitar legend known for his mastery and incredible abilities on the instrument. It is a true honor to play with Malmsteen and quite surreal, honestly. I have been a fan of his for my entire musical life.

IO: Why do you teach?

RG: By far, teaching music is most rewarding ‘job’ I’ve ever had. I am blessed that I get to teach what I love to do everyday. Music study greatly helps to develop healthy minds by merging analytics and creativity. It is a healthy way for people of all ages to escape for a bit and wind down. It is incredibly rewarding to see so many of the students accomplish awesome musical abilities and achievements. They are all gifted in their own different and unique ways. Finding and developing talent within those gifts is what I do.

IO: What advice would you give all the aspiring young rockers in the area?

RG: Learn as much as you possibly can about your instrument (theory, scales, chords, etc.). If you are interested in making music a career, move forward with your band while always gaining education. Play as often as you can. The industry is full of ups and downs; keep your head up. Stay clear from pitfalls like drugs and alcohol.

Ray Goodwin of Sicmonic teaches and plays violin, guitar and piano. Photo courtesy Bad Rooster Images

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North Phoenix News staff writers and editors often work together to produce articles like this one.

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North Phoenix News staff writers and editors often work together to produce articles like this one.

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