By Brian Scherzer
Every now and then you stumble across a musician who "knocks your socks off". This happened to me recently when I began looking into a guitar player from Spain who had just become an endorser for Melancon Guitars. Alberto Barrero is likely unknown to most of us here in the United States, but he is certainly making a name for himself in Spain. He has become an endorser for George Amplifiers (only available in Europe at present), a company that makes the "innards" for Carl Martin Amplifiers. When I watched a YouTube video of Alberto, I knew that I wanted to get a feature done on him. If you're wondering what it was about that video that intrigued me, I invite you to click on the video below!
Alberto Barrero was born in 1984, in Guareña, a small town of Spain. At the age of 8 he began to study the trumpet in the Music School of Merida. His interest shifted two years later, when he decided to study the piano. However, after listening to a recording of Toto, he changed his mind and decided to devote himself to playing guitar. He had finally found the instrument that would unleash his musical passions! For the next 8 years, until he was 22, he played with various spanish artists, rock bands and recorded several audio demos for different instrument manufacturers. Alberto played with the "Golden International Orchestra", recorded two albums playing guitar with the Spanish pop/rock group, "El Grito de Munch", recorded one album with the Spanish metal group "Vanity", and recorded music for two independent films and for TV. Additionally, he has done demonstration recordings for various effect pedal and amp companies.
These days Alberto has just finished his first solo recording, The Night's Soul. Influences of funk, blues and jazz can be heard throughout the record. The CD is only available in Europe at the present time and it is hoped that a U.S. distribution deal can be reached so that fans in the States can purchase the CD. Alberto recorded all tracks except two, on which his father played drums. A second CD project is in the works, along with a European tour to support the first CD.
Brian: What music or musicians motivated you to become a guitar player?
Alberto: When I was little my father had several albums of groups and artists like The Police, Carlos Santana, Phil Collins, The Beatles... and I really liked (and still like) this music, but it was Steve Lukather who inspired me to play the guitar. I remember that I was listening to the song "Hold The Line", and at the time of the guitar solo I was so excited that I thought I want to do that. I dropped my study of other instruments and my father bought me a guitar for 90 € (100 usd aprox). That’s how I began my adventure with the guitar.
Brian: You live in Spain. What is the music scene there like?
Alberto: In Spain there are fantastic musicians, groups and artists but the commercial music and “fashion” groups and singers are the kings of TV, radio and concerts (like in all countries). If you do not have money or good contacts it is difficult to get ahead, but in Spain there's always a place where you can hear a good group or solo artist.
Brian: You appear to like Strat-style guitars. What was it about them that made you choose the strat?
Alberto: Since I started to play the guitar I always used strats. For me it is perfect in everything: sound, weight, playability. Also, I like the sound and neck of a good Telecaster but my favorite is the Strat-Style. It is a very "honest" guitar that allows changes in tone based on the way you play it.
Brian: You play a "George" amplifier, which few people have heard of. Can you tell us about the amp?
Alberto: The George Tube Amps are handmade in Barcelona (Spain). They are "Boutique Amps" with the best components and excellent construction. They are dynamic and offer a beautiful clean sound, along with a creamy/thick overdrive. Jorge Bueno (at George Tube Amps) also make the prestigious Carl Martin amps. I'm very happy with my Thunderbird One. It is a fantastic amp.
Brian: What are some of your favorite settings when using the George amp?
Alberto: Always put the controls in the half position and the sound is perfect. When I want to change the sound I do it with Overdrive or Distortion.
Brian: You are now a Melancon endorser. What made you decide to play a Melancon guitar?
Alberto: It is a big honor for me to be endorser of this prestigious brand of guitars. Before, I used guitars of different builders from the U.S.A., but i needed a type of guitar that had a classic sound, but in a more modern concept (frets, neck, body...). Some friends told me about Melancon Guitars. I was interested a lot in them and read about them on forums and in the music press. I found one with some great specifications (my beloved Pro Artist #1413). When it arrived at my house I played several hours with her and said, "I have found my guitar"! It has fantastic construction, playability, details, sound...it is the best guitar for me.
Brian: What other music gear do you like to use?
Alberto: I really like the effects of Xotic and Robert Keleey. Also, I have an excellent Overdrive by Alberto Serrano at Astone Effects (like a old TS-808). The effects on my pedalboard are a Blues Driver by Robert Keeley, an Astone Overdrive, a GTA Axe Pow, Xotic BB Preamp, and a Carl Martin Chorus and a Carl Martin Delay.
Brian: I understand that you have a new CD that just came out. What problems did you encounter in recording it the way you wanted?
Alberto: When I started to record "The Night's Soul" I did not think it would be so difficult. I recorded everything by myself : drums, keyboards, bass, programming and guitars. I did not want the sound of the drums to sound like they were programmed so I played in real time (except in "Thanks Tim”, “Looking For Answers” and "The Night's Soul". In those songs, my father played the drums. I spent two months composing the songs and six months recording. My intention was to make a melodic album that everybody could listen to (not just the guitarists), and I think that's what took me more time and effort.
Brian: I know that the CD is available in Europe. Do you have any plans to have the CD sold in the USA?
Alberto: It is difficult because I produced and paid for the CDs myself. I have a distributor in Spain and in the rest of Europe. I no have distributor in the USA or a United States record company at the moment, but there are ways on the internet to sell the album (iTunes for example).
Brian: What plans do you have for your music career in the future?
Alberto: At the moment I'm going to tour in support of "The Night's Soul" in Europe and will continue to study music. The next year I will record a new album that will be a heavier blues and rock style album. That CD will be different and will have some excellent Spanish musicians, along with better recording and production. Also I will play with some artists in Spain. It is possible that I will be going to the United States next year to study at GIT.
FOR MORE INFO AND SOME SOUNDCLIPS OF ALBERTO'S CD, CLICK HERE