Mike Dawes

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Mike Dawes
Mike Dawes - Hamburger Gitarrenfestival 2018 17.jpg
Background information
InstrumentsAcoustic guitar
Years active2012–present
LabelsCandyRat Records Qten Records
Associated actsNick Johnston, Periphery, Justin Hayward, The Moody Blues, Troy Donockley, Fink

Mike Dawes is an English Fingerstyle guitar player known for composing, arranging and performing multiple parts simultaneously on one instrument using unique extended and micro-techniques.[1] He was voted 'Best Acoustic Guitarist in the World Right Now' by Total Guitar magazine and Musicradar twice consecutively in both 2017 and 2018 readers polls.[2][3] His debut record with CandyRat Records gained strong critical acclaim [4] and spawned a variety of world tours [5] and singles, notably a viral virtuoso arrangement of "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye. The lead single on Dawes' second release ERA, an arrangement of "One" by Metallica, went viral with over 30 million hits in its first week of release.[1] Dawes is also lead guitar player for Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues featuring heavily on multiple DVD and PBS releases,[1] notably Spirits...Live, which debuted at #2 on the US Billboard chart.[6] Dawes currently tours 10 months of the year and has amassed around 100 million video views online.[7] He recently launched a new popwave band dubbed 'Nik Mystery' with grammy-nominated Periphery vocalist, Spencer Sotelo and multi-platinum producer Jukka Backlund, formerly of Sunrise Avenue.[8]


Dawes experimented with keyboards before picking up his first electric guitar at age twelve.[9] He switched to Steel-string acoustic guitar in 2008.[10]

From late 2008 to late 2011, Dawes performed instrumental concerts at venues and festivals throughout the United Kingdom both solo, and with a Concert harp player. During this time he performed alongside musicians including Seth Lakeman, Tommy Emmanuel and Newton Faulkner.[11][12] In 2009, he released an independent EP titled 'Reflections', as well as gaining features on two discs in the AGF (Acoustic Guitar Forum) franchise.[13][14]

In 2012, Dawes signed with Wisconsin-based CandyRat Records.[15] He released a unique and technically virtuosic arrangement of Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye on June 19[15] that went viral, gaining acclaim from the international music community.[4] MSN News and Reddit featured him on the front page of their websites. A headline on the US MSN browser spawned an influx of American fans. Gotye (Walter De Backer) himself publicly praised the arrangement: "It's a really beautiful piece of music. It's wonderfully arranged. It's just a fantastic piece of music. I also like the instrumental interpretation because it gives a different perspective on the musical arrangement. It's not about how somebody's voice transmits the story of the relationship."[16]

Dawes' next release was another Candyrat single, this time dual-released with an independent collaborative remix featuring Helsinki-based guitarist Petteri Sariola and Adam 'Nolly' Getgood from the US band Periphery.[17] 10% of the proceeds of all independent releases went to FAB Projects, a Kenyan charity providing Food, Aid and Building[18] in the region.[18][19] His 'What Just Happened?' world tour visited over 30 countries in 5 continents, including performances on the Great Wall of China and the Troubadour in Los Angeles, as well as the first fingerstyle guitar concert in Lebanon's history.[1]

2016 saw Mike become the first acoustic artist signed by Dimarzio [20] sharing a roster with the likes of John Petrucci, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani as he co-designed the Black Angel magnetic soundhole pickup with Larry Dimarzio and Nick Benjamin.[21] Additionally he began a monthly video & print column with Guitar World in the USA and taught as a special guest mentor on Sky TV's Guitar Star season 2.[22][23]

'ERA', the second album was released independently on Dawes' own QTEN Records imprint (King Records in Japan + C&L Music in South Korea) in September 2017.[24] The lead single, a one man cover of Metallica's 'One' gained around 40 million hits in its first fortnight online through Metal Hammer, Viral Thread and Dawes' own YouTube channel.[25] The single also gained the attention of the progressive metal community worldwide, a fanbase often present at Mike's concerts. He also featured on AMC's Better Call Saul playing percussion and additional guitar on 'Cold Feet', a song created in a session with Fink [26]

Late 2017 saw Dawes named as the 'best acoustic guitarist in the world right now' by MusicRadar and Total Guitar's end of year poll. This title was awarded again in 2018.[2] [27] The 2018 Moody Blues Cruise saw Mike share the stage with Cathy Richardson of Jefferson Starship whilst opening for The Orchestra featuring members of ELO.[28][better source needed]

Dawes is influenced heavily by folk, pop and rock music as well as other fingerstyle players such as Michael Hedges, Pierre Bensusan[17] and Eric Roche. In 2017, he is performing with Andreas Cuntz and Nick Benjamin guitars.[29] Dawes owns and performs with #100 and #138.[30] He also uses Ernie Ball strings,[31] Dimarzio pickups,[20] G7th capos.[32] and the Tonewood Amp device.


  • When EP (w/ Nik Mystery) (December 2018 - QTEN Records)

1. When 2. NOW 3. So 4. Drive 5. Movie Life Fantasy

  • ERA Album (September 2017 - QTEN Records/King Records/C&L Music))

1. Encomium (Reverie) 2. Slow Dancing in a Burning Room 3. Beirut 4. One 5. Purr & Sway 6. Belle Insomnie 7. Overload 8. Scarlet 9. The Old Room 10. Fortress 11. Boogie Shred Live in Florida (Japanese bonus track) 12. Somewhere Home Live in Florida (Japanese bonus track)

  • What Just Happened? Album (April 2013 - Candyrat Records)

1. Boogie Slam 2. Somebody That I Used To Know 3. The Impossible 4. Forest Party 5. Somewhere Home 6. Titanium 7. Superstition 8. Boogie Shred 9. Maybe Someday Soon

  • The Impossible 2.0 Remix w/ Nolly & Petteri Sariola, Digital Single (September 2012 - Independent)[13][33]
  • The Impossible, Digital Single (September 2012 - Candyrat Records)
  • Somebody That I Used To Know (Gotye cover), Digital Single (June 2012 - Candyrat Records)
  • Acoustic Guitar Forum 4 Compilation (August 2010), Featuring 'Scotch Pancake'
  • Acoustic Guitar Forum 3 Compilation (January 2010), Featuring 'Clocks'
  • Reflections EP (2009)

1. Mirrors 2. Still 3. Boogie Shred 4. Clocks 5. The Violet and the Bee

Guest appearances[edit]

  • FSNBC (Fink - R'coup'd) April 2017: Dawes performs additional acoustic guitar [1]
  • Yetzerhara (John Browne's Flux Conduct) January 2017: Dawes performs acoustic guitar on the song 'Melancholia'[1]
  • Live in Clearwater DVD/Blu-ray (Justin Hayward - Eagle Rock Records/PBS) September 2016: Dawes performs electric and acoustic guitars.[34]
  • The Story Behind Nights in White Satin DVD/Blu-ray (Justin Hayward - Eagle Rock Records/PBS) February 2015: Dawes performs acoustic guitar.[34]
  • Spirits Live in Atlanta DVD/Blu-ray (Justin Hayward - Eagle Rock Records/PBS) August 2014: Dawes performs electric and acoustic guitar as well as clips of original music. 'Spirits...Live' entered the US Billboard charts at #2.[34]
  • Phantom Shadow (Machinae Supremacy - Spinefarm/UMG) August 2014: Dawes performs acoustic guitar in the track 'Europa'.[35]


Dawes has produced numerous tuition aids for guitarists looking to learn his style of playing. These include four iOS tuition apps for Apple devices, regular workshops, guitar TABs and magazine columns for Acoustic Magazine & Guitar World [36]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Mike Dawes - Era". mikedawes.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference https://www.musicradar.com/news/the-12-best-acoustic-guitarists-in-the-world-right-now was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference https://www.musicradar.com/news/tommy-emmanuel-jon-gomm-and-mike-dawes-set-to-judge-acoustic-guitarist-of-the-year-2018 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ a b "Reviews and Testimonials - Mike Dawes". mikedawes.co.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Mike Dawes". Bandsintown. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  6. ^ http://justinhayward.com/spirits-live-dvd-makes-2-billboard-chart//
  7. ^ http://www.ampsandaxescast.com///
  8. ^ http://www.musicradar.com/news/mike-dawes-on-synth-pop-project-nik-mystery-its-as-far-removed-from-periphery-and-solo-acoustic-music-as-anything-could-possibly-be/
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-16. Retrieved 2013-01-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Mike Dawes: Candyrat's acoustic archer!". www.truthinshredding.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  11. ^ http://mikedawes.com/dates
  12. ^ Acoustic Magazine Issue 70
  13. ^ a b "Discography - Mike Dawes". mikedawes.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Acoustic Gallery - Home". acousticgallery.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Home - CandyRat Records". candyrat.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2013-01-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ a b "HugeDomains.com - Nwoag.com is for sale (Nwoag)". nwoag.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  18. ^ a b "FAB Projects - Home - Charity for Food, Aid, Building, and Water Projects, Kenya". fabprojects.co.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  19. ^ "MIKE DAWES Reveals 'Scarlet' Periphery Cover Video As Charity Single – Circuit Sweet". circuitsweet.co.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  20. ^ a b "DiMarzio - DiMarzio.com". dimarzio.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  21. ^ "Mike Dawes". facebook.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Guitar World". Guitar World. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  23. ^ Telecom, Manx. "Sky Arts Guitar Star mentor to lead Masterclass for Island's guitarists at GuitarFest 2016 - Isle of Man News - Manx.net". www.manx.net. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Home - QTEN RECORDS". QTEN RECORDS. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  25. ^ "Mike Dawes plays all of Metallica's parts for One on one guitar". teamrock.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Mike on Better Call Saul (thanks to Fink) - Mike Dawes". mikedawes.co.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  27. ^ "The 16 best acoustic guitarists in the world right now". musicradar.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  28. ^ "Moody Blues Cruise". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  29. ^ "Mike Dawes Plays This". playsthis.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  30. ^ "Benjamin Guitars: Acoustic Guitars Handmade by Luthier Nick Benjamin". www.benjaminguitars.co.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  31. ^ "Electric Guitar Strings, Acoustic Guitar Strings, Bass Strings, and Guitar Accessories". Ernie Ball. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  32. ^ http://g7th.com/
  33. ^ "Home - CandyRat Records". candyrat.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  34. ^ a b c "Justin Hayward - Official Site". Justin Hayward. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  35. ^ "\m/". Machinae Supremacy. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  36. ^ "Tuition - Mike Dawes". mikedawes.co.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2018.

External links[edit]