Vicki Genfan

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Vicki Genfan
Vicki Genfan at Saint Asbury Park sm 2 04282012 LHCollins.jpg
Vicki Genfan playing at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ, on April 28, 2013
Background information
Born (1959-06-15) June 15, 1959 (age 56)
Origin United States
Genres Fingerstyle guitar
Occupation(s) Musician, Songwriter, therapist
Instruments Guitar, piano, banjo, hand percussion, trombone
Years active 1991–present
Labels Acoustic Music Records, Vicki Genfan/NafnegV Publishing, Harmonic Touch Records
Notable instruments
Muse 12 string by Luna Guitars, Vega 6 string Deering-Banjo

Vicki Genfan (born June 15, 1959) is an American multi-instrumentalist, fingerstyle guitarist, composer and singer.


Vicki Genfan took up the guitar at age five. Her father played 12-string guitar, mandolin and fiddle, and sang. Her older brother played guitar too.[1] She studied classical music and jazz at Ithaca College in New York.[2] Besides guitar, Genfan plays piano, banjo, hand percussion, and trombone.[3]

In 1994, she produced her first album Native on cassette, but didn't sell it in commercially significant numbers. In 2001, she released a self-produced CD, Outside the Box. That same yeare, she won the Just Plain Folks Award for that album's title song, New Grass. In 2003, the German label Acoustic Music Records published Vicki Genfan Live, a live-recording at Open Strings Festival in Osnabrück, Germany. In 2004, Vicki Genfan placed second at Mountain Stage New Song Festival in West Virginia with her song, Eleanor.[2] In 2006, Genfan published the double CD Up Close & Personal. The first CD in the set, Up Close, contains only instrumentals. The second, Personal, shows her singing and songwriting abilities.

Vicki Genfan had been on stage with several well-known fellow guitarists—including Tommy Emmanuel, Laurence Juber, Kaki King, and Jennifer Batten.[4] Citing her technique and singing style, some have compared her to musicians such as Michael Hedges and Pat Metheny.[5] Vicki Genfan featured in several American and international magazines, and was labeled "Queen of Open Tunings".[6]

Genfan won Guitar Player magazine's Guitar Superstar '08 contest at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall in September 2008.[7]

While not on tour abroad, she gives concerts in the northeastern United States. She is an experienced teacher, lectures at workshops and guitar clinics, and teaches private lessons. Recently she has worked on a guitar video on her music and technique, and plans to publish a book of her music.[8] Genfan lives in Fairview, New Jersey.[9]

Technique, instruments and musical influences[edit]

Vicki Genfan performing on banjo, June 2007

Genfan labels her music "Folk meets Funk".[1] It's a blend of jazz, funk, pop and world music in a contemporary folk context. She uses various uncommon open tunings, complex harmonies, and intricate rhythms—combining them with percussive tapping and slapping on the guitar. Her playing is characterized by "two handed tappings," explosive "tapped" and "slapped harmonics" with one or more fingers of the right hand and slapped basslines. She calls her technique slap-tap.

Her first musical inspiration was her father.[1] Other influences include James Taylor, Michael Jackson, Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, Meshell Ndegeocello, Marvin Gaye, Jonatha Brooke, and Leo Kottke.[3]

Until May 2009 Genfan played a Gibson L-140,[10] a Gibson LG and an Alvarez Silver Anniversary. The Alvarez- Guitar uses a TrueTone-pickup-system, where two microphones and a L.R. Baggs LB6-pickup send their signal to two separate outlets.[11] Currently, Genfan plays a custom Luna guitar ( built by master luthier Gray Burchette and equipped with a MiniFlex internal microphone system and an under-saddle RMC hex pickup.

She owns a Guild 12 string Guitar, a Muse 12 string by Luna Guitars,[1] and a Vega 6 string Deering-Banjo.[12] She uses medium-gauge EXP D'Addario strings. Her engineer, Tay Hoyle, plays a main role in producing Genfan's CDs, and accompanies her on numerous tours.


Original work[edit]

Collaborations, guest musician[edit]

  • 1991 – Mistaken Identity (Donna Summer, Atlantic Records)
  • 2000 – Home Away From Home (Dee Carstensen, Exit NineRecords)
  • 2000 – Fourth Floor (Sonya Heller)


  • 2005 – La Guitara: Gender Bending Strings (Vanguard Records)
  • 2006 – Indie Music For Life Compilation (Indie Music For Life)
  • 2007 – Indie Music For Life Pop/Jazz Compilation (Indie Music For Life)


  1. ^ a b c d Vicki Genfan’s page at Luna Guitars. Accessed on November 18, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Tap Tones - Bill Milkowski writes about Vicki Genfan in Acoustic Guitar, issue 109, January 2002. Accessed on November 18, 2007.
  3. ^ a b Interview with Patty Larkin and Vicki Genfan by Ann Latner. Accessed on November 18, 2007.
  4. ^ Review of Genfan's CD Up Close & Personal at CD Baby. Accessed on November 18, 2007.
  5. ^ Vicki Genfan's website at MySpace. Accessed on November 18, 2007.
  6. ^ PRIVATE LESSON – Vicki Genfan, by Teja Gerken. Accessed on November 18, 2007.
  7. ^ Joel Selvin (September 15, 2008). "Acoustic player wins Guitar Superstar contest". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  8. ^ Review of the CD Vicki Genfan Live at CD Baby. Accessed on November 18, 2007.
  9. ^ Fusilli, Jim. "A Guitar Contest With a Winning Surprise", The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2008. Accessed June 1, 2012. "'My nerves will be pretty tight,' guitarist Vicki Genfan told me when we spoke before she left for San Francisco from her home in Fairview, N.J."
  10. ^ Gibson presents Vicki Genfan. By Bernd Strohm (german). Accessed on November 18, 2007
  11. ^ Bill Milkowski describes Vicki Genfan's Guitars in Acoustic Guitar Magazine, issue 109, January 2002. Accessed on November 18, 2007
  12. ^ List of artists using a Deering-Banjo. Accessed on November 18, 2007

External links[edit]