Waikiki Steel Guitar Week
Joseph Zayac

Joseph Zayac

Joseph Zayac – A resident of Honolulu, Oahu, hails from the plains of Aurora, Colorado. As a child he was immersed in a rich culture of New Mexican, Tejano and Mexican traditional music. His earliest guitar and musical influences stem from, "The God Father Of New Mexico Music" Al Hurricane Jr., Frank Corrales, Eddie Dimas, AJ Martinez, Tobias Rene, Flaco Jiménez and Lorenzo Antonio.

Picking up the clarinet at the start of intermediate school, his love for big band jazz emerged as the music of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman; This would later influence the way he wanted to play chord melodies on Steel Guitar. "It's amazing how much the Steel lends itself to playing like a horn section or how much the lower strings remind me of the clarinet!"

Upon his enlistment in the United States Marine Corps just shy of 18 years of age he went on to be assigned to 1st Battalion 3rd Marines infantry unit where he met gentlemen whose roots were in country and bluegrass music. Joseph often reminisces on the times he was taught these wonderful and uplifting melodies, "Nothing can quite compare to the feeling of peeling off your combat gear after a long, hot patrol and gathering around with a guitar and banjo. Man, those guys could sure play and sing!"

Soon after his time in service Joseph found himself playing in one of Oahu's premier Gypsy Jazz bands, Gypsy808. As primary rhythm guitarist for nine years you will hear where his desirable accompaniment in swing la pompe, bolero, gypsy bossa, rhumba, waltz, and ballads was developed and fine-tuned.

On the steel side of life Joseph was gifted his first steel guitar from Jeff Au Hoy in late December of 2017 and later an 8-string Jerry Byrd Fry Pan from Bobby Ingano, both of whom he continues to study from. He makes use of the classic C13th tuning or A6. "I'm so thankful to have steel guitar mentors like them, especially when I hit a road bump in my playing. They are always the most encouraging and an endless supply of musical knowledge."

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