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Vicki Genfan (born June 15, 1959) is an American multi-instrumentalist, fingerstyle guitarist, composer and singer.
Vicki Genfan took up the guitar at the age of five. Her father played 12-string guitar, mandolin and fiddle and had a good voice, her older brother played guitar too. She studied classical music and jazz at Ithaca College in New York. Besides guitar Genfan plays piano, banjo, hand percussion and trombone.
1994 she produced her first album Native on cassette, but didn't sell it in commercially significant numbers. 2001 her equally self - produced CD Outside the Box was published. She won the Just Plain Folks Award the same year for her the title song, "New Grass" on that album. 2003, Vicki Genfan Live was published by the German label Acoustic Music Records, a live-recording at Open Strings Festival in Osnabrück, Germany. 2004 Vicki Genfan placed second at Mountain Stage New Song Festival in West Virginia with her song Eleanor. In 2006 Genfan published the double CD Up Close & Personal. The first CD is titled Up Close and contains only instrumentals, the second CD Personal showcases her singing and songwriting abilities.
Vicki Genfan was on stage with several well-known fellow guitarists, for example Tommy Emmanuel, Laurence Juber, Kaki King and Jennifer Batten. Because of her technique and lyrical way of playing and singing she was compared to Michael Hedges or Pat Metheny. Vicki Genfan featured in several American and international magazines and was labeled "Queen of Open Tunings".
Genfan won Guitar Player magazine's Guitar Superstar '08 contest at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall in September 2008.
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 works on a guitar video featuring her music and technique and plans to publish a book with her music.
Genfan lives in Fairview, New Jersey.
Technique, instruments and musical influences
Genfan labels her music "Folk meets Funk". 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 grooves. 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. Other influences were James Taylor, Michael Jackson, Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, Meshell Ndegeocello, Marvin Gaye, Jonatha Brooke and Leo Kottke.
Until May 2009 Genfan played a Gibson L-140, 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.
Currently Genfan is playing a custom Luna Guitar (http://www.lunaguitars.com/vickiusaluna.php) built by master luthier Gray Burchette (www.burchetteguitars.com). It has a mini flex '2 Mic' internal microphone system (www.miniflexmic.com) and an RMC hex pickup under the saddle.
She owns a Guild 12 string Guitar, a Muse 12 string by Luna Guitars and plays a Vega 6 string Deering-Banjo. She uses medium-gauge EXP D'Addario strings.
Her engineer Tay Hoyle takes a main part in producing Genfan's CDs and accompanies her on numerous tours.