Peter Gergely, Fingerstyle Artist & YouTuber
Peter Gergely is one of the most popular Youtube Fingerstyle Artists presenting his talent to more than 600.000 subscribers. In his videos, the young man from Hungary imitates a whole band with just one instrument. He combines modern guitar playing with a cinematographic look. His popular arrangements reach out to a generation of worldwide fingerstyle guitarists and his guitar tutorials influence a whole generation of musicians. Now he got his own signature guitar from Baton Rouge. Their claim Ready for the Next Generation is an ode to the many young, talented musicians on an important social mission. Baton Rouge prioritizes musical education and the promotion of community with “the best possible guitar at the best possible price“.
gigmit: Peter, what does fingerstyle mean to you?
Peter Gergely: For me, fingerstyle is the perfect style of playing. I’ve been playing classical guitar for 6 years in the beginning. But near the end, I almost completely stopped playing. It just wasn’t for me. I’ve been playing electric guitar for 3 years on my own and also in a band. But I didn’t feel like I was performing to my fullest and so I discovered and simply HAD TO transition to fingerstyle when I first learned about it. I mean, it’s just so magical. You can basically create a whole band’s sound with just 1 person playing 1 acoustic guitar.
What is the difference to other genres or other musicians?
It’s also amazing that every artist has their unique style of playing which makes a somewhat “limited” genre extremely colourful: from people using extraordinary percussive techniques to tapping to using glider/spider/multiple capos, tons of different tunings or even using a chopstick as a bow. The possibilities are pretty much endless. You just have to think outside the box a little. There are also some aspects of convenience in there: you don’t have to fix a date and location for practice with X other people since it’s just you. You also won’t have any creative differences because again, it’s only you. You can make your song or arrangement sound exactly how you envisioned it.
But the spirit of performing together… Don’t you miss it?
That’s a fair point and I have to agree that there’s something about performing together. As a band, that’s definitely a great experience. However, I personally don’t ‘need’ it. I guess it’s because I have been in one band only. And we haven’t been playing together for that long. So I guess there was no actual time for that special bond to form between the members – well, I can only speak from my perspective of course – resulting in me not really missing it.
How important is YouTube as a channel for fingerstyle artists?
It can be a great way to start off. In these recent years, the fingerstyle genre has gained some exposure from what I could tell but still, it’s a pretty niche style of playing. So not many people are familiar with it if you’re looking at the population of the whole world. So this is why uploading to YouTube could be beneficial because people who are familiar with the genre can find your content more easily and if everything goes right your videos might go viral which results in gaining a new audience from “regular” people who perhaps never heard about fingerstyle before watching your videos. Once you have a significant amount of followers and/or revenue. The choice is yours.
Peter’s #SimpleSessions Series On YouTube
I know many people who primarily do YouTube but also there are others who mainly do live shows and just the occasional YouTube video. So really, it’s just up to personal preference. As for me, I’m more focused on YouTube than performing live but the ratio could slightly change when I finish my university studies and do YouTube and guitar full-time.
What is your relationship to the digitalisation of the music industry?
Personally, I like it. It allows lots of talented people to be discovered because this way it’s not all about your connections. The fact that the Internet connects us all is also amazing: for example, somebody from a tiny and remote town could go viral, all you need is talent and internet access – I think this is mindblowing. Of course, it’s not so simple, there are a lot of factors weighing in on somebody becoming a huge hit. For example, because it’s so easy to showcase your skills online there is a tremendous amount of people doing it, making it harder and harder to stand out once you’re starting out. All in all, though, I think the advantages of this process are far greater so I’m happy with it. Especially since I’m a part of this system too.
What characterizes your personal style?
Harmonics are a solid foundation – natural, slap and harp/artificial harmonics as well. I pretty much use them in some form in all of my arrangements. So that says a lot. I also enjoy incorporating percussive elements into my playing for the most part, but there are times when I just leave them out on purpose to completely alter the vibe of the song. This is my #SimpleSessions series. I also get many comments from my audience saying that I play with feeling and thus channelling lots of emotions through my music. So this may also count as an aspect of my style.
What are your requirements for your guitar?
I’m not really into the techy parts of the instrument. So I could only tell some basic information. What matters for me is the guitar to
- sound good – for obvious reasons
- play good – meaning it’s easy on the fingers, you don’t have to put ‘extra effort’ into just simply playing
- have a lower action – this also ties in with my previous point – and
- be aesthetically pleasing – and that’s pretty much it!
Not so different from what a lesser experienced person would say but that’s just it. If the basic aspects are solid then you’re good to go!
Now you have your own signature guitar. How did the coop with Baton Rouge come about?
It all started with a friend request on Facebook. It’s funny because I didn’t even want to accept it until a fellow player and friend of mine told me that Baton Rouge would like to get in touch with me as well. To my defence, the account had a different name! So there, it started. I’m really thankful for this cooperation because I remember I’ve been wanting to buy a new, more advanced guitar since by then I had a few bigger hits on YouTube and I was still using my first, cheap acoustic guitar.
Then I got my first Baton Rouge instrument and it basically made me fly. I definitely expanded my creativity and style of playing using these guitars. Then time went by, the collaboration was successful so I got to play more models. Throughout the years I also represented Baton Rouge in a couple of events in different places. The first one of these actually included my very first time flying on a plane. So extra shoutout for that! The peak of our cooperation though was probably my signature guitar. I guess every guitarist’s dream is to someday have a signature model of their own. For me to turn this dream into reality so soon, it felt truly amazing. The whole process was exciting, from the basic idea of creating a signature guitar to making plans and discussing the design and then to finally receive it and play it. It was just special!
And now that we are actually re-launching it because there’s demand. It just puts the biggest smile on my face. So on that note, I would like to thank Baton Rouge for everything. This is what I call successful cooperation!
What do you recommend to musicians who also strive for an endorsement?
Well, I don’t think there are any set rules for this as there are a tremendous amount of companies with a wide variety of products. But the best advice I can give is this:
Be out there!
Have a following, an audience, a fanbase that cares about your content!
Just take a look at it from a business perspective: a company endorses an artist, giving them instruments, tools, etc. whatever the case… So naturally, they are looking for their ‘investment’ to generate some profit. If you, as a musician, are looking to work with a company, I think having a good amount of followers and/or views/streams is a perfect way to showcase to the company that you are a potentially fitting partner since it signals that there are many people out there who love what you’re doing and thus will probably be open to you recommending products, etc. to them since they trust your judgement.
Peter, thank you so much for the interview!