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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Crawling King Snake - Jon Dretto with the Bravuras

Jonathan “Jon” Dretto started playing guitar at age 8 and now, at just 15, is the hottest young player in Upstate, New York. Jon calls his style “Nuclear Blues”. His broad range of influences includes Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Michael Lee Firkins and classic Bluesmen like Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughn and BB King. Beginning in the summer of 2010, Jon began playing in Upstate, New York area blues jams. He soon found he could hold his own with the “big boys” and as word got around, he became a frequent guest with several Rochester and Buffalo area bands. Jon has been a frequent on-stage guest of his friend and mentor, Chet Catallo, former Spyro Gyra guitarist and has performed with a number of well-known blues artists including Davy Knowles and the Nighthawks. Jon’s middle school music teacher made him aware of an audition in June, 2012, at a Syracuse New York music store, for the opportunity to perform with the Paul Reed Smith company band, the Rocky Mountain Stoneflies on the big stage at the Watkins Glen 2012 Grand Am. The audition was hosted by InTune Magazine and PRS Guitars. Jon took the top honors and was awarded a PRS guitar and amp. He performed to a crowd of over 10,000 and was joined on stage by British blues artist Davy Knowles. Jon describes it as “The best night of my life.” After the event, Jon’s Dad-Manager, John, and PRS Management stayed in touch. Jack Higginbotham, PRS President, had expressed an interest in Jon, early on. Because of Jon’s age and the inherent age-related issues, it took several months to put a deal together. Jon was signed as a PRS Artist in the summer of 2013. He uses PRS guitars and amplifiers exclusively and is working with the company to create greater awareness of the PRS brand, especially to artists in Jon’s demographic. It is believed Jon is the youngest artist ever signed by a major American guitar company. Jon stays very busy. He has performed at a number of New York State blues festivals and has traveled Canada extensively, including performing at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, for the 100th Grey Cup Gala. The Grey Cup is the Canadian equivalent of the American Super Bowl. Jon’s favorite guitars are a PRS 408MT Artist Model with an all rosewood neck, ebony fret board in Eriza Verde and a PRS P22 solid body, figured maple 10 top, rosewood fret board, a PRS/LR Baggs piezo system in Black Gold Burst. He also plays the new S2 Custom 24 solid body. Jon’s favorite amp is the PRS 2 Channel SE 30 Combo, all tube, with a 12” speaker. For bigger venues he performs with a PRS SE 50 head and one or two 2 x 12 PRS SE cabinets. Jon is all boy and well-rounded. He has earned his 3rd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and loves to skateboard, swim and bike ride. He’s a fan of old movies and TV shows like Sherlock Holmes and The Honeymooners. Jon is a member of the Western New York Blues society and The Blues foundation. Jon is in the 10th grade at Webster Thomas High School, Webster, New York.  

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