FELIX MARTIN, an ambidextrous, Venezuelan-born musician, is pioneering a new style of playing the electric guitar. With his self-designed 14 and 16-string guitars, Felix emulates playing two instruments as if they were one, creating a completely new sound of his own.
Felix was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, and grew up in a small town called, “Acarigua.” He started playing bass and electric guitar around the age of 12, and without access to learning materials, music teachers, or the internet, he was forced to learn everything by himself. The only tool other than his guitars was a Walkman CD player. This made his learning process slower and harder, but that led Felix to be creative, and to develop his own sounds from scratch.
Due to his struggles in playing classical guitar, he imagined himself playing two guitars simultaneously, like a piano, using the tapping technique, instead of the traditional fingerstyle technique. He started developing strength and independence in each finger, using both hands to play classical and pop tunes on a stock Fender Stratocaster guitar. It always felt natural to him. Shortly after, he started playing two regular 6-string guitars simultaneously, as there were more possibilities for new sounds. Felix’s early influences were Venezuelan Folk Music, Progressive Rock, and Jazz.
After graduating from high school, Felix was granted a scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Without even speaking the language well, he moved to Boston when he was 17 years old to study music theory and production. During his time at Berklee, he constantly wrote music and played shows on campus with his classmates, Kilian Duarte, JP Bouvet, Nathan Navarro, and others.
Due to his particular way of playing, Felix had the idea of designing his own type of guitar since the very beginning. He felt he needed two guitars with the exact same sound in one whole guitar. This would open up a lot of possibilities and new sounds for the instrument. He started designing and building several models with different luthiers around the world, and after a long search, Felix met Canadian luthier JP Laplante. Laplante strongly supported Felix’s unique vision, and started building several guitars for him. These guitars greatly helped Felix develop the guitar designs that would be ergonomically correct and would sound best for his unique technique.
Felix’s signature guitars consist of models using either 14 or 16 strings. The 14-string guitars are either two 7-string guitars, or an 8-string and a 6-string together in one wide neck. The 16-string guitars share the same concept, but with a wider range. They are either two 8-strings, or a 9-string and a 7-string together in one wide neck.
Directly after graduating from Berklee, Felix was signed to the world-renowned label, Prosthetic Records, and began touring all over the USA, Europe, and South America. His band of Berklee Alumni, including multiple drummers and bassist Kilian Duarte, played festivals such as, Progressive Nation (invited by Mike Portnoy), SXSW, Euroblast, Tech-Fest and many more. Felix’s band has also opened for bigger acts including, Steve Vai, and Mike Portnoy’s projects.
Felix is pushing music into new boundaries by mixing Rock and Metal with different styles of Jazz, Progressive, World, Latin, Fusion, etc. The uniqueness of his guitars and technique allow him to create distinctive sounds that make his music one-of-a-kind.
Felix Martin and his band are currently recording a highly anticipated self-titled album, and will be touring with the album’s release.