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In celebration of his new online neo-soul, R&B, and jazz guitar master class, we decided to sit down with ESO Strap Ambassador, Nicholas Veinoglou to discuss everything under the sun - from doughnuts to gear talk.  Check it out!

ESO Strap: Berklee trained musician, huh? How does one decide to make the plunge and actually get a degree in music?  What did your musical path look like? When did you start playing, and what got you into guitar?
NICHOLAS: This might sounds pretty dark, but guitar more or less really saved me from a pretty dark time. In 7th grade I missed almost 100 days of school. My parents had gotten divorced, and I was severely depressed. The only thing that would make me feel no pain was playing the guitar. We had one laying around the house, so I would literally lock myself in my room day after day playing that thing. It was almost like a drug, and I was absolutely addicted. When I realized just how strong the power of music was (healing myself with it) I felt an overwhelming responsibility to share that feeling with anyone else who might be in a similar place. I worked really hard on making the guitar a healthy part of my life (not like a drug) and it pulled me out of that dark place. Since then, there was absolutely no question in what I would be pursuing. There has never been one single day of doubt in my life where I questioned whether or not I should be playing the guitar. When I started to get more serious, I studied classical guitar with Edward Flower for about 5 years, and actually went to berklee as a classical composition major.. I wanted to be a conductor for the symphony orchestra. I ended up changing to Jazz guitar performance because one of my classical professors told me that I wasn't "allowed" to use a specific chord voicing I was particularity fond of, and I called BS haha. I knew I needed to be playing shows and touring the world, sharing as much music as possible along the way.

Who were your biggest influences (guitar or otherwise) growing up?

Jimi Hendrix, Slash, B.B.King, Derek Trucks, Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway.

>What advice would you give to aspiring players just starting out who might be experiencing frustrations.

Realizing that everything is a process, and to enjoy that process as much as you can. Your discovery of the instrument is a budding relationship that you'll have the rest of your life. Also, never compare your playing to someone elses. Always listen to heart and play what makes you feel artistically fulfilled. Do it for YOU!

OK, enough with the softballs… Please explain the origin of the blue hair and the obsession with doughnuts?

hahah the obsession with donuts actually started when I was in high school. I was nearly flunking math class, and my teacher Ms.Dundas wouldnt let me do extra credit. So, I would buy her a dozen donuts and bring them to her on her break, asking for that extra credit worked every time. Also-try getting donuts with someone instead of grabbing a coffee or a drink. The conversations are usually way more playful and enlightening. ALSO surpising anyone with a donut will absolutely make their freaking day haha. The blue hair was more of a marketing move. I do a lot of pop touring, and we have to wear all black so its hard to feel like you can stand out or express yourself in any way (also, with the sheer volume of guitarists in LA, its good to stand out in any way you can haha). Also fun fact, blue is actually the absence of color. google it.. your mind will be blown haha


What do you most want people to know about your online course?  What do you feel are the immediate benefits of your online course vs. learning from YouTube or with a personal instructor?


My online course offers a significantly more detailed, comprehensive plan that any youtube video could offer. It's essentially 4 private-guitar lessons in one package, so you're really getting your money's worth. I've taught over 150 students privately over the last 3 years, which allowed me to really figure out how everyone learns SO differently, what works, what doesn't..and how to communicate ideas and concepts to the masses. The course has material for all styles and levels, literally from beginner to advanced.


You position your online courses as being “a master class” in NEO soul, R&B and Jazz. For those who are unsure, can you describe - What is NEO Soul to you?

Neo-soul translates to "new" soul. Its a hybrid mix of R&B, Gospel, Funk, and blues; an all-encompassing style with that head-bangingly-smooth backbeat and deep stank-face haha.

How do you balance having your own creative ambitions to write & record music with your passion for teaching others?

I literally have more creative energy that I know what to do with haha. I just love art.

What has touring with Jordan Fisher taught you about musicianship as it pertains to being in a band vs. being a solo artist?

Touring with JF has taught me more than I can begin to explain. You learn to really be a team player. You can't have a big ego on these kinds of gigs. It just wont work. You are all supporting each other in the band, and our job is to make the artist sound as AMAZING as possible.

Any projects on the horizon we should know about?

I'm actually heading out on tour with Bazzi opening for Camila Cabello starting in April, as well as hitting Lollapolooza and Bonnaroo music festivals!

We always end our interviews with a quick “what’s-your-favorite-gear-at-the-moment” segment.  So… have at it!

I have been particularly fond of Supro amps lately. I just picked up a Rhythm Master combo amp, and one of their 3-goldfoil guitars. They sound UNREAL. (especially when they're strapped to by body with ESO Strap heheh.


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