Playing sitar is similar to guitar says Batio

Updated: Oct 31, 2010, 13:39 PM IST

New Delhi: He is considered one of the world`s greatest guitarist and has studied Indian music in school. Double guitar inventor Michael Angelo Batio says that playing this western string instrument is not too different from our very own sitar.

"I had a bass player on my team who used to play the sitar and I have tried it as well. Since both guitar and sitar are stringed instruments, the experience of playing them is not very different. I am sure I can play it well, even though the tonal notes of a guitar is very different from that of a sitar," Batio told reporters.

Although he doesn`t know too many Indian musicians, the 54-year-old American guitarist is a fan of sitar legend Ravi Shankar.

Batio, aka Mike or MAB, is a Progressive Rock and Heavy Metal guitarist who began his life in music by playing the piano at the age of five. His name is listed in the "Top 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" by Guitar World Magazine.

On his very first visit to India to perform as a part of Tuborg Vh1 God`s of Guitar, Batio says he found the country extremely beautiful and the food delicious.

"India is beautiful. I had seen pictures before and heard a lot about it. But you don`t get to know how it is unless you get here. The food is also great," said Batio.

He was on a three-city tour here - Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad - performing his signature heavy metal style, a genre of music which is not too popular among the masses here. But Batio hopes more such concerts will attract listeners.

"In today`s world, every kind of music find its own listeners and different genres have their own niche audience. If there are good concerts held here, then I am sure people will listen to heavy metal also," he said.

Batio is most famous for his inventions - the double guitar (two guitars in one) and the Quad guitar (four in one)- which he plays using both hands simultaneously.

"After I invented the double guitar, somebody else came up with a three in one. Then my record company said that we should do something more and they joked, `Why dont you do
four?` And thats how the Quad came into being," said the ambidextrous artiste.

Batio founded the band `Nitro` with bassist TJ Racer and drummer Bobby Rock in the late eighties and started his own recording label in the nineties. He has collaborated with many famous guitarists and rock bands, Aerosmith being his favourite.

PTI