Chorus and Verse
Danny Coleman
Chorus and Verse Blog
Posted: October 21, 2009 07:43 am (-05:00)
Danny Coleman
Musician/Radio Show Host
Finger-Tapping Guitar Virtuoso Greg Merkle
[Chorus and Verse] Blog | Danny Coleman | October 17, 2009

My guest last night on installment number twenty four of ROCK ON RADIO was Trenton, NJ, guitar virtuoso GREG MERKLE.

To say that this man is talented would truly be an understatement. In all of my years involved with music and musicians I have NEVER seen anyone play an acoustic guitar in the likes of what I witnessed on this past Sunday evening.

The term "virtuoso" is extremely accurate when discussing Merkle. His "finger-tapping" style, accompanied with an uncanny ability to hit harmonic chords and notes at will, separate him from most other guitarists.

Already knowing how to play the violin, and being heavily influenced by his brother, Merkle admitted that it was "peer pressure" that led him to play the guitar. You see, his friends were all musical at a young age. So, not wanting to be the odd man out, at the age of twelve he picked up an acoustic guitar and taught himself how to play. He and his friends would sit around the basement and try to "outplay' each other, experimenting with different chords, sounds, and styles. Shortly thereafter, he went to see Stanley Jordan in concert. This influenced his unique form to this day.

Using a combination of finger-tapping, harmonics, and various chords, Merkle's sound is truly one of a kind. In 1989 he entered a contest that was sponsored by D'Addario Guitar Strings. They were looking for the best submitted guitar solo. The solos had to be of one minute or less in length. So, on a whim, Merkle recorded a fifty-eight second composition entitled "61 Wiggins St." and submitted it to the contest. He chuckled as he recounted that it was recorded and sent in on a "cassette tape."

Almost a year later, he received a phone call from D'Addario stating that he won the contest. Thinking that it was "a friend playing a trick" on him, he promptly hung up on the call. Fortunately for him, they called back. The prize he won was a trip to the NAMM Convention in California. Once there he met Richard Hoover of the Santa Cruz guitar company. Here he forged a partnership that's still in existence today. He continues to use Santa Cruz guitars, calling them "some of the most amazing instruments made today."

This helped to propel him into a musical career. Merkle began touring the U.S. opening for acts such as John Hammond, Jr., Taj Mahal, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Johnny Cash, to name a few. Proudly, yet sheepishly, admitting to me that he received calls for encores as an opening act, Merkle takes pride in these accomplishments.

His compositions (as of now) are strictly instrumental. His debut CD, "Big Guitar," is a small collection of his "huge" talent. When listening to this assemblage of intricate guitar works, keep in mind this equation: "One man + One acoustic guitar = Amazing!" Borrowing a phrase from Hollywood: "There were NO effects harmed in the making of this CD." Simply put: this is raw talent and ability, my friends.

Merkle's talents are not limited to guitar only. He dabbles in film making, video production, and graphic arts. He's provided background music for documentaries, and it's his design that graces the cover of The Hooters "Out Of Body" album. You can also add "teacher" to that list as he occasionally traverses the country giving seminars on the art of "finger-tapping." His next seminar is scheduled for November 8th in Durham, NC.

Whether you're a musician or not you should give a listen to GREG MERKLE. I offer this disclaimer: "Caution! This may cause you to become mesmerized."

"Big Guitar" is available on iTunes and CD Baby. GREG MERKLE can be found at or at

This Sunday on ROCK ON RADIO my guest is Philadelphia, PA, area musician JASON AGER (

Turn on at 10pm EST. Tune into and, as always, ROCK ON!

Quick side note: Replays of ROCK ON RADIO can now be heard on Tuesday afternoons at 2pm EST on This is a great internet music station that offers an alternative to basic FM formats. They play classics "B" sides and seldom-heard tracks from the last five decades.

Danny Coleman
Danny Coleman is a central Jersey resident and a long-time area musician. He is currently the host of Rock On Radio which airs Sunday evenings at 10pm (EST) on
Connect with Danny Coleman on:
Facebook Facebook
Myspace Myspace
Twitter Twitter
©2009, Chorus and Verse
Recent Blogs By Danny Coleman [ CLICK FOR FULL LIST ]
Hangman's Cry Rock Their Past Back Into Your Future
Linda Chorney and Tony Pallagrosi Visit Rock On Radio
Michael Dante Summonte Keeps You Wondering
The Facts About Radio Fiction
Asbury Park Legend Al-Vis On His Debut CD, Road Construction
So This Is How It Starts With Jean Mallia
Veteran Musician And Recording Artist Joe Vadala
Leah LeGrace Makes Her Radio Debut
15 Keys Visit Rock On Radio
Gerald Edward On His Debut CD, You Write The Words
US iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store
US iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store
Front Page
Content Archive
Contact Us
Chorus and Verse on LinkedIn