(Rhythm Competition is in Piano/Keyboards, Bass and Drums)

Effective January 15 to May 20, 2016


SPONSORS: The Lee Ritenour Six String Theory Guitar Competition (the “Contest”) is sponsored by Yamaha Corporation; Berklee College of Music; Blue Note Tokyo; Crown Guitar Festival; Concord Records; Premier Guitar Magazine; Monster; D’Addario String Company, Jazziz Magazine, Music Connection, True Fire, Xotic Effects, Woodshed Recording Studio and Guitar HD  (collectively, the “Sponsors”), subject to the following terms and conditions.

ELIGIBILITY: Entrants must be sixteen (16) years of age or older at the time of entry, and possess a valid form of identification (no top age limit). Entrants under the age of eighteen (18) shall require parental consent to participate. Invalid or ineligible entries shall be excluded from consideration. Employees of Sponsors, their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliated companies, and agents, and foregoing employees’ household or immediate family members (defined as parent, spouse, child, sibling, or grandparent) are NOT eligible to enter Contest. By their submission of entry, Entrants warrant they are legally entitled and authorized to make such submission on their own behalf. In the event of a dispute as to the winner’s identity, entries will be deemed made by the holder of the email account associated with the entry. Void where prohibited by law or restricted. Subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.

The Contest is open to Non-Professional and Semi-Professional Musicians (Pianist, Bassist, Drummer) of all nationalities. Entrants may submit as Piano or Keyboard (Rhodes, etc.); Electric or Acoustic Bass or Drum set. Contest is not open for Percussion. Entrants may not be Professional Musicians and may not be signed to any major label with world-wide distribution. Professional Musicians are defined as a musician who is making 100% of his/her living from professional musical endeavors such as teaching musical lessons (i.e. 30-60 full-time students); touring full-time with a band; doing session work full-time (records, TV, film, commercials, pit orchestras, etc). For example, if a musician teaches a few students or performs some gigs, shows or sessions, they would not necessarily be considered a Professional Musician. We realize it is subjective defining what a “Non-Professional Musician” is but we are providing some general definitions for guidance. The qualifications of a Non-Professional Musician will ultimately be the discretion of the Six String Theory Management Team. The “Rhythm Section” will be personally selected by Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin and the Advisory Judges.

TIMING: Contest begins on January 15, 2016 and continues until May 20, 2016 (extended from May 15 to 20th). Entries must be received by 11:59pm (EST) on May 20, 2016 to be eligible. Winners will be announced the first week of June 2016.

How To Enter:

Entrants must submit two (2) unedited YouTube Videos, no longer than 5 minutes each and no camera stops, by registering at: http://www.sixstringtheory.com. Entrants may perform on any Keyboard instrument (Piano, Rhodes, etc.), Acoustic or Electric Bass or Drum set and in any contemporary music style (such as jazz, fusion, R & B, rock, blues, etc.). The contest is not open to Percussion. All Keyboard, Bass and Drum Entrants must register individually.

Individuals or Solo Applicants: It is permissible to submit a solo instrument track as one of the two videos. We do recommend the other video be performing with a band of some configuration. A “band” could be defined as a duo, trio, quartet, or quintet (no big bands please). Backing tracks are acceptable but preferably they would be original backing tracks (or by musicians associated with the applicant) to demonstrate originality and style. But an applicant may use backing tracks that aren’t original. When applying via the website, there will be a box to check to apply as an Individual/Solo. In this category, each applicant will be judged solely on their instrument even though they are performing with other musicians.

Duo or Trio Applicants: You can also apply as a duo or trio with any of the Rhythm Section instrument combinations. There will only be ONE application necessary to register for a duo or trio. When registering, there will be a box to check should you like to be considered as a duo or trio. On the form, there will be indicators to check for each specific musician, instrument played and the application fee (i.e. $50 for Duo; $75 for Trio). The requirement is still a total of Two (2) YouTube videos in total. We reserve the right to choose any individual musician from the duo or trio or any combination thereof and we are not bound to select the entire duo or trio.

Entries may be comprised of original songs or covers. It is acceptable to submit a non-original composition; provided that it will not be accepted if it is found that an entrant is “copying” the performance of another artist. In all entries, the interpretation of the melody and solo of that song must be original in flavor and content. Only one registration allowed per applicant (which could be a duo or trio). If multiple registrations are submitted, only the first submission will be considered, and all entries subsequent to the original submission will be void. The following must accompany each application in order for your entry to be complete: 1) Applicant’s address, email, telephone number, and age; and 2) a non-refundable application fee of USD $25.00 (or $50 as a duet; $75 as a trio), submitted via credit card through “SixStringTheory.com.” Incomplete entries will not be considered. Applicants should retain copies of all materials sent with their entries. Sponsors will accept no responsibility for lost entries. No submissions will be returned. All entries (video and audio submissions) will become the usage of Six String Theory competition (not the rights or publishing). For any questions regarding the Application Process, please contact us at: 6stringtheory@gmail.com.

CATEGORIES AND JUDGING: Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin and other members of the Six String Theory team will judge all of the Rhythm Section entries and determine the top 6 in each instrument (totaling 18). The top 6 finalists for each instrument will then be judged and ranked (1 thru 6) by the “Rhythm Section Advisory Judges” of: Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Daniel Jobim, Jesse Milliner, Larry Goldings, Patrice Rushen, John Patitucci, Melvin Lee Davis, Nathan East, Tom Kennedy, Victor Bailey, Chris Coleman, Dave Weckl, Gary Novak, Harvey Mason, Alan Pasqua, Oscar Seaton, Simon Phillips, Sonny Emory, Abe Laboriel, Jr., Will Kennedy and others. The top ranked, grand prize winner in piano, bass and drums will be determined by the votes of the judges.

The entrant’s videos will be evaluated on the basis of technique, interpretation and artistry in the suggested categories of: Jazz, R & B, Fusion, Rock, Blues or Contemporary genres. No Classical Entries in this category will be considered. The winner from each instrument as selected by the judges will be contacted by email and/or phone no later than June 1, 2016. If you are an Entrant residing outside of the United States, please be reminded that you may require a visa. The Sponsors are not responsible for processing visas or other travel documentation. Sponsors reserve the right to reject any entry that they deem in their sole discretion to be vulgar, profane, offensive, or inappropriate. All decisions of the judges are final.

PRIZES AND ODDS: There will be 3 Grand Prize Winners:  1 Pianist/Keyboardist, 1 Bassist, 1 Drummer. Winners will be traveling for performances and recording from the dates of August 28 through September 12, 2016 to Montana, Los Angeles and Tokyo, Japan.

Grand Prizes:

  1. Yamaha Instrument:  (or comparable models depending on inventory)
    • Keyboard Winner- Yamaha Keyboard TPSRS970
    • Bassist Winner- Yamaha Electric Bass TRBX504
    • Drummer Winner- Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5 piece drum kit
  2. Berklee College of Music Scholarships- The 3 rhythm grand prize winners may be selected by Berklee College of Music to apply for the scholarships. All must meet Berklee eligibility requirements (see Rules & Regulations for details).
  3. Recording a track on Lee Ritenour’s forthcoming album to be recorded September 6, 2016 in Los Angeles. Travel, lodging and stipend are included in the prize. The recording will take place at the incredible Woodshed Recording Studio in Malibu, California. One of the most beautiful and unique studios in Southern California, complete with state of the art equipment and the most scenically stunning of environment where the likes of Sting, U2, Peter Gabriel, Lenny Kravitz, Barbra Streisand, Neil Young, Kanye West, Sam Elliott and Coldplay have recorded there.
  4. The opportunity to perform for one night with Lee Ritenour and up-and-coming All-Star musicians from Japan at the legendary Blue Note Tokyo! This performance will be on September 11, 2016 and you will fly from Los Angeles to Tokyo. This prize package includes international travel, domestic transportation, work visas and Hotel accommodations for three nights. Further details TBD.
  5. Live Performance as one of the Rhythm Sections at the 2016 Crown Guitar Workshop & Festival. Prize includes Workshop, Festival performance, Domestic Travel (within the USA), Ground Transportation, Accommodations and Meals will be provided.  Dates are August 28-September 4, 2016.  You will travel to Los Angeles for recording after this. This is a prize for one each of the top 6 semi-finalists in the piano, bass and drum categories to be selected by Lee Ritenour and Crown Guitar Festival & Workshop.  For more details see: www.crownguitarfest.org
  6. Professional Mentoring Sessions with Lee Ritenour
  7. Monster headphones
  8. Bass Guitar Winner- Xotic Effects Pedal Bass RC Booster

Rhythm Section grand prize winners will be notified by June 1, 2016. If any winner is deemed a minor in the state or country of his/her residence, prize may be awarded to his/her parent/legal guardian. All federal, state and local taxes on prizes are solely the responsibility of winners. All prizes shall be awarded. The odds of winning depend on the number of Entrants.

Berklee College Of Music Scholarships:

*Current Berklee College of Music students are not eligible for the scholarships but may still register for the competition

In support of Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory Competition, Berklee will provide one (1) four-year full tuition scholarship to the Grand Prize Winner of the International Competition in either guitar, piano/keyboards, bass or drums. In addition, Berklee will provide three (3) $20,000 scholarships to the three runners up ($20,000 annually towards tuition for 4 years = $80,000).  Berklee will select one guitarist, one pianist, one bassist and one drumset player to receive the four (4) scholarships choosing from a pool of six (6) finalists from each instrument- guitar, piano, bass & drums. The Berklee candidate selected may or may not be the grand prize winner of the SST contest in that instrument but will be chosen from the top six (6) in each instrument. *Berklee may also offer additional scholarships to any of the top applicants in each instrument, beyond the competition scholarships. Disclaimer: SST contest applicants do not have to participate in the Berklee scholarship program in order to apply and/or win the Six String Theory Guitar & Rhythm Section Competition. Likewise, the winners of the Berklee scholarship program may or may not be the grand prize winners of each instrument as they will be chosen from the pool of six (6) in each instrument according to Berklee eligibility requirements and criteria. A Berklee representative will participate as a member of the Six String Theory Guitar & Rhythm Section Advisory Judges, and the Berklee Scholarship Committee will select the four (4) scholarship recipients from the list of finalist candidates identified by the Rhythm Section Advisory Judges and SST Guitar Judges.

Students currently attending other universities are eligible to win the scholarships. There is a maximum credit transfer limit of 24 credits. Other than some music history and music business courses, Berklee does not award transfer credits for music courses.

If you feel you have expertise in a music course, you may speak with the relevant department chair at Berklee about the possibility of credit by exam. Core music material (harmony, arranging) can test out levels, so you don’t have to start to at first level if advanced.

Here is the section on Berklee website listing criteria of what is transferable: http://www.berklee.edu/admissions/transfer-credit

Disclaimer: SST contest applicants do not have to participate in the Berklee scholarship program in order to apply and/or win the Six String Theory Guitar & Rhythm Section Competition. Likewise, the winners of the Berklee scholarship program may or may not be the grand prize winners of each instrument as they will be chosen from the pool of six (6) in each instrument according to Berklee eligibility requirements and criteria. A Berklee representative will participate as a member of the Six String Theory Guitar & Rhythm Section Advisory Judges, and the Berklee Scholarship Committee will select the four (4) scholarship recipients from the list of finalist candidates identified by the Rhythm Section Advisory Board and SST Guitar Judges.

Eligible Students:

To qualify, applicants must demonstrate outstanding performance abilities on guitar, piano, bass, or drumset through an initial submission of video/audio material to the Six String Theory Website. The Six String Theory Guitar & Rhythm Section Advisory Judges will identify twenty-four finalists from all the submissions, and the finalists will be required to apply to Berklee’s undergraduate program in order to be considered for the Berklee scholarships. Applicants are required to complete an audition and interview with Berklee and submit their academic transcripts in order to be reviewed for admission to Berklee College of Music.

After finalists have applied to Berklee and are accepted by the Board of Admissions, they will be reviewed by the Berklee Scholarship Committee (6 from each instrument- guitar, piano, bass & drums) to be considered for a Berklee scholarship. Berklee will determine which will be the grand prize winner (full tuition, 4 yr scholarship) and which 3 will be the runner-ups ($20,000, 4 yr scholarship). Berklee may also choose to award additional scholarships to candidates beyond the competition prize scholarships. Ideal candidates will be high school seniors or recent high school graduates. Recipients must apply and be admitted by Berklee’s Board of Admissions in order to use the award. Already enrolled Berklee students are not eligible to receive this award. All scholarships awarded are for four years of study at Berklee in the undergraduate degree or diploma program.  Scholarships are not applicable to Berklee Online or Berklee Master’s Programs.  All candidates must be eligible for undergraduate study in the United States and have completed secondary school prior to July 1, 2016.


All submissions for contest registration must be received by May 20, 2016 at sixstringtheory.com. The finalists will be notified by Six String Theory the first week of June, 2016. The top applicants in each instrument will be notified by Berklee on mid-June, 2016 and invited to apply to Berklee. Candidates must apply to Berklee by July 1, 2016. Decisions for students accepted to the spring semester 2017 are issued on September 15, 2016 and Scholarship decisions will be issued after applicants are formally accepted to the college. Berklee may choose to award additional scholarships beyond the Six String Theory Competition prize package scholarships.

NOTIFICATION: Within ten (10) days of winner notification, and prior to the Recording date, all winners must complete, execute and return the provided Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release (plus any additional documents required at the discretion of Sponsors). Failure to comply with the requirements of this paragraph (or the return of any prize or prize notification as non-deliverable) may result in disqualification and in the forfeiture of any right to a prize, in which case prize will be awarded to an alternate entrant chosen by the judges. The names of the winners will be available for one (1) year after award of prizes by sending a self-addressed envelope with sufficient prepaid postage to:

Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory Competition
Attn: Winners List
280 S. Beverly Dr., Suite 409
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

RELEASE: By participating in the Contest and/or accepting a prize, the Entrants (or Entrant’s parent/legal guardian if any Entrant is deemed a minor in the state or country of his/her residence) agree to defend, release and hold harmless the Sponsors and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, divisions, advertising and promotion agencies, and the foregoing companies’ officers, directors, shareholders, employees, representatives and agents (collectively “Releasees”) from and against any actions, claims and/or liability for injury, loss or damage of any kind, (including the violation or infringement of any proprietary or personal right of any individual or entity) resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from participation in the Contest, and/or the use, acceptance, or possession of a Contest prize, and/or participation in a Contest prize-related activity, including any action, claim or liability arising from the unauthorized submission of any information. By participating in the Contest and/or accepting a prize, Entrants (or Entrant’s parent/legal guardian if any entrant is deemed a minor in the state or country of his/her residence) consent to and give the Sponsors the right to use, publish, and display a winner’s (and where applicable an entrant’s) name, likeness, video submission, city and state, and prize awarded, for the purpose of advertising, trade, publicity and promotional purposes in any media now known or hereafter discovered, worldwide, and on the Web, without review, notification or approval, all without additional consideration, unless prohibited by law.

CONDITIONS: Neither the Sponsors nor their respective agencies or affiliates are responsible for lost, late, damaged, destroyed, delayed, stolen, misdirected, incomplete entries, or for lost, interrupted or unavailable network, server or other connections, miscommunications, failed telephone or computer hardware or software or other technical failures, unauthorized human intervention, garbled or jumbled transmissions or other errors of any kind, whether human, mechanical or electronic, including without limitation, the incorrect or inaccurate capture of entry information online regardless of cause. Sponsors reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to cancel, suspend, or modify the Contest if it becomes corrupted in any manner such that it cannot be conducted as originally planned and, in such event, to select winners from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by Sponsors. In such event, Sponsors shall have no liability to any Entrant who is disqualified due to such an action. ANY ATTEMPT BY ANY PERSON TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE THE WEBSITE OR ONLINE ENTRY SYSTEM, OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST IS IN VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND IF SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSORS RESERVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK REMEDIES AND DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, INCLUDING CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

Sponsors reserve the right to modify these Official Rules for clarification purposes without materially affecting the term and conditions of the Contest. Failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.

LAW: The Contest is subject to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited or restricted. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation, and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of Entrants or Sponsor in connection with any award, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with the laws of, the State of California, without regard to conflict of law principles. Any cause of action by you with respect to the offer (and/or any information, products or services related thereto) must be instituted within one (1) year after the cause of action arose or be forever waived and barred. All actions shall be subject to the limitations set forth above. The language in these Official Rules shall be interpreted as in accordance with its fair meaning and not strictly for or against either party. All legal proceedings arising out of or in connection with the Contest or these Official Rules shall be brought solely in Los Angeles County, California. You expressly submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of said courts and consent to extraterritorial service of process.

LANGUAGE: English is the primary language of the Contest.

QUESTIONS:  Please email 6stringtheory@gmail.com

Six String Theory Official Sponsors

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