2018 Competition Winners

The 2018 Six String Winners completed their Prize Package which included all-expense paid trips to: Los Angeles, St. Moritz, Switzerland and Tokyo, Japan. They started in July 2018 performing with Lee Ritenour at the St. Moritz Jazz Festival. Then they came to Los Angeles for an action packed 10 day trip with the winners flying in from 5 countries and several US cities. It kicked off with rehearsal at the famed SIR Rehearsal Studios in Hollywood. The next day was a recording with Lee Ritenour at the legendary Sunset Sound Recording Studios in Hollywood recording 4 tracks. The next day the whole group headed to Anaheim for 4 days at the NAMM Convention Center to be Yamaha clinicians and performers. They performed individually and as a group on the Yamaha stage as well as in Yamaha booths and Starbucks lobby stage. They headed back to Hollywood for a performance with Lee Ritenour at the renowned Catalina Jazz Club on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Last up was flying to Tokyo to perform with Lee Ritenour at the world renowned Blue Note Tokyo Jazz Club!

Note From Lee:

I would like to thank all the musicians that applied to the 2018 Six String Theory Competition! This year SST welcomed visitors from 182 countries. It was truly an incredible experience watching, listening and learning from all of you around the world. I am humbled by the sheer amount of talent that’s out there today. You are creating a global music community that is powerful & inspirational with new and fresh concepts.

A little bit about the voting … Competitions are difficult … (I’ve never personally liked them :)) They have to be experienced as a way to gauge your own growth. Similar to the previous competition, this year’s winners were an amazing diverse group and sometimes the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place was separated by single digits. Most of the judges wrote back to us that it was incredibly challenging to pick one over another. There were so many talented people that joined the competition. Keep learning, growing and loving music. The gift of receiving and sharing music is one of the most fulfilling things we can experience …

9 Grand Prize Winners

Jazz Guitar: Cecil Alexander (USA)
Rock Guitar: Johannes Persson (Sweden)
Blues Guitar: Hayden Fogle (USA)
Acoustic Guitar: Eric Jayne (USA)
Classical Guitar: Hedvika Svendova (Czech, France)
Rhythm Guitar: Kaspar Jalily (France)
Piano: Holger Marjamaa (Estonia, USA)
Bass: Petar Pera Krstajic (Serbia, USA)
Drums: Euan Leslie (Scotland, USA)


Jazz Guitar

2- Jared Sachs (USA)
3- Ely Perlman (Israel)
4- Matt Chandler (UK)
5- Matt Landon (USA)

Also Placed: Matteo Prefumo (Italy), Michael Gonzalez (USA), Quentin Angus (USA), Robin Snyder (USA), Roy Ben Bashat (Israel), Vicente Barra (Chile)

Rock Guitar

2- Kaspar Jalily (France)
3- Joel Kent (UK)
4- Ramon Luis Galang (Phillipines)
5- Tatiana Para (Brazil)

Also Placed: David Saborio (USA), Kiriakos Bouloubasis (Greece), Marco Pisani (Italy), Scarcella Julian (Germany)

Blues Guitar

2- Chase Walker (USA)
3- Bryson Taylor (USA)
4- Nate Lupi (USA)
5- Leander Hjerpas (Norway)

Also Placed: Camden Gonzales (USA), Sebastian Fernandez (USA)

Acoustic Guitar

2- Nick Johnson (USA)
3- Allen Do (USA)
4- Antonio Palumbo (Italy)
5- Ricardo Giuffrida (Brazil)

Also Placed: Emma Dean Moseley (USA), Joseph Lynch (USA), Sotos Bakas (Netherlands)

Classical Guitar

2- Kevin Loh (Singapore)
3- Yago Santos (Spain)
4- Silviu Ciulei (USA)
5- Roxane Elfasci (France)

Also Placed: Giovanni Piacentini (Mexico, USA), Ivan Petricevic (Germany), Ricardo Giuffrida (Brazil), Zviad Inashvili (Georgia)


2- Raphael Braga De Jesus (Brazil)
3- Orlando Bonzi (Spain)
4- George Collins (UK)
5- Robert Adams, Jr. (USA)

Also Placed: Kenneth Rubenstein (USA)


2- Chase Morrin (USA)
3- Marcio Garcia (USA)
4- Hari Kim (South Korea)
5- Brian Clay (USA)

Also Placed: Emanuel Smith (USA), Minji Kim (USA), Yusuke Yabui (Japan), Zoltan Balogh (Hungary)

Bass Guitar

2- Pablo Contreras (Chile)
3- Erkinbek Kydykbaev (Kyrgyzstan)
4- Raphael Braga De Jesus (Brazil)
5- Bruno Vellozo da Silva (Brazil)

Also Placed: Ciara Moser (Austria), Issah Contractor (Canada), Anton Shcherbakov (Russia)


2- George Kapanadze (Georgia)
3- Archibald Ligonniere (France)
4- Conor Malloy (USA)
5- Antonio Lambright Jr (USA)

Also Placed: Diego Alvarez Zuniga (Chile), Felipe Fraga (USA)

Congratulations to our 2018 Berklee College of Music Scholarship Winners:
Emma Moseley- 4 Year Scholarship
Hedvika Svendova – Individual Course Scholarship
Euan Leslie – Certificate Scholarship

Featured Text Box for Homepage

Thank you for visiting our website and signing up for the competition. At Six String Theory, our goal is to create a platform for everyone to perform, improve and learn from other musicians around the world.

While this is a Guitar, Piano, Bass and Drum competition, (and there are certainly amazing prizes), the real challenge lies within yourself … to get better, grow, improve, and stay passionate.

With my experience of 50 years, plus the combined knowledge of our esteemed judges, we’re supporting aspiring musicians…through performances, mentoring, education, & recording. We look forward to watching everyone’s videos! Let’s get started…

-Lee Ritenour

Download SST Blues from Lee and the Six String Theory Winners

Here’s a gift of thanks to all my fans and friends, and a celebration of the Six String Theory Competition winners 2016. This is a brand-new tune I wrote called “SST Blues” and features winners Roland Balogh & Carter Low on Guitar, Nicolas Hetko on B3 Organ, Isaias Elpes on Bass and Raphael Pannier on Drums.

Also included is a short, behind the scenes video of the SST winners and myself at our recording session in Malibu, CA in September 2016 as part of the prize package. This track will go on my next album but there’s no reason to hold it back in the meantime, so please enjoy this as a free gift of music along with my very best wishes for everyone in 2017. Huge hugs to all the fans that I met around the world this year & those that participated in and/or supported the SST competition and myself- thank you so, so much!
-Lee Ritenour

Download SST Blues: WAV version | MP3 version
Right-click and select “Save Link As …” to download to your computer

*Continued gratitude to our Sponsors, who make the competition possible: Yamaha USA (YCA) , Yamaha Japan (YCJ), Berklee College of Music, Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival & Workshop (COC), Blue Note Tokyo, Monster, D’Addario, Premier Guitar, , Music Connection, Jazziz, Concord Music Group, Guitar HD, Woodshed Recording Studio, True Fire and Xotic Effects Pedals.


2016 Grand Prize Winners from Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory Competition Recorded & Filmed at Woodshed Recording Studios in Malibu, California September 2016.

Track “SST BLUES” Produced, Composed and Arranged by Lee Ritenour, Rit of Habeas Music- ASCAP (Copyright 2016)

Lee Ritenour – Guitar
Roland Balogh – Guitar (Hungary)
Carter Low – Guitar (Canada)
Nicolas Hetko – B3 Organ (USA)
Isaias Elpes – Bass (Brazil)
Raphael Pannier – Drums (France)

Audio: Recorded and Mixed by Don Murray
Video Produced, Filmed & Edited by Kim Huynh
Project Management: Sharleen Bazeghi
Studio: Woodshed Recording Studios, Malibu, CA.

Sponsors: Yamaha USA (YCA), Yamaha Japan (YCJ), Berklee College of Music, Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival & Workshop (COC), Blue Note Tokyo, Monster, D’Addario, Premier Guitar, Music Connection, Jazziz, Concord Music Group, Guitar HD, Woodshed Recording Studio, True Fire and Xotic Effects Pedals.


2014 Six String Theory Competition Winners & Finalists

4 GRAND PRIZE WINNERS (1 in each instrument):


GUITAR: Antal Pusztai — Budapest, Hungary | Video #1 | Video #2

PIANO: Giorgi Mikadze — Tbilisi, Georgia (Boston) | Video #1 | Video #2

BASS: Dywane Thomas Jr. “MonoNeon” — Tennessee, USA | Video #1 | Video #2

DRUMS: Kenneth Salters — New York, USA | Video #1 | Video #2




Classical WinnerAntal Pusztai  — Budapest, Hungary | Video #1 | Video #2


Jazz WinnerRoman Nochevnyy — Ashgabat, Turkmenistan | Video #1 | Video #2


Rock Winner:  Damir Puh — Tetovo, Macedonia | Video #1    Video #2


Acoustic Winner:  Max Godman — Mumbai, India | Video #1 | Video #2



Country Winner: Brooks Robertson — Oregon, USA | Video #1 | Video #2



Blues Winner-   Johan Borgh — Stockholm, Sweden | Video #1 | Video #2



Piano Winner: Giorgi Mikadze  — Tbilisi, Georgia (Boston) | Video #1 | Video #2 


Bass Winner: Dywane Thomas Jr. “MonoNeon” — Memphis, TN, USA | Video #1 | Video #2


Drum Winner Kenneth Salters — New York, USA | Video #1 | Video #2 

  • 1st Runner Up: Jordan Rose — New York, USA | Video #1 | Video #2
  • 2nd Runner Up: Tito Pascoal — Cascais, Portugal (Tennessee) | Video #1 | Video #2
  • 3rd Runner Up: Adrian Cota — Guasave Sinaloa, Mexico | Video #1
  • 4th Runner Up: Daniel Nadeau — Massachusetts, USA | Video #1 | Video #2
  • 5th Runner Up: Daniel Susnjar — Dianella, Western Australia | Video #1 | Video #2

*Please Note about BERKLEE scholarships:  Applicants considered by Berklee for the scholarships that indicated interest on the registration form includes all winners, semi-finalists as well as applicants not placed in the semi-finals. Berklee will contact applicants directly inviting them to apply.


Note To All Participants From Lee Ritenour:

First off, a huge thanks for everyone’s participation in this year’s Six String Theory competition! This was by far our biggest turn out in four years and thanks to our incredible sponsors and the work of the SST team, not only did we have our biggest turn out, but also received videos from 48 countries!

Included here is the alphabetical (by first name) list of our semi finalists in each category that will be judged and voted on by our incredible board of artists and educators. Personally, I’ve been watching the videos since January, when they started rolling in, including, all the way through the last day! I was truly humbled by the amazing talent on these videos! I had the best seat in the house and learned a lot!

If you start counting up the semi finalists, you will see that all guitar categories but country, we have more than six semi finalists, as originally planned. There were just too many good musicians and we had to expand the semi finalist lists. We also have additional semi finalists for the Rhythm Competition in piano, bass and drums. For everyone that made the semi finalist list there was another 10 in each category that was one breath away from being a semi finalist too… it was that competitive!

And by the way, just to let everyone know, ever since I was a kid, I’ve hated competitions! LOL!  I think they are contradictory to musicians bringing joy to the world, by making music. But, in today’s world, musicians need all the help they can get with exposure and I would like to think that SST tries to do that for all of you. I truly believe, all of you were winners by just joining the competition and trust me, a lot of people have been checking out your videos!

One note about YouTube… The videos varied incredibly in quality and sound. We tried to get past the inferior quality that some came in with and only concentrate on the performance.  The range was amazing, to almost total pro, picture and sound, & then all the way to the distorted cell phone capturing a band from way back in the club with the audience being louder than the musicians :-). I think in today’s world presentation is extremely important and it is absolutely not necessary to spend a lot of money to make a professional video, but the sound of your instrument and the way it is recorded is part of the process of being a great musician… So always keep that in mind when your YouTube videos are going viral around the world! 🙂

This contest would never have existed when I was getting started. One of my first big contests was the Hollywood Bowl “Battle of the Bands” in Los Angeles when I was a teenager… We came in second to a group called the Carpenters… Richard playing piano and Karen Carpenter playing drums (not singing yet)… their hits would come later. That was the kind of exposure then & now we watch videos every day from all over the world… absolutely amazing!

Once again, thanks so much for everyone’s participation… The finalists and runner ups will be announced on June 1, 2014.  Good luck!

– Lee


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