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
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*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.


2016 Winners & Finalists Names & Videos

Congratulations to the 2016 Six String Theory Winners & Finalists!

GRAND PRIZE WINNERS (each instrument)

GUITAR (tie):      Roland Balogh (jazz)- Hungary  Video #1    Video #2

GUITAR (tie):      Carter Low (blues)- Canada     Video #1   Video #2

PIANO:                Nicolas Hetko-  New York, USA   Video #1   Video #2

BASS:                   Isaias Elpes-   USA/Brazil   Video #1     Video #2

DRUMS:               Raphael Pannier-   France   Video #1   Video #2



Jazz/Fusion Guitar Winner:   Roland Balogh- Hungary    Video #1    Video #2

Blues Guitar Winner:   Carter Low, Canada   Video #1   Video #2

Acoustic Guitar Winner:   Rhythm Shaw-  India   Video #1    Video #2

Rock Guitar Winner:  Tom Caunt- UK   Video #1    Video #2

Classical Guitar Winner:   Stephen Lee-   Indonesia   Video #1    Video #2

Rhythm Guitar Winner:  Peter Skrabak-  California, USA    Video #1    Video #2


JAZZ/FUSION GUITAR WINNER:   ROLAND BALOGH– Hungary   Video #1    Video #2

1st  Finalist:  Roman Nochevnyy- Turkmenistan   Video #1     Video #2

2nd Finalist: Pablo Romeu-  Brazil   Video #1     Video #2

3rd Finalist: Ilya Kamaldinov-  Russia     Video #1     Video #2

4th Finalist:  Eduardo Belloni-  Brazil     Video #1     Video #2

5th Finalist:  Jan Jakut- Washington, USA    Video #1     Video #2


BLUES GUITAR WINNER:   CARTER LOW– Canada   Video #1   Video #2

1st Finalist:  Hayden Fogle-  New York, USA   Video #1      Video #2

2nd Finalist: Tommy Benson-  Florida, USA     Video #1      Video #2

3rd Finalist:  Gary Cain-  Canada     Video #1      Video #2

4th Finalist: Marc Athlan- France    Video #1      Video #2

5th Finalist:  James Howard-  Washington, USA    Video #1      Video #2


ACOUSTIC GUITAR WINNER:   RHYTHM SHAW–  India    Video #1    Video #2

1st Finalist:   Sandor Nanasi-  Hungary    Video #1      Video #2

2nd Finalist:  Kris Schulz-  Canada    Video #1      Video #2

3rd Finalist:   Antonio Palumbo- Italy   Video #1      Video #2

4th Finalist:   Jamie Dupuis-  Canada    Video #1      Video #2

5th Finalist:  Dan Bankhurst- Tennessee, USA   Video #1      Video #2


ROCK GUITAR WINNER:  TOM CAUNT– UK     Video #1    Video #2

1st  Finalist:   Elmo Karjalainen-  Finland   Video #1       Video #2

2nd Finalist:  Craig Pirtle- California, USA   Video #1       Video #2

3rd Finalist:   Luke Fortini-  Italy    Video #1     Video #2

4th Finalist:   Jorge Almarales-  Florida, USA   Video #1       Video #2

5th Finalist:   Luciano Silva-  Brazil    Video #1       Video #2


CLASSICAL GUITAR WINNER:   STEPHEN LEE–   Indonesia   Video #1    Video #2

1st  Finalist:  Ricardo Giuffrida- Brazil    Video #1       Video #2

2nd Finalist: Dominic Flynn- California, USA   Video #1       Video #2

3rd Finalist:  Alex Park- California, USA   Video #1       Video #2

4th Finalist:  Giorgi Kveliashvili- Georgia (country)   Video #1       Video #2

5th Finalist:  Jasmin Lacasse Roy-  Canada   Video #1       Video #2


RHYTHM GUITAR WINNER:  PETER SKRABAK–  California, USA    Video #1    Video #2

1st  Finalist:  Viktor Geczy-  Hungary      Video #1       Video #2

2nd Finalist:  Brad Bailey- North Carolina, USA     Video #1       Video #2

3rd Finalist:   Yu Ooka- California, USA    Video #1       Video #2

4th Finalist:  Orion Meshorer – Israel      Video #1       Video #2

5th Finalist:  Jesse Sullivan- Washington, USA     Video #1       Video #2



1st  Finalist:   Michael Ragonese- California, USA     Video #1       Video #2

2nd Finalist:   Yakub Saputra- California, USA      Video #1       Video #2

3rd Finalist:   Tim Dvorkin-  Ohio, USA     Video #1       Video #2

4th Finalist:   Katarina Kochetova-  Serbia     Video #1       Video #2

5th Finalist:   Brian Clay- Tennessee, USA     Video #1       Video #2


BASS GRAND PRIZE WINNER:  ISAIAS ELPES–  USA/Brazil    Video #1     Video #2

1st   Finalist:  Bryan Ladd-  New York, USA    Video #1       Video #2

2nd Finalist: Brandon Rose-  Michigan, USA    Video #1       Video #2

3rd  Finalist:  Joe Duran-  California, USA    Video #1       Video #2

4th  Finalist:  Jacob Smith-  Texas, USA    Video #1       Video #2

5th  Finalist:  Naoki Isobe-  Japan    Video #1       Video #2



1st  Finalist:  Yesaya Soemantri – Indonesia   Video #1       Video #2

2nd Finalist:  Shedly Abraham-   New York, USA    Video #1       Video #2

3rd Finalist:  Jeroen Truyen-  Germany     Video #1       Video #2

4th Finalist:  David Hodek-  Slovakia     Video #1       Video #2

5th Finalist:  Jacori Robinson-  Texas, USA    Video #1       Video #2



First off, I would like to thank all the musicians that applied to the 2016 Six String Theory Competition. I was thrilled that 170 countries visited our website and 45 countries from around the world signed up for the competition. I personally looked at hundreds of videos the last few months and I can honestly say I’m humbled by the sheer amount of talent from around the world that joined the competition.

I’ve said this before, that in general, I don’t like competitions. Music is not about competition… It’s about giving, growing and bringing joy to other people’s lives through music. I believe with our Six String Theory Competition, we try to reach beyond the competition part to encourage musicians to share their music and have a goal to improve. We’ve had several people who have signed up previously for Six String and either not placed at all or did not reach very high in the rankings. Then we’ve had those same people apply in later years, and in some cases, place very high or even win the grand prize.

This year’s winners were an amazing diverse group of musicians and sometimes the first place, second and third were separated by a few votes. All of the judges wrote back to us that this year was very challenging because of the amazing amount of talent and diversity.

I encourage all the musicians that joined our competition to keep going forward…The gift of receiving and giving music is truly one of the most beautiful things on Earth and all of you are certainly doing just that!

-Lee Ritenour



Hi everyone! We have wrapped up the 2016 Six String Theory Competition and I want to thank everyone for taking their valuable time to vote and help out this year… I know everyone is super busy and we really appreciate the time and effort. Everyone did a fantastic job and many of you made very astute and helpful comments regarding your selections. SST was more successful than ever reaching musicians around the world. 170 countries visited the SST site and musicians from 45 countries signed up. We had winners from the US, France, England, Canada, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Hungary…definitely global!

As all of us know, the music business has radically changed, but one thing remains constant, people still love music and the musicians who make it. You are all proof of that and these young winners are certainly proof that we’re in good hands with the next generation of musicians. Thanks so much for your support! Much love, Lee

Judging in Process Now!! Winners Announced by June 7, 2016

The judges are busy going through all the applicant’s videos and making their Top 6 choices. Those scores will be combined to determine the Grand Prize Winner in each Instrument, as well as the 6 Guitar Genre Winners. Stay Tuned as Winners will be posted on the homepage of this site and on social media. The Winners will also be contacted directly via phone and/or email.  Thanks to everyone who participated- amazing talent displayed!!  Good luck everyone!

We had folks from 170 countries visit this website (out of 196 on earth!)…. and applicants from 45 countries!



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