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

Rhythm Competition

Competition Registration Closed, Winners Were Announced June 7, 2016. Next Competition Registration Opens January 2018!  (every other year)

Welcome to the 2016 Lee Ritenour Six String Theory Rhythm Competition!

Competition is open to “Non-Professional Musicians” (see Rules for details & definition of “non-professional”). 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.

Here’s how to sign up:

  • Go to the Competition Sign Up section to fill out our online application and submit your application fee.
  • There are 3 OPTIONS FOR RHYTHM SECTION: 1) SOLO (Individual) $25 2) DUET (keyboards & bass; drums & bass, or any combination) $50 3) TRIO (keyboards, bass & drums) $75
    PLEASE NOTE: If you are part of a duo or trio, there is only one sign-in (you) and the other member’s information will be requested upon your video upload submission stage.
  • Prepare 2 videos (5 min maximum per video, no camera stops) and upload them to YouTube unless you already have them uploaded. Before you register on this site, you should have your 2 videos uploaded and have the URL links. During the registration process, you will provide the YouTube links.
  • Backing Tracks – both guitar and rhythm applicants may use backing tracks. Preferably they would be original backing tracks (or by musicians associated with the applicant) to demonstrate originality and style. But technically an applicant may use backing tracks that aren’t original.
  • It is recommended, however not required, that one of the two videos submitted be performing live with other musicians. It doesn’t have to be a public event. It gives the judges an idea on how you play with other musicians.
  • An applicant may register in both the guitar competition and rhythm competition but each would need a separate registration. Guitar applicants may also register in more than one guitar genre but would require separate registration as well.
  • If you’ve registered for the competition in a previous year (or even won as a finalist), you may register again. Former grand prize winners may not re-apply.
  • Our panel of online judges will evaluate all the videos and announce the 3 winners the first week of June, 2016.

Rhythm Section Grand Prizes for Keyboardist, Bassist, Drummer

  1. Yamaha Instrument: (or comparable models depending on inventory)
    • Keyboard Winner- Yamaha Keyboard PSRS970
    • 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 September 11, 2016, and you will fly to Tokyo after recording in Los Angeles. This prize package includes international travel, domestic transportation, work visas and Hotel accommodations for three nights.
  5. Live Performance as one of the Rhythm Sections at the 2016 Crown Guitar Workshop & Festival. Prize includes Workshop & Festival performances, Domestic Travel (within the USA), Ground Transportation, Accommodations and Meals will be provided. Dates are August 28-September 4, 2016. You will fly to Los Angeles from here for recording.  For more details see:
  6. Professional Mentoring Sessions with Lee Ritenour
  7. Monster headphones
  8. Bass Guitar Winner-  Xotic Effects Pedal  Bass RC Booster


Join The Mailing List