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“I am a guitar player. I do not try to run away from that fact.”

Quote from Guitar.com

Ariel Posen Player Spotlight. Original image by Lynette Giesbrecht

In this edition we shift our interests towards a truly majestic magician; a man of the master Class, the sideman slide man who has come into his own in recent years.  Crowned a modern day guitar hero by Rolling Stone Magazine along with being one of the 10 greatest rock guitarists in the world today!

Having taken the online world by storm he continues to push the boundaries and progress through platforms from YouTube to TruFire - this guy has them all licked.  Appreciated and marvelled at by not just his fans, but also by the brands he is now a patron of, with signature gear and exclusive affiliations.

A Canadian Crossman at heart, his talent and creativity appear to have no boundaries or limits, he occupies the space between genre, styles, and techniques, he is a course: Ariel Posen. 🎸 

Posen via - Justinguitarworkshop.com


A lifelong musician, there are few roles Ariel Posen hasn't played.  Although born in Winnipeg, Posen spent much of his childhood on the road, traveling from show to show with his musician parents.

He began playing guitar at 9 years old, kicking off a career that eventually found him traveling the globe for his own gigs, including shows as a member of the Juno Award-winning, roots-rock band The Bros. Landreth. Several years later, Posen began working on an album of his own, tracking his new songs in the same studio in which his parents once recorded their albums.

His album ‘How Long’ marks Posen's long-awaited solo debut, showcasing not only his chops as an instrumentalist, but also his talents as a diverse songwriter.

The record casts a wide net, moving from rootsy blues to R&B to melodic rock & roll. A co-writer and producer for artists of all genres, Posen shows the full range of his talents on these ten tracks, nodding to his influences — including The Beatles, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer and more — along the way. How Long is not a guitar record, although there's certainly plenty of guitar to be heard here. Instead, it's a song record, filled with hooks, autobiographical lyrics, and Posen's compelling voice.

"The guitar is the tool to get the music out," he says. "Always serve the song first. Otherwise, you're just playing an instrument.”

Quote & excerpt via - Justinguitarworkshops.com

Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba and born in 1988, Ariel spent most of his childhood on and off the road with his parents who were both professional musicians; they did also maintain stable jobs and balance the large amount of gigs over the weekend and summer period:  Ariel’s mother was a teacher and his father a radio producer working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Reflecting on his childhood he recalls being well-travelled and whenever attending recording sessions at studios he and his brother would sit there and immerse themselves in the classic TV show Boy Meets World in a corner on a little TV. 📺

Realistically it was only a matter of time when he would begin to take an interest in instruments and music as he was surrounded by it and completely caught up on it, like many of the great players he began on a different instrument with no intentions to move to guitar.

“I started on piano when I was about 7 or 8. Coming from a musical family, we were highly encouraged. When I was about 8 or 9, everyone started playing guitar at school. It was [Green Day’s] Dookie, [Nirvana’s] In Utero, and Rage Against the Machine, and all these bands like that. Everyone started playing guitar, me included, and just got obsessed with it.

At that same time, the Beatles’ Anthology came out. My parents grew up with the Beatles, and to them they’re the pinnacle of music, songwriting, melody, harmonising, and this and that, so they just kind of dumped that on us. The early Beatles stuff was easy to latch onto at 8 or 9 years old.”

Ariel Posen for Premierguitar.com

Image from Guitar.com

Even though he grew up within a professional musical environment he never had any intentions or dreams of being a professional musician.  He started gigs at around 14-years-old in the high school band, which was something he really enjoyed, and he did push himself and progress with his instrument but it was sort of 50-50 music and basketball at this youthful stage in his life.  However, inevitably and gratefully to the world of music his fate appeared to be set. ✌️

“My first year of university, I slowly dropped out of every single class that I was taking. I had this moment of, “What the hell!? I should be doing what I want to be doing.” And that was playing music. I don’t care at all about athletic therapy!

My parents were totally supportive. They said, “Being a musician is not the easiest job, but if you’re driven and committed, the people who work in this industry are the ones who want to work and the ones who sit around are the ones who don’t want to do anything.”

Quote via  Premierguitar.com

Ariel Posen 'Get You Back'


When we think of certain guitar players we tend to focus our minds on the unique traits or techniques they have and the first thing that springs to mind when we think of Ariel Posen is of course that he is a slide guitar magician.

I've always found it interesting how a player ends up taking his focus towards slide and then becoming an absolute Demon with it.  In the following video Posen perfectly describes his relationship with the slide guitar and how he fell into it without any intention.  Initially discovering players such as Derek Trucks and fellow Canadian Kevin Breit, Ariel began to delve into it a little bit more and became fascinated and then infatuated with the whole concept.

In the early beginnings he began to discover the possibilities of open tuning and regularly started to take a guitar tuned to open-E to every gig with him to try and utilise this newfound technique.  As he expresses it wasn't always great and everything is a learning curve development can only be found through the adventure of experimentation.

Arien Posen discussing the benefits of learning slide guitar.

One statement that Ariel continues to express is how he is so influenced by other players and musicians that are not guitarists, such as piano players, singers, horn players, brass players, and dramas.  He really likes to convey that there is so much inspiration and many reflections of discovery to be found through the inspiration of others, there are so many different ways to say the same thing when expressed through a different voicing.

Becoming a master of anything always requires a starting point and many guitar players do in fact fear the slide guitar just because it's always never felt quite right or they've struggled with the slide itself or how to apply it.

The following clip explains how crucial it is to have a great-fitting slide to begin your journey.  Ariel really highlights the dos and don'ts and what to look for when choosing your piece; ‘it has to be a glove for your finger’ is one of the best lines I've taken from this personally. 👌 

How to play slide guitar with Ariel Posen


Ariel is now a household name in the world of slide guitar, but what slide does Ariel Posen use?  Deservedly so, he has his own signature RockSlide that he swears by and will never leave the house without!

“The Rock Slide is my absolute favourite. I’ve never used another one that feels, sounds and reacts as good as my Rock Slides. I swear by these slides.”

The Ariel Posen Rock Slide collection


So as we dive deeper into this exceptional player we discover that to carry off such a signature playing style and tone there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost let's look at that incredible guitar Ariel is sporting, a custom build that has many Stratocaster characteristics but many individual features also.

“Posen was familiar with Matt Eich of Mule Resophonic - who specializes in building metal-body resonators - so he approached the luthier to construct him a steel-bodied, Strat-style baritone. Eich was reluctant at first (he typically builds roundneck-resos and T-style-baritones), but after seeing a clip of Posen playing live the partnership was started.

The above steel-bodied Strat-style is Posen’s second custom 25"-scale baritone. (On Mule Resophonic’s website, it’s affectionately named the “Posencaster.”) The gold-foil-y pickups are handwound by luthier Matt Eich and are actually mini-humbuckers. He employs a custom Stringjoy set (.017–.064 with a wound G) and typically tunes to B standard. The massive strings allow the shorter-scale baritone to maintain a regular-tension feel. And when he gigs, he tours light (usually two guitars) and so he’ll use a capo to morph into D or E standard”

Excerpt from PremierGuitar.com

Ariel Posen playing his steel Mule Resophonic Baritone Posencaster

Another incredible instrument associated with Ariel is this incredible Mockingbird guitar which is used for open-C tunings along with a capo to open up more possibilities and travel down melodica journeys.

Ariel Posen playing his Josh Williams Guitars Mockingbird

To discover the depth of his guitars and corresponding pedal board along with his general rig check out the Rig Rundown - it's absolutely immense!


Once completely immersed in alternative tunings and alternative approaches to the guitar Ariel had to experiment with different string gauge and choice. As mentioned above there was quite a shocking extreme gauge involved in his set up: .017- .064 with a wound G!

This is cool!  Although it sounds incredibly intimidating and finger shredding, once put into perspective by Ariel and the string scientists at Stringjoy it’s definitely not scary.

As he simply says “it’s just matching tensions!” >



The strings and picks of choice can be found in the details below, it’s definitely a menu that deserves it’s own interview! Find Ariel Posen gear here.

Stringjoy (.013–.068: Collings 360 LT M, Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster)
Ernie Ball (.011–.054: Suhr Classic S Antique, Collings SoCo Deluxe)
Ernie Ball (.013–.056: Josh Williams Mockingbird)
Ernie Ball (.014–.064: Teisco Del Ray)
Jim Dunlop Tortex Standard 1.14mm plectrums
The Rock Slide Ariel Posen Signature Slide
Paige Capos

"There will always be strings that work and do the job for you. There are very few that come with absolute consistency, the highest quality and the best service. To me, Stringjoy isn't just a fantastic company, they are family. Knowing that I can rely on them when I am stuck or need very specific gauges is a comfort that we as musicians need. They're always ready in a heartbeat to accommodate because to put it simply... they care! It's the little things that go a long way."

Check out this incredible and masterful player performing his album live!


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