Craig Gamble has been a music educator, session musician and live performer for over 14 years now and has worked in a wide variety of live musical ensembles and as a professional acoustic accompanist.
Gamble Strings and Things is Craig's umbrella company name for his various musical exploits, from his day job as an experienced music tutor, a live entertainment agency and a publishing company for many of Craig's original projects.
As a tutor, Craig has vast teaching experience and has worked with all age ranges, abilities and personalities. His youngest student was 5 and the oldest he has taught was 92!! (although he is currently working with his son, William who is 2...trying to beat that record).
Many of his students have been having lessons for years and get a great deal of satisfaction from the routine and structure it offers them as well as enjoying Craig's easy going, fun and friendly approach to teaching.
Starting off on Electric Guitar in school, Craig quickly embellished his skills and versatility by developing as a multi-instrumentalist (as and when instruments were available moving through Classical and Finger-style Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Piano, Drums, studying as a vocalist and, in the last 10 years, developing as a Ukulele / Banjolele enthusiast, in which he has
developed a varied repertoire of techniques from traditional Hawaiian performance, modern arrangements and classical studies.
As his passion for music grew, Craig developed quickly within Music academia, receiving outstanding results for his Music GCSE and A-LEVEL qualifications, whilst also developing as a local performing and recording artist; (starting a local band, touring and performing as a solo artist and releasing original music).
After brief work at Liverpool Community College and LIPA, Craig studied Music Theory, Popular Music and Music Technology at Liverpool Hope University, gaining a 1st Class Honours degree
and a special recognition award for Outstanding Musical Contribution to the University.
Since leaving university, Craig has taught music around Merseyside and toured as a professional musician, honing his craft and technique and performing as a session musician for various acts and at many local studios.
As a tutor, unusually, Craig caters lessons on an individual basis, rather than sticking to
a set syllabus. Many students just want to learn the basics, to play songs, strum and sing,
but others have developed to Grade 8 level on their chosen studies, moving into other
instruments and developed their technique to a very advanced level. As everybody has
different musical tastes, stylistic ideas and aspirations, each lesson is different, with songs, techniques, ability levels and goals all set for each new student individually.
A Level Music
BA Hons. Degree - Music, Popular Music & Music Technology
University Award: Sue Willis Memorial Prize for
Outstanding Contribution to Musical Life of the Univerity
Grade 8 Classical Guitar (Distinction)
Grade 8 Music Theory - ABRSM
Grade 8 Rockschool Electric Guitar
CRB / DBS Registered and Certified
Craig's musical tastes are quite eclectic and he has worked in numerous projects ranging
from classic rock bands and jazz ensembles through to soul/funk/disco acts and acoustic projects. His initial work as an electric guitar player developed further when he was pushed into the
limelight at 15 and had to become a front man of a classic rock trio. This band, Loaded Dice, became Craig’s first original and tribute band and toured the UK whilst also recording
many EP’s across the northwest, most notably working in Parr Street Studios at 16.
Craig also worked with many other original musical acts in Liverpool, including Freerunner,
a 5-piece progressive pop/rock group. Around the same time, Craig was developing his
classical reportoire and gigging locally at wine bars, weddings and resturants as a
solo instrumental artist.
After co-founding the 7-piece soul band The Bounty Hunters, Craig travelled, busked
and developed his musical palette, eventually deciding to get back to academia play with and meet new musicians by studying at university (graduating with 1st Class honours in Music, Popular Music & Music Technology in 2008). During his time at university, Craig formed a power trio house band, The Black Ties, to allow other musicians/vocalists have access to a live band for performances and assessments. This proved to be a popular idea and the house band was used on well over 200 assessed performances over 2 years. As well as the band performances, Craig also
doubled up as an acoustic accompanist to many other singers, which gave him a great
knowledge of working with a varied array of performers in a wide variety of musical styles.
For this he was given an award for outstanding contribution to musical life at the
university at his graduation.
After years of on and off tutoring, Craig started teaching more during his university years gaining valuable experience in this field. After graduating, Craig travelled more, performed more and did heavy studio session work and developed original material, whilst also doing freelance teaching and workshops in Universities and Schools around the North West. Whilst he has considered teaching full time in a school, Craig still prefers his freelance business and the personal nature of his
one to one tuition, being able to communicate musically in a very direct and unique way.
Although starting out as an electric and classical guitarist, Craig's style has diversified
over the years and he now has expanded his repertoire to develop in other acoustic areas,
including Instrumental acoustic & percussive Guitar, celtic and folk Guitar, finger-style
Campanella Ukulele, flat-picked Mandolin & Bouzouki and 5-string Claw-hammer Banjo.
A firm backer of the new 'ukulele movement, Craig has pushed the boundaries of the
'ukulele as an accompanist's instrument and enjoys arranging various songs for finger-style
solo ukulele. In December 2012, Craig embarked upon an ambitious "Ukulele Advent Calendar", performing and uploading a Christmas themed 'ukulele arrangement every day.
These videos can still be found on YouTube. After a very positive reaction, Craig produced
a second 'ukulele advent calendar 2013 sequel featuring his then baby daughter, Rosie.
There will no doubt be more in coming years...
As well as performing weekly in residencies with his quirky acoustic ukulele/bass duo
The Gamblers (and the classical instrumental Ukulele / Cello offshoot, Campanello)
Craig still performs regularly with his university house band The Black Ties,
the 8 piece funk & soul revue ensemble The Tremé and with the soul / R 'n B band Kikosi.
Craig also plays in an original blues band, writes and records original solo material under the pseudonym 'Happy Panda' and performs solo at weddings and events regularly. He is also a regular contributor to workshops and festivals.
Craig lives on The Wirral with his wife Anna and their two children, Rosie & William.