Canadian acoustic guitarist Les Finnigan specializes in composing, recording and performing new original pieces for solo acoustic guitar. His compositions combine modal and counterpoint techniques, standard and alternate tunings, and hybrid picking (fingerstyle and flatpicking), to create music that is artistic, thought provoking, and rich with melodic motifs.
Les Finnigan has independently released 9 CDs, 8 music books, and 2 DVDs and has sold thousands of copies to fans all over the world. He is regularly heard across Canada on several CBC Radio programs. His music has also been used in films, documentaries and television commercials. He is a tireless entertainer and performs over 300 days a year at venues ranging from coffee shops and restaurants to concert halls and outdoor festivals. He is also the producer of the West Coast Guitar Night, which has been a popular annual concert in Vancouver since 1999.
Les Finnigan has 6 award nominations and one win: 2019 International Acoustic Music Award winner for Best Instrumental Song, 2018 Western Canadian Music Award nomination for Instrumental Artist of the Year, 2018 Independent Music Award nomination for Best Instrumental Song, 2017 International Acoustic Music Award finalist for Best Instrumental Song, 2014 Western Canadian Music Award nomination for Instrumental Album of the Year, 2007 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Best Instrumentalist - Solo, and a 2003 Western Canadian Music Award nomination for Outstanding Instrumental Recording. Before Finnigan started his recording career he was the winner of the National Guitar Summer Workshop's Guitar Competition in 1996 and also the Vancouver Unplugged Guitar Competition in 1996.
He studied at Douglas Academy of Music with David Lund, at the Institute of Communication Arts, and has attended workshops with Leo Kottke, Alex DeGrassi, Pierre Bensusan, Adrian Legg, Martin Simpson, Preston Reed, Ed Gerhard, Seth Austen, Don Ross, Tommy Emmanuel & Kent Hillman. He started playing electric guitar in 1980 and made the permanent switch to acoustic in 1995. He has extensively studied classical counterpoint and jazz harmony, and also played the acoustic drum kit for about 10 years. These individual studies of melody, harmony, and rhythm, combined with his artistic sense of structure and balance, have made him the composer he is today.
"Les Finnigan has been described as a guitar wizard and he gives ample
evidence of why - his original instrumentals, employing alternative
tunings, are consistently fascinating, and his playing combines leads,
complex accompaniment and an unerring beat in such a way that the word
soloist seems all wrong."
"Once released from the constraints of standard guitar tuning a player
with good ears and hands can make amazing music, something Vancouver
guitarist Les Finnigan has clearly figured out. His fingers don't just
play, they dance."
"Finnigan's use of the tonal palette of his 6-string creates aural images that are at the same time warm and inviting, and dark and complex."
"Finnigan is unquestionably highly technically proficient, but his beautiful music is also loaded with soul and invention."
"Finnigan stands revealed as a gifted stylist and perhaps an even more
"Finnigan's music is at times soothing, uplifting, exciting and
"Finnigan creates lovely melodies, never trying to prove anything by his playing, but allowing his songs to sink into the soul." - Kirk Albrecht, Minor 7th
"Finnigan specializes in pretty guitar tunes that could tame such
"One jaw-droppingly fine acoustic guitar player…"
"...world-class talent and tone."
Acoustic Guitar Albums by Les Finnigan:
Counterpoint Conundrum (2018)
2019 International Acoustic Music Award winner - Best Instrumental Song