Brett Garsed: Nelson

Why You Should Know Him

Before joining forces with the notorious blonde-haired Nelson twins and finding international success in 1990 with the pop hits “Love and Affection” and “After the Rain,” Brett Garsed was still doing what he loved, and still loves, to do: playing music while constantly striving to become a better musician.

Garsed grew up during the 1980s in rural Australia and was teaching himself guitar and playing live gigs by the age of twelve. He developed a style that was based around left-hand legato, a style for which he is still recognized today.

In July of 1985, he was featured in Guitar Player magazine’s “Spotlight” column, which was devoted to exposing new talent to the rest of the world. Word of Garsed’s natural ability led to an audition and a subsequent invitation from John Farnham, who was a member of the Little River Band. Farnham was planning a solo album and invited Garsed to be a part of the project. The resulting album, Whispering Jack, went on to become one of the biggest selling albums in Australian history.

This collaboration lasted throughout the ‘80s, until Garsed joined up with the band Nelson in 1990. His powerful lead guitars were featured on a string of hits, including “Love and Affection,” “More Than Ever,” and “After the Rain.” Nelson’s style featured hard rock roots, heavy use of vocal harmonies and dual lead vocals, major key tonality, and mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation. During the band’s brief time in the spotlight, critics often overlooked Garsed’s unique guitar talent. To the disbelief of many, he was simultaneously in the studio laying down jazz-fusion tracks and working with several acts that were geared more towards improvisation and complex theory.

The Gear

Garsed plays an ESP Horizon and ESP Custom. He also has a modded ’75 Fender Strat from his adolescence that he still plays occasionally. Garsed is a fan of DiMarzio pickups, specifically the Virtual Vintage model. During his arguably most-popular moment (the Nelson debut), Garsed played a blue Steinberger GS. He actually brought that guitar back for his second solo album, Dark Matter, along with a Gibson 336 and a Bogner Ecstasy amp. He is also fond of Australian acoustic guitars, playing Ayers and Maton.

Where Is He Now?

Garsed eventually returned to Australia and in 2002 reunited with John Farnham for a seven-month tour entitled the “Last Time”. Also in 2002, Garsed released his first solo album, Big Sky, and followed up with Dark Matter later in 2011.

Garsed released an instructional DVD in 2004 (his second), titled “Rock Guitar Improvisation.” The DVD showed many aspects of his guitar playing style and technique and included live footage as well.

Garsed also took part in the “Whispering Jack—25th Anniversary” tour with John Farnham around Australia in 2011. After 14 years in Los Angeles, he returned to Australia where he currently resides and continues to play music. Look for 2017 tour dates as well.

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