Meet The Expert:

Santiago Motto

Title: Writer

Started Guitar Playing: Age 13 (1996)

Writing About Guitars Since: 2017

Aka. Sandel. Pure Telecasters and all-mahogany Martins lover.

Besides that, Sandel is a professional writer, guitar player, confessed guitar nerd, and all-things-guitar consumer. He has been playing for 25 years which makes him a nineties kid with serious low-tuning youngster years, and a pop palate for melodies, ballads, and world music.

Whenever Santiago is not pouring all that experience and love for the instrument into articles, you can find him playing live shows supporting his music and poetry books as “Sandel”. If he’s not doing either of those, you can also find him gigging with his band, “San Juan”, writing, reading, or enjoying the Sun.

Expertise: guitar industry, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, Fender guitars, songwriting.

Bachelor of Psychology, Psychology

1. Highlights 

– As a ghostwriter, I’ve written several books about how to play guitar as well as countless articles (way over 100) on topics that range from how to tell if your guitar’s neck is twisted to a 90-page detailed guide on how to play rock n roll.

– As a player, I’ve been playing guitar for almost 3 decades, and, during that time, I’ve played many gigs in styles that go from metal to acoustic. I’ve toured, recorded, and played over 300 live shows (and counting).

– I used to work for the Fender dealership in the most exclusive guitar store in the country (Argentina) where I had first-hand experience comparing Custom Shop to vintage instruments and all tiers of Fender, Gretsch, and Jackson guitars. Also, I was able to play elite instruments by brands like Suhr, Pensa, Music Man, PRS, Martin, Taylor, and many others.

2. Experience

I am, before anything else, a guitar nerd. I’ve spent countless hours in my life talking about, playing, reading, watching videos, playing some more, and sharing guitar knowledge with other nerds like me. Therefore, ever since my sweet teenage years, the guitar has been a main topic in my life.

When I was old enough, I played in my first band and never stopped doing it. I also worked selling guitars for almost 4 years, which gave me first-hand experience of everything I had read and watched.

Parallel to that, I’ve always been a writer. I wrote my first short story at age 12, published two poetry books, founded a book publishing company, and worked for others in different roles.

In a nutshell, I want to say that I couldn’t think of any other topic I could write about with a smile for hours at a time every single day of my life. 

I’m living the guitar nerd dream.

3. Education

  • Psychologist
  • guitar player for almost 30 years
  • and freelance writer with over 4 million words written, delivered, and approved.

4. Favorite Gear and Current Guitars & Gear

I’m an absolute and declared Fender Telecaster fan, and my dream guitar (it’ll be mine someday) is an all-rosewood George Harrison-like masterbuilt Telecaster. This is some of what I currently own and play: 

  • ’66 Fender Mustang
  • ’68 Gibson SG Junior
  • Fender Custom Shop Custom Telecaster (in champagne sparkle with matching headstock!)
  • Ibanez ’81 Studio (dual-humbucker, mean rocking machine)
  • Martin D15M
  • Baby Taylor
  • Original ‘60s Yacopi classical guitar (legendary Argentinian tango guitar builder)
  • Sovtek MIG-50
  • Fender Deluxe Reverb ’65 reissue
  • Original ’88 Tube Screamer TS-808
  • ‘90s Tube Screamer TS-9
  • Original ’60s Vox Tone Bender
  • Sovtek Big Muff Pi
  • Tech 21 Dual Drive
  • Strymon Flint

5. #1 Moment as a Guitar Player

Every time the lights go out, the crowd is silent, and I’m about to hit that first note to get a show started. It never gets old, it’s always a blast.

6. Favorite Genres and Bands

I was born in the eighties; therefore, the Grunge era had a big effect on me. Bands like

  • Nirvana,
  • STP,
  • and Pearl Jam.
  • Also, later, alternative rock like Jane’s Addiction,
  • RHCP,
  • Morphine,
  • and Beck.

By the early 2000s, I was fully into Nü Metal (tuning down to drop-c!) listening to bands like

  • Korn,
  • Limp Bizkit,
  • and Deftones.

I was later hooked up by the retro rock scene with bands like

  • The Strokes,
  • Arctic Monkeys,
  • and Kings of Leon among many others.

Nowadays, I hear a mix of all that along with world music, country and folk, blues, rockabilly, and some metal from time to time.

7. Current and Past Projects & Bands

I started playing in bands when I was 16, I’m almost 40 so I couldn’t make a list of them all; here’s the most relevant (you can find them on YouTube and Spotify).

  • Los Octopus – Post-Punk, Alternative Rock, Heavy Grunge (3 albums on Spotify, many videos on YouTube.
  • David Mann – Nü Metal (no internet material, sadly)
  • San Delmal/Sandel – Solo records alter-ego mixing poetry with music. My current project.
  • San Juan – Rocking duo playing alternative rock, upbeat music, and cool ballads. My current project, new record up on Spotify.
  • Jime & San – Duo project making cover songs (versions) of classics. My current project.

Sandel playing:

Links to some social media profiles, author pages of other websites, university pages, etc.

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