The Ninth Ring
(Bradford Music)


The art of the hard rock guitar sound forms the core of The Ninth Ring from Colorado-based guitarist Bradford Watson, known to his fans as Bradford. With his electrifying guitar approach Bradford can clearly bowl you over with his immense, hard hitting instro rock sound, yet scratch the surface and you'l find that there’s something more varied and deeper going on here. What’s even more incredible is that Bradford handles all the instruments here himself, creating the aura of a complete band as played by one musician! He even did all the studio engineering as well. If there’s a progressive side to hard rock guitar instrumental performance, then Bradford has it covered. Commenting on such a sweeping and demanding one man recording project, from his detailed liner notes Bradford adds, ‘This CD represents the culmination of just over two years of effort. I consider it the pinnacle of my own artistic expression up until now, not from a performance standpoint, but also from a song writing and audio engineering standpoint.’ Although many listeners and guitar fans will place Bradford into the heavy metal rock instro category, Bradford is quick to point out, ‘While I have the utmost respect for the technical ability of many of the musicians out there doing instrumental rock, my objective has always been different. For me, it was far more important to go for good song writing. The musically well thought out instrumental rock track that sings without a vocalist is what I love about the genre. I’ve tried very hard to put the songs first.’ In the spirit of hard rock instrumental guitarists such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and even Rob Balducci’s latest CD on Favored Nations, Bradford lays claim to some intriguing guitar territory all his own with the CD release of The Ninth Ring. In addition to the fine music within and intense cover art graphics, Bradford gives the listener a deeper understanding of his guitar sound and vision with his in depth track by track liner notes.


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Musical Background

I started playing guitar as a teenager, which is a lot more years ago than I care to admit! At first it was as much about getting girls than anything else, but I fell into a deep infatuation with the instrument almost immediately and was soon better than all my teachers. It was a time of big hair and spandex, and crazy people doing crazy things. What better time to pick up a guitar and start rockin’?

After high school I played in numerous bands, mostly doing cover tunes. I covered a wide range of styles in these bands, from pop/top-40 style music to hard rock and heavy metal. During this time, I toured numerous clubs and venues around the west and southwest U.S. based out of Denver. I also worked extensively on technique and showmanship in my downtime, and by the early ‘90s, had developed a reputation as one of the top rock guitarists on the circuit at that time.

Eventually I burned out on the road and took some time off. It was during this period that I began to take more of an interest in writing my own music. Some of the instrumental songs on my current release “The Ninth Ring” were written during this period.

Keeping me away from the stage was no easy task, though. The itch soon returned, so I helped found an original band. This band, called Full Circle, played extensively in and around Denver’s local and regional hard rock venues from the late ‘90s though the mid ‘00s . We put out three CDs of original music, all of which were recorded, engineered and mixed by me in my own studio.

After eight years, I left this band and began recording instrumental rock as a solo artist. My CD, The Ninth Ring is my debut as a solo artist.

New CD

The Ninth Ring was recorded over a period of two years between 2006 and 2008. As before, I recorded the CD in my own studio. With the advent of modern home digital recording technology, it became possible for me to produce a top quality CD entirely by myself. I not only wrote all of the music and played (or programmed) all of the instruments, but I engineered, and mixed the entire CD, designed the artwork, and brought it to market under my own label, Bradford-Music.

This time around it’s been different in the studio than in the past, as I am the only player and have complete control of the final product. So instead of focusing on a stage show and all the trappings that come with live music, I dedicated myself to the music. I decided right up front that I wanted to produce good, listenable music that was expressive. Not being a singer, but a guitar player, the challenge was to write a CD that even people who normally don’t listen to instrumental music might enjoy. The approach therefore, was to emphasize the entire composition, and concentrate on the song writing, so that the songs would “sing without a singer.” I hope that I achieved that with my current release, The Ninth Ring. This CD is packed full of artful and soulful sounds, with a minimum of over-the-top “shred” guitar, and I believe that it is a “must have” for all rock music fans that appreciate well-put together songs, regardless of their genre tastes.

Favorite Guitars

I’m a pretty old school guitarist. All of the tracks on the disc were recorded using my Ibanez guitars. I favor an ’87 RG style guitar for lead work, as I like the way the neck plays. This guitar has active EMG pickups and sounds great. I also own a ’90 JEM guitar, with Dimarzio pickups that also plays and sounds great. The JEM has a beautiful sparkling clean sound, which is featured prominently on the disc. For chunkier stuff, I have two circa ‘86 Charvel/Jackson guitars that I string up with big fat strings and de-tune so that they sound brutal. The bass tracks were done with a crappy Ibanez bass that, for some reason, sounds great on track (go figure).

These days I don’t play out so much, but when I do, I use an ADA MP-1 preamp with a Tubeworks MOSVALVE power amp, an ART box for effects, and two 4 X 12 cabinets loaded with Celestion Vintage 30’s. For recording, I fell in love with modeling technology, so the disc features some amp miking, some cabinet modeling, and a lot of a Behringer VAMP Pro modeling amp. Some of the big fat, saturated guitar on the disc features layering of all of these. For bass, I used the Behring Bass VAMP Pro.

Musical Influences

In the early days I was a huge fan of Iron Maiden. Albums like Killers, Piece Of Mind, Powerslave, and Somewhere In Time are still among my favorite albums. Maiden’s mix of soaring guitars and power/melodic metal is wonderful. It inspired me to play for hours at a time when I was younger. I was also a big fan of George Lynch of Dokken. Very few guitarists can wring as much tone out of a single note as Lynch can. Later on I listened extensively to instrumentalists like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson and Paul Gilbert. Satriani especially, demonstrated to me how a rock guitarist can be an “up front” instrument, and take the place of a vocalist. Gilbert, on the other hand, inspired me to work on my technique and be precise, though I doubt I’ll ever be running any speed races with him. These days I like Tool, Shinedown, Nickelback, and few others for their great song writing.

Upcoming Plans

For the moment, I am beginning to get back into writing and recording. I’ve revamped and updated much of the hardware and software in my studio. I think I have enough material for another disc, but it needs to be developed and recorded, of course. The new disc is tentatively titled Electron Song. I like to preview pre-release material on, so keep an eye out.

Web Site

The CD and/or digital download is available at any of these websites:

and a bunch of others; ask your favorite music store to order it!

You can also watch a music video at:


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