Composer and Guitarist George Bellas
George Bellas is a Guitarist, Composer and Recording Artist. He plays guitar, bass, keyboards, sings and composes for all instruments in neoclassical, neoromantic, progressive rock, and strict classical and jazz styles. A very early source of musical knowledge and inspiration for George was Walter Piston's 'Harmony' and 'Counterpoint' books along with Ted Greene's Single Note Jazz Guitar books.
All of George's compositions are written on staff paper before ever picking up a guitar. His compositions incorporate a diverse amount of musical elements, which include; improvised solos, odd meters, polyrhythms, classical harmony, classical counterpoint, jazz harmony, ultra modern harmony, dense orchestrations, lyrical melodies and outlandish song forms.
The main equipment George uses includes: Gibson Flying V's, Fender 1957 Stratocasters, Fender American Standard Stratocasters, Gibson 1960's Les Pauls, Ovation Acoustics, Fender Basses, Musicman Basses, Dean Markley strings, Jim Dunlop Jazz III picks, Korg tuners, Mogami cables, Marshall JCM900, JCM800, JMP and MKII amplifiers, Marshall speaker cabinets, Ampeg SVT Bass Amp, Sure SM57, Sennheiser 421 and AKG microphones, Ibanez Tube Screamers (Keeley modified and stock TS9s), Focusrite Red Series mic preamps, Apogee converters and Wordclocks, Coleman Audio 5.1 sound distribution, Mackie and Soundcraft mixers, Mackie HR824 studio monitors, Apple computers, RME Audio Electronics, Logic Pro software, Alesis and Studiologic Keyboards, Auralex sound insolation and various EastWest & Vienna sound libraries.
In The Beginning
George Bellas started playing guitar at the age of 7 on a classical guitar his father had bought him. On the way home from getting the guitar, in the back seat of the car, George started to play. When he got home, he ran all around the neighborhood playing his new guitar. The next day at school George checked out every single music book in the school library, went home, and began his quest to obtain an absolute understanding of every detail in music theory. George began practicing extensively right away, to the point of which his fingers began bleeding. He would put band-aids on them and just continue practicing.
George began performing live very early on and gigged extensively with his bands: Union Jack, Destiny, FreeFall and Prodigy, all the while advancing his education by constantly studying Music Theory, Harmony, Rhythm, Counterpoint, Form and Composition. George began teaching guitar in his early teens and shortly thereafter opened a teaching academy called "Prodigy's School Of Music". During this time he continued to perform live with his bands and compose a seemingly endless amount of music. George had an attraction towards Classical counterpoint and odd rhythms very early on which are now a unique signature of his style.
Throughout his teens and early 20's George excercised an extreme amount of discipline and practiced obsessively on a Fender acoustic with .013 - .058 gauge strings. It was during this time that anybody who met George saw his black and green fingertips of hardened nail-like strength. While on the way to the NAMM show, Photographer Ross Pelton could not believe George's fingertips; he exclaimed they were unlike anything he had ever seen before. George was a machine and completely unstoppable with his extreme sense of discipline.
George's compositions include ultra-modern, progressive instrumental music, neoclassical, neoromantic, straight forward rock vocal tunes, film music and pure classical music. George exhibits great compositional and technical prowess with a beautiful sense of melody, harmony, rhythm and finesse. He is equally adept at improvising fluently within a myriad of diverse harmonic schemes, or composing sophisticated counterpoint in a strict 16th or 18th century style, and all done in a completely effortless manner.
In 1996 George Bellas signs with Shrapnel Records.
Signing with Shrapnel Records
George sent demos of his compositions to Shrapnel Records and President Mike Varney immediately recognized George's talent and versatility. He signed George as a solo artist and flew him out to California to record his debut album. The musicians recording the album were: Deen Castronova - Drums, Kevin Chown - Bass, Matt Guillery - Keyboards, Brad Kaiser - Drums, Mike McCarron - Drums, George Bellas - Guitar, Bass, Keyboards. The recording was completed in December of 1996 and his debut album "TURN OF THE MILLENNIUM" was released on May 21,1997.
Shortly after signing with Shrapnel Records, George got a call from Mike Varney asking him if he would be interested in joining UFO. Phil Mogg and Pete Way decided on George after hearing his playing and song writing. George began travelling to Pete Way's house and started writing and arranging the songs with both Phil Mogg and Pete Way. After meeting several times and developing the songs, it was time to fly out to San Francisco and record the album. The recording took place in February of 1997 at Prairie Sun Recording Studios in Cotati, California. The band consisted of Phil Mogg-Vocals, Pete Way-Bass, Ansley Dunsbar-Drums, George Bellas-Guitar and special guest Eric Martin-Vocals (Mr. Big). Due to legal reasons, the band went under the name MOGG/WAY and released their first album entitled "EDGE OF THE WORLD".
And in between those 2 albums George managed to write a bunch of songs and record an album for the highly talented vocalist John West. The album, which was entitled "MIND JOURNEY", featured John West - Vocals, George Bellas - Guitar, Barry Sparks - Bass, Mike Terrana - Drums and Matt Guillory - Keyboards. This album was recorded at Prairie Sun Recording Studios and James Murphy’s Sound Temple Studio in January of 1997. The album was released in May of 1997 on Shrapnel Records.
George finished his 4th album for Shrapnel Records in November of 1997. It is an all instrumental neoclassical album rich in classical counterpoint and virtuoso guitar playing. The line up was: Deen Castronova - Drums, Barry Sparks - Bass, and George Bellas - Guitar & Keyboards. This album is titled "MIND OVER MATTER" and was released in February of 1998.
George also composed music for the 2nd John West CD entitled "PERMANENT MARK" which was released in the 2nd quarter of 1998.
In March of 1998 world famous classical pianist Vitalij Kuprij flew to Chicago to record an all instrumental album entitled "EXTREME MEASURES" for Shrapnel Records. George engineered all the keyboard and guitar tracks at his studio. The album is neoclassical in style and an extreme showcase of mind boggling chops performed by the two virtuosos, along with Jon Doman - Drums and Jon Onder - Bass. The album has numerous highlights of incredible, over the top performances!
Early 2001 - George recorded "THE ORACLE" with the new band "Ring Of Fire". The band members were Mark Boals-Vocals, Vitalij Kuprij-Keyboards, Virgil Donati-Drums, Philip Bynoe-Bass, George Bellas-Guitar. Tracks were cut in Chicago, Steve Vai's "The Mothership" studio, Eric Norlanders "Think Tank Media Studio" as well as "The Green Room". The album is a fierce collection of well crafted songs with beautiful Neoclassical melodies, chord progressions, aggressive rhythms and great virtuosic performances by everyone. Any fan of the Neoclassical style should definitely have a listen to "The Oracle".
4th quarter of 2001 George completed the development of a 12 CD-ROM guitar course called "The George Bellas Instructional Series". This series is for the guitarist that's interested in developing better guitar technique. The series breaks down the fundementals of specific areas and focuses in on key elements to improve one's skills on the guitar.
During the Fall of 2002, George recorded and released another album called "HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD" with the progressive rock group "Magellan". The band members are Trent Gardner - Keyboards/Vocals, Tony Levin - Bass, Joe Franco - Drums, Ian Anderson - Flute, George Bellas - Guitar and others. The album ‘Hundred Year Flood’ was released September 10, 2002 on Magna Carta Records.
During January 2003, Bellas Music Studio Inc., George's primary media production company, released several music education software titles that include: EarTraining, GuitarPaper , Metronome, StudioLog and GuitarTuner for Mac OS X. These are software based music tools developed and coded by George Bellas. "The George Bellas Instructional Series" 12 CD-ROM Guitar Course continues to gain increasing popularity amongst a legion of students and educators worldwide.
In 2003 George Bellas signs with Lion Music.
Signing with Lion Music
George’s album “VENOMOUS FINGERS” is released November 18, 2003 on Lion Music and picks up stellar reviews over the globe.
During the next several years George composes a vast amount of music while simultaneously recording two new albums; one instrumental album and one vocal album.
June 2007 - George appears in Malaga, Spain to conduct a 3 day weekend of Masterclasses at the Guitarra Acedamia. While there he also performed an impromptu on the coast of Spain and recorded some solos for the professor at the school.
August 2007 - Legendary Scorpion's Guitarist, Uli Jon Roth contacts George to perform some concerts with him along with Michael Batio, Joe Stump, Johnny Highland, Mark Boals, Tony Franklin and many more. The concerts ended with a finale of the classic song "Johnny B. Goode", with George Bellas, Uli Jon Roth, Michael Batio, Johnny Highland and Joe Stump all trading solos in what had to have been the fiercest rendition of the song ever.
November 17, 2007 - George appears at the Guitar Institute of Technoloy (GIT) for a clinic and open counseling. There were so many students waiting for for his classes that the school had to quickly find a large enough room to accommodate the larger than expected crowd. Even with the larger room students were still hanging out of the doorway into the hall.
November 18th, 2007 - George's album "FLYING THROUGH INFINITY" is released worldwide through Lion Music. The album was vocal based and released under the moniker Palace Terrace.
February 15th, 2008 - George's new album "PLANETARY ALIGNMENT" is released worldwide through Lion Music. This album features the extraordinaire drummer Marco Minnemann and is one of the most progressive albums George has released. "Bellas has carved out a sound, technique and method of writing that is so unique is impossible for it to not attract your attention." - Virtuosity One
June 2008 - George finishes production for his new album "STEP INTO THE FUTURE". The album was the largest single piece of music that George has ever released. One song with a running time of 76 minutes.
Solo Albums by George Bellas
"STEP INTO THE FUTURE" was released worldwide on January 23, 2009 through the Lion Music record label. "This album exposes not only Bellas’ abilities as one of the most innovative axemen, but also one who can clearly communicate with his instrument in a way that so few shredders know how to... One of the first contenders for instrumental guitar album of the year has already arrived." - YTSE Jam
May 2009 sees George in the final production stages of his new album entitled "THE DAWN OF TIME". The album features world renowned drummer extrordanaire Marco Minnemann.
July 16th, 2010 - George's new album "THE DAWN OF TIME" is released worldwide through Lion Music and picks up stellar reviews around the globe. "George Bellas has proven himself to be the guitar virtuoso of 2010 and despite living in a different time and playing in a different genre deserves to be remembered as we do now with the likes of Mozart, Bach, Lennon and McCartney. This is timeless music of undisputed quality making it definitive George Bellas." – Virtuosity One
March 2011 - George composes a massive body of 18th century counterpoint called The Palindrome Canons. This body of music has a total running time of 108 minutes. The Palindrome Canons contain sophisticated counterpoint that is played forwards and backwards simultaneously.
Summer of 2011 - George's new album "THE EXTINCTION OF MAN" is announced. Release date TBA.
June 21st, 2013 - George's new album "ASTRAL PROJECTION" is released worldwide through Lion Music. "Bellas has established himself with this album as a genre of his own." - Rocktopia
Over the course of his career George has been fortunate to have recorded and performed with some of the most elite musicians in the world, including: Deen Castronova, Ansley Dunbar, Virgil Donati, Marco Minnemann, Brad Kaiser, Jon Doman, Gerald Kloos, Mistheria, Uli Jon Roth, Michael Batio, Joe Stump, Johnny Highland, James Murphy, Robert Barry, Jason Becker, Marco Ferrigno, Pete Way, Phil Mogg, Tony Franklin, Phil Bynoe, Jon Onder, Tony Levin, Eric Martin, Trent Gardener, Ian Anderson, Barry Sparks, John West, Mike Terrana, Vitalij Kuprij, Matt Guillory, Kevin Chown and many more...
George is one of the most in demand music and guitar instructors in the world. His student base is vast and spans many countries, including: The USA, Japan, Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, South America, Mexico, Spain, Australia, France, Great Britain, Thailand, Korea, Turkey and more. George has taught thousands of students through his Masterclasses, Guitar Clinics, Private Lessons, Skype based lessons and electronic instructional media. Visit the lessons page for information on the various lesson programs: Lesson Types
Great minds that have inspired George include: Palestrina, Bach, Hadyn, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Paganini, Liszt, Chopin, Wagner, Debussy, Shoenberg, Slominski, Carl Orf, John Williams, Danny Elfman, Walter Piston, Ted Greene, Trent Gardner, Shawn Lane, Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Dr. Michio Kaku, Edwin Hubble, Nikola Tesla and John Hutchison. There have been countless other musicians too, but the aforementioned have been the greatest of inspirations. It is the creative and intelligent unbounded minds that have propelled a seemingly immeasurable amount of fascination and continued inspiration.