Star Guitarist Shaun Hopper Returns Home To Southern Georgia

By: Greg Gullberg Email
By: Greg Gullberg Email

- Valdosta, Ga. - April 08, 2012 -

He's the Adel boy who made good.

Shaun Hopper tours the country playing to sold out crowds. When he's not playing solo, he's toured with B.B. King, Stevie Wonder and Dave Matthews guitarist Tim Reynolds.

But Saturday night he played for his home crowd at "Take Five" in Valdosta. He teamed up once again with his good friend Joe Smothers.

"To have the support of people from my home town who actually came to the show and fill the room up, it's just amazing," Shaun said.

Shaun took Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg to his home town in Adel. They sat at the old train depot where he used to practice playing.

Shaun has long, well-groomed finger nails. He specializes in finger-style guitar where he plucks wildly at the strings and drums the sides.

"It's a little awkward, you have to go to a nail salon and sit there. And women stare at you like you're strange," Shaun said.

They took a walk to the steel mill where he worked as a young man.

"And in between my breaks, I would just sit out here in the shade and just play under these steel beams," Shaun said.

Shaun is a guitarist's-guitarist. He earns his fame by playing with impressive difficulty. But life on the road is not always easy.
Making time to come home is a rare treat.

Max Hopper is Shaun's Father. He welcomes his son home with a warm hug.

"I've never seen anyone more dedicated to playing music than he has been," Max Hopper told Gullberg.

"You do have to be ready to kind of sacrifice things. So, you give up time with your family, you give up time with your friends," Shaun said.

Up next for Shaun, is a concert in Tampa where he'll be the headline act for a sold out crowd of more than 700 people.

To listen to Shaun Hopper’s music, learn more about him and check out tour dates go to "".


- Valdosta, Ga. – October 16, 2011 –
On a cool October night in downtown Valdosta, a popular coffee shop, Stage 51, emanates rhythmic acoustic guitar music.
The crowd sits in awe as the performer plucks wildly at the strings with long finger nails and crawls his fretting hand down the neck of the guitar like a spider.
He keys his own bass rift on the lower register strings of his acoustic guitar.
A wave of percussive beats ring out as he drums his fingers against the wood of the instrument’s body.
Playing guitar, bass, and drum at the same time, Shaun Hopper gives new meaning to a one-man-band.
“It’s finger-style guitar; you literally use all ten fingers to get the most sound you can from your instrument,” Hopper said. “It makes it sound like multiple players when it’s just one person.”
Hopper lets his finger nails grow long on his right hand so that he can pluck the strings with them.
“(I) go into these nail salons and they put acrylic on (my) right hand. It’s a bit awkward sitting there with a bunch of women but you know… you’ve got to do it for good tone.”
For Hopper, home is Adel, Georgia, in Cook County, just north of Valdosta.
But these days he lives anywhere he can find a bed along his cross country tour taking him from Washington D.C. to San Diego and everywhere in between.
But Saturday night, he’s glad to be back home in southern Georgia.
“It’s a surreal feeling to get to come back to Adel and play for my friends. It keeps me grounded.”
Hopper travels the country playing with famed performers like lead guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band, Tim Reynolds and former guitarist for the late Sir Elton John, John Georgeson.
Across the nation, Hopper is a true “guitarist’s guitarist”; he plays music at such a high difficulty level that it awes other musicians.
But on this night at Stage 51 in Valdosta, he has all the recognition he needs.
Among the coffee shop crowd sits a line of local musicians nodding and clapping admiringly.
They comment back and forth, “He’s the real deal.”
But for Hopper, it’s not enough to just play music for his audience.
He jokes with them and teases them, leaving the room laughing in stitches.
“Even once you get to that (talent) level, you have to really interact with your audience and entertain them,” Hopper said. “As long as it’s fun for the crowd, it’s fun for the artist.”
Hopper discovered music growing up in Adel at age 11.
He would play at arcades with his friends who agreed to teach him.
“I started by playing Nirvana covers and it was like the easiest thing in the world and I took it from there. I started studying classical music, Irish music, Jazz, Blues and Folk.”
But it was a music teacher in Valdosta named Bill Brown that launched his love of finger-style acoustic guitar.
At the time Hopper was having Brown teach him Bass guitar, but that all changed one night.
“I was leaving one night and heard him playing some finger-style stuff and I was enamored right away at what it sounded like. And I said I don’t want to play bass anymore, I want to do that.”
As soon as Shaun Hopper came home to southern Georgia, he left again; off to more concert dates in distant cities.
But no matter where Hopper goes, it’s the music that makes him at home.
“I just love the sounds you can get from a guitar and the way people respond to it.”

To listen to Shaun Hopper’s music, learn more about him and check out tour dates go to "".

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  • by guitarist Location: united states on Apr 9, 2012 at 10:41 PM
    Shaun Hopper is a Acoustic "fingerplayer' guitar and a blues guitar player.His fingestyle acoustic guitar is influence with a precussive element that creates not only a unique sound but, an unmatched visual performance. influence by Pop, New Age, Classical, Folk, and so on...
  • by Preacher Location: Cairo on Apr 9, 2012 at 01:38 PM
    Rock music is of the Devil and has ruined our culture. Because of Elvis and rock we are now a bunch of sex crazed druggies and drunks in this counntry!
  • by stage51lover Location: valdosta ga on Oct 17, 2011 at 04:14 PM
    Stage 51 never ceases to amaze me with the talent they bring to small town valdosta's best atmosphere for good times. good music, good company, great beer, great wine and incredible music.
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