Bay Area Guitarist Teja Gerken Debuts Solo Album After 20-Year Hiatus

Published February 2, 2024

Bay Area's own Teja Gerken, a seasoned fingerstyle guitarist from Fairfax, has unveiled his first solo record called 'Test of Time' after a hiatus that spanned nearly two decades. Known for his eclectic approach to music, which includes elements of classical, jazz, and traditional folk, Gerken's latest work features a rich tapestry of original pieces, a tribute to jazz legend John Coltrane, as well as arrangements of Celtic and classical music, spanning across 10 tracks.

Multi-Talented Musician

Launching his music career at the tender age of 6, Gerken's lifelong dedication to guitar-playing is now embodied within his latest album, which, according to Acoustic Guitar magazine, is 'a sonic marvel' and a testament to his skillful playing. Despite a career that's flourished behind the scenes as a respected guitar journalist and editor for Acoustic Guitar magazine, Gerken remains grounded, expressing a keen awareness that fingerstyle guitarists don't often become widely known celebrities. Nevertheless, he has built a fulfilling career by performing worldwide, educating aspiring musicians, and establishing himself as an expert in all things related to acoustic guitar.

Collaboration during Pandemic

In the wake of the unexpected 2020 pandemic, Gerken and fellow guitarist Doug Young released 'Duets.' The collaborative project was met with excitement, though live performances were halted due to global health concerns. Despite challenges, Gerken transitioned to freelance writing and co-founding Peghead Nation—an online educational platform offering root music lessons—a venture that recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and was recognized with an award from the International Bluegrass Music Association.

From Germany to Guitar Greatness

Born in Germany but finding his musical home in California, Gerken has cultivated an intimate relationship with the guitar from a young age. After moving to the U.S., he forged his path in the music industry with a blend of practical experience at a local music shop and academic pursuit. Now living in Fairfax with his family, Gerken's home doubles as a personal concert hall, housing the very guitars that accompanied him on 'Test of Time.' He fondly introduced his instruments, from a Lowden 010 to a Taylor 355 12-string, showcasing each one's unique role in his diverse musical repertoire.

Heroic Inspirations and Accessible Icons

Gerken cherishes the close-knit community of acoustic fingerstyle guitarists, where legends are approachable and often become friends and collaborators. Inspirations like Alex de Grassi and Tommy Emmanuel are not just names to Gerken; they are part of a network that thrives on mutual admiration and shared craft. As he continues to shape his illustrious career, Gerken exemplifies the idea that the true star is the music itself, which stands the 'Test of Time.'

album, fingerstyle, guitarist