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About Jay

Jay Shepherd is a guitarist, composer, and recording artist.  In addition to being a virtuoso electric guitarist, Jay performs guitar, bass, keyboards, and vocals on all of his recorded works in a true representation of a solo artist.  His music is a unique amalgam of classical, rock, metal, jazz, and world music styles.  When asked about his own music, Jay describes it as, "Instrumental pop music, but not so much in a formulaic sense.  Lots of people can get behind what I write, because it has a classic nostalgia that music lovers of jazz, rock, and classical music can all get behind.  I'm not just trying to shred as many notes out in one second as possible like many of today's elecric guitar solo artists.  The music comes first, and the guitar is only a vehicle to help me get there."  


Jay is a well accomplished classical guitarist earning both a B.M. and M.M. degree in classical guitar performance from Arkansas State University.  Keeping a large of the standard classical guitar repitoure by memory, Jay finds it a constant source of musical infuence and inspiration.  To him, "the classical guitar is a great place to begin wrting music no matter what instrumentation you decide on in the end.  The options of tone color and the expansive dynamic range of the classical guitar make it better than even the piano for realizing orchestration."

Starting out
Jay spent more time playing video games than music as a child.  Many have compared his music to the Nobuo Uematsu, the famous video game composer of the Final Fantasy series.  Had it not been for an old Picador classical guitar that belonged to his father Jay might have never picked up the guitar at all.  With the help of a few books by well known guitar instructional authors, (Wolf Marshall, Andy Aledort, Curt Mitchell, Dave Celantano, and Ted Greene) Jay fell in love with the guitar, and never looked back.  Before he graduated from high school, Jay began playing guitar for several local bands and would turn this into a job.  Also being an All-State musician in guitar and tuba, Jay decided to go to college after being offered a music scholarship from Arkansas State University.  Jay attended college and studied music earning both a Bachelor and Master of Music degree in classical guitar performance.  The qualtiy of education and vast music literature in the library expanded Jay's musical horizons.
Professional Life

Jay is currently working as a freelance musician/clinician and keeps a lessons studio at Arkansas Musicworks in Bentonville, Arkansas.  Jay also plays with several artists such as Psychotic Harmony, Dillan Cate, as well as his own band, Government Radio Factory.  Jay is also a popular jazz and music technology clinician.  



Gear includes the following: Line 6 James Tyler Variax Guitars, Takamine Classical Electric Guitars, Fender Acoustic Electric Guitars, Contreras Classical Guitars, Line 6 POD HD500X, Apple Computers, Mogami Cables, Jim Dunlop Jazz III Picks, D'Addario Strings, Senheiser Headphones, Nuemann Microphones, PreSonus Converters and Pre-Amps, Logic X software, Reason 7 software, QSC Active PA Speakers, and DBX Driverack gear.


Solo Album

2015 marks the year of Jay's debue instrumetnal rock album, Gemini.  It is now available through iTunes and all other major music distributors.


Personal Thanks To...


musical mentors 

Trey Reely - for showing me how to read music and developing a keen sense of timing.  In music and life, timing is everything.

Terry Hogard - for pushing me to find excellence in all my musical endeavors.  Sometimes when all else fails, just keep trying.

Ed Alexander - for showing me the modal language of music at a young age.  Yes, 9th graders can learn more harmony than you think.

Dr. Ken Carroll - for teaching me how to swing.  No one will ever take you seriously if you can't swing.

Dr. Timothy Oliver - for demonstrating the visual side of musicianship.  Conductors are the pyrotechnics of the orchestra.

Dr. Ellis Julien - for giving me an education far superior than what I paid, and challenges that pushed me to the limit.

Joe Bonner - for perspective in music literature.  

Dr. Kyle Chandler - for teaching me how to be a student of teaching music.

Matt Carey - for his constant encouragement.

Daniel Turner - for my first guitar lesson and his mentorship as well as friendship.

Dr. Ron Horton - for unlocking the doors of jazz harmony.

Dr. Ed Owen - letting me listen to him play for 3 years until I could learn how to make a satisfying musical phrase.


These people personally sacrificed their time to invest in me.  I would hate to imagine my life without their tutelage.


musical influences - Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Nubuo Uematsu, John Mc Laughlin, Al DiMeloa, John Petrucci, Eric Johnson, Arcangelo Corelli, Nicolo Paganini, Jason Becker, Thomas Viloteaux, Joe Satriani, Toshi Iseda, Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner, among many others.


a very special thank you to -

Dr. Tim Crist - Your efforts to me as a mentor will never be exceeded.  Thanks for showing me how to listen and make musical decisions and commitments.  Your personal investment in me taught me how to create music from within, and that is invaluable.


George Bellas - for showing me how to live your dreams and believe in yourself.  He is easily my personal favorite guitarist as well as one of the finest educators I've ever known.  His tutelage not only gave me a renewed musical vision, but also the power to reclaim faith in myself again during a hard time in my life.  Thank you.


My parents - for driving me to countless music lessons and supporting my music even when it didn't sound quite as good...


My wife, Kristen - for her support in my musical endeavors and believing in me.  

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