Music maestro

Kicking off his column for 2024 SO’s resident music guru Paul Dunton chats to talented guitarist Sean de Burca about his new record Revenant and discovers his plans for 2024…

Sean de Burca is a local guitarist based between southeast England and the west of Ireland. Using altered tunings, effects pedals, and guitar body percussion to create soaring, fast-paced and upbeat compositions, Sean has gained global recognition.

During 2014, having only played guitar for seven years previously, Sean was chosen as one of the ‘Top 30 Guitarists Under the Age of 30 Worldwide’ by Acoustic Guitar Magazine, alongside Ed Sheeran, Newton Faulkner and more. Over the last decade he has released three records and performed across the UK, Ireland, America and Canada. Here he reflects on a successful year and reveals what 2024 has in store for him…


What have you been up to over the past 12 months?

Most of the last year has been focused on creating a new CD, while also taking every chance to perform live the songs from ‘Shapeshifter’ – the album that I released during the first lockdown. I took time off from live performance at the end of 2019 in order to record the album, but by the time it was ready to release we were in lockdown. The album would be nearly two years old before I got the chance to take these songs to the stage. It’s been such an uplifting experience to be back playing live in Tunbridge Wells after waiting so long for this opportunity.


Tell us about your new recording…

The upcoming EP is called ‘Revenant’. I composed this record entirely on a Harp Guitar.  The Harp Guitar is traditionally just like a regular six-string acoustic guitar, but with a further six sub-bass harp strings added to an extended guitar body shape. There are four compositions on the EP, but eight tracks in total: the first four tracks are the original solo Harp Guitar fingerstyle compositions played on just the one instrument, as I would play them live on stage, while the remaining four tracks are reimagined versions featuring electric guitar, electric bass, drums and piano.

I began my musical career behind a drum kit and later moved to bass and guitar. I like to create these reimagined versions as it both provides the listener with an alternative version of the solo fingerstyle pieces and gives me an opportunity to play the instruments I started out on. The first single from Revenant, ‘Reanimate’ is set for release on January 26. CDs and T-shirts can be pre-ordered from my Bandcamp page To preorder Revenant:


Can you tell us a little bit about the cover artwork for Revenant?

‘Revenant’ means something or someone that has returned after a long absence. Taking a long time away from the stage due to Covid restrictions certainly could have inspired this theme. The cover art shows a skeleton playing a harp guitar, surrounded by clouds with the sun above – moon and stars below. The EP’s tracklisting features the titles ‘Deteriorate’ and ‘Reanimate’, emphasising the opposites, a darker more frantic composition followed by an uplifting hopeful piece. I have always created my cover artwork and I am fortunate to create artwork for many other musicians too. Graphic design is my day job and I work closely with all sorts of musicians around the globe to create cover artwork, logos, merchandise, vinyls, lyric books, and various hand-rendered and embellished materials.


Do you find getting gigs and attaining fans easier or harder as an instrumental act?

In terms of live opportunities, being instrumental hasn’t held me back as much as I expected. It seems that having an instrumental act can sometimes be useful in terms of providing some diversity to a gig’s line-up. I’ve been very fortunate to get performance opportunities at events such as Local & Live and the Black Deer Festival, through to heavy metal festivals like UK Tech-Metal Festival and MammothFest. Radio play however seems to be much harder to come by than live opportunities, this is definitely where I think vocal tracks would be beneficial.


What can people expect from you at a live show?

My performances usually comprise of songs from my Stormchaser, Mechanism and Shapeshifter records, with an occasional fingerstyle cover added into the setlist. I use an array of effects pedals for added textures too, such as Overdrive, Wah, and a Digitech Whammy for pitch shifting. There are few quiet moments, focusing mainly on groove-driven, upbeat and fast-paced pieces. I am very excited to start bringing the Harp Guitar out to gigs and playing the ‘Revenant’ songs live on stage.

We’ve seen you play a handful of guitars on stage, can you tell us about your choice in guitars?

My main guitar for almost 10 years now is a Jupiter, made by Faith Guitars. This is a jumbo size six-string acoustic, a true workhorse guitar. It’s withheld heavy playing and endless tuning changes over the last decade. This guitar is fitted with a K&K Trinity Pickup, which combines three transducers and a small microphone – this setup allows all of the natural tones and guitar body percussion to be amplified accurately. I also play a seven-string acoustic built by Carillion Guitars, who are based in Surrey. This guitar features an extra low string and provides a very wide range of textures and bass presence. And of course, the harp guitar, built by Timberline Guitars.


And can you reveal what your plans for 2024 are?

I am always writing music and right now I have a handful of new compositions and a few covers. I will begin focusing on these after the Revenant EP has been released. I have also been booked to perform and host a masterclass at The Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Festival, taking place July 5th-7th in Torquay, alongside guitar legends Gordon Giltrap and Alexandr Misko.


Where can people find you online?

The best places for regular updates are my Instagram and Facebook pages, whereas my website and Bandcamp page are useful for finding info on my records, merch and sheet music.


Instagram: @SdeBurca



To preorder Revenant:

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