6 String Showdown Rules


New Blues Festival 6 String Showdwon Banner





The rules for the competition are very straight-forward and designed to create impartial judging.


Competitors may bring a combo amp, a 2-pedal max, overdrive and reverb or delay plus a backup guitar.

Due to space constraints, we prefer you to bring a 1x12 speaker cab, however, 2x12 will be allowed.

To allow competitors to keep “their sound” yet keep the competition focused on skill only TWO pedals will be allowed to be used in any combination of the following: Overdrive, Reverb, and Delay (plus a tuner). If you bring any other pedals on stage you will be disqualified.

You will be allowed one back up guitar. It must be tuned and ready to play.

If you break a string during your set, it is up to you to either keep playing or switch guitars. If you switch guitars, the band will keep playing. You cannot make up lost time. If there is an equipment malfunction, the house band will keep playing. If you cannot correct your equipment malfunction, you will forfeit.

There will not be a secured area for equipment. 6 String showdown and event venues will not be responsible for lost or stolen equipment. Make arrangements to protect your gear, it is your responsibility.


It is your responsibility to get with the stage manager (Rick Snyder or Stoney Gurrola) at least 1 set, but not more than 2 sets before your set. You need to have your amp and pedals ready for stagehands to set up as easily and quickly as possible.

Be tuned and ready to play when you walk onto the stage. There will be no loud tuning while on stage. If you are not ready or do not have your equipment ready for the stagehands by the time the previous set is over, that will be cause for a forfeit.

The Competition

Each contender will initially face off against another randomly drawn contender.

They will rock/paper/scissors to determine who solos first and who gets to spin the wheel to choose a style of blues (Shuffle, Boogie, Slow Blues in a major key, Slow Blues in a Minor key, Jump Blues, Chicago Blues, Funky Blues.)

Once the style is chosen then the other competitor will spin the wheel to choose a key (A, B, Bb, C, D, E, F, or G).

The house band will set the tone with a twelve-bar intro in which the two competitors will both play rhythm, then the guitar player who won the first solo will solo for twenty-four bars while the other player provides rhythm guitar then they switch and the second guitar player solos for twenty-four bars while the first guitar player provides rhythm guitar.

Then they trade fours (Call & Response) for thirty-six bars each (with the exception of slow blues which is twenty-four bars each).


The judges will base their decision on  1/3 showmanship, 1/3 technical skills, and 1/3 audience response.

The Judges will be looking for tone, phrasing, tasty licks played with feeling, expression, timing, dynamics, reflection, thoughtful consideration of the other contestant, ability to play rhythm and solos that tell a story.

The Rounds

Winners names will be drawn from a hat to determine the order for the second round and so on until there are only two players left, they will be the San Gabriel Valley Regional Semi-Finalists and proceed to the Golden Groove Stage at the New Blues Festival on a date TBD.

In Season One

Each contestant received professional photographs provided by our official photographer, a professional video provided by Casey Reagan of musicUcansee.com. The Long Beach Blues Society and/or the Orange County Blues Society provided one year of free membership.

The two semi-finalists at the end of the evening each received a guitar ring from Jewelry by Designer Darren Simonian, a G7th Performance 2 capo with the 6 String Showdown logo laser etched into it, split the tip jar and moved on to the Golden Groove Stage at the New Blues Festival on Labor Day Weekend.

This Season

In addition to all the prizes received at last seasons regionals,


The Kern County winner gets a spot on stage at the Kern River Rock n’ Blues Festival

The LA County winner gets a spot on the Ragin Cajun Blues Festival

The Orange County winner gets a spot on the New Blues Festival Huntington Beach

The San Diego/Inland Empire winner gets a spot on the Temecula Blues Festival



Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial

Sign Up for our Mailing List, Like Us on FB, Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and Follow Us on Instagram!