Guitarist Julian Catford Expands Versatility, Mobility with Mackie FreePlay

Oct 08, 2015
Guitarist Julian Catford

Seattle, WA - October 2015... If you've spent any time in the Seattle area, chances are you've heard Julian Catford's music. For more than 30 years, the versatile guitarist has been a mainstay at dozens of venues in the metropolitan area. Performing solo as well as with several different Latin, jazz, and swing ensembles, he has shared the stage with such greats as Cab Calloway, Rosemary Clooney, The Mills Brothers, Ed Ames, Little Anthony, and dozens more.


Catford, who has performed internationally across Europe and the Americas, also teaches guitar at Seattle Pacific University. In his home town of Seattle, he's regularly called on to perform at weddings and other events.


For many of these smaller events, Catford has come to rely on his Mackie FreePlay to provide him with a great sounding, totally portable personal PA. "It's really the perfect system for weddings, garden parties, and a lot of the more intimate gigs I play every week," Catford remarks. "It's portable like crazy - the rechargeable battery enables me to be completely self-sufficient, and position myself in the best location, rather than having to be near an electrical outlet. And even at a show lasting several hours, I've yet to run down the battery."


Sonically, FreePlay offers the tone and performance Catford needs for his instrument. "For classical and flamenco in particular, it's important to have a system that delivers the subtlety and overtones of the guitar," he observes. "FreePlay sounds great, and gives me a nice, full-spectrum sound - great bass and articulate high end. The built-in reverb and EQ are more than enough to shape the sound I need, regardless of the space I'm performing in. And I love the FreePlay Connect app, which enables me to not only control my mix from my iPhone, but to stream music to it from my phone during breaks."


Even for larger gigs, Catford finds FreePlay useful. "I've used it with one of the acoustic trios I gig with, and it makes a great personal monitor. It's got enough output to easily cut through, even when I'm playing with a louder instrument like an accordion."


Catford says his Freeplay is not his first portable system, but it's certainly the best he's used. "I had another small amp I used for quite some time, but I could never really depend on it - sometimes it was just too loud for the space, sometimes it was just too boomy, sometimes it wouldn't work at all. And it didn't have nearly the features that Freeplay does. With FreePlay, I can take it to a gig with confidence that it will sound good and do what I need it to do."