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Christian McGuire

Christian McGuire with Hofner

Instructor, Musicologist, Electric Bassist

Music Listening Contest
American Composers Forum Profile
Grianeala Publishing

Basses: + G&L L2000 Fretless ca.1990
+ Fender Foto-flame Jazz Bass (modified with strings thru-body, Fender Vintage Noisless Pick-ups, stacked control knobs and 3-way selector switch. ca 1996
+Hofner Ranger ca. 1969
+P-Bass knock-off with Ash Body, "Louisville Slugger" maple neck, Seymour Duncan Quater Pounder - with NO Volume or Tone Controls
+Kay Ply-wood Upright ca. 1960 with SKi-Jump neck. miked with an SM-57 wedged beneath the bridge between the D and A strings.
Strings: Any Stainless Steel 50-110
Amps: Mesa-Boogie Buster 200 with Ampeg 810E cab; GK- MB150S


Christian McGuire is a faculty member at of Music History & Electric Bass at both the McNally Smith College of Music in Saint Paul, Minnesota and Augsburg College in Minneapolis. He holds a Master of Arts in Musicology from the University of Minnesota (Symphonia Caritatis: The Cistercian Chants of Hildegard von Bingen) and a BA in Philosophy with a minor in Latin and Ancient Greek from Luther College, Decorah, IA (Rooting the Arts: A Home for the Musician in the Philosophy of Simone Weil) having spent his junior year at the University of Nottingham, UK. His musical interests however reflect a lifetime love of all kinds of music.

Since moving to the Twin Cities in 1993, he has worn many hats in the musical arena as educator, performer, conductor, composer, clinician, recording artist, and music retail manager (Schmitt Music in Maplewood from 1997-2001).

Born into an extended family of career musicians, farmers and ranchers, he was raised in Hudson, Iowa. He learned to read music by turning pages for his father William F. McGuire, a professional organist and Director of Music at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls, IA who also provided him with his first lessons in counterpoint. His mother Esther E. (Rosfeld) McGuire is a former Nebraskan cowgirl turned career music educator. She introduced him to the horn (the Rosfeld family instrument) and ensured his exposure to all sorts of music ranging from Stevie Wonder, Parliament-Funkadelic, The Beatles, Kiss, Dave Brubeck, Leonard Bernstein, Richard Strauss and of course Mozart. In 1988 he was one of five recipients awarded the Iowa Scholarship for the Arts, which was presented to him by Governor Terry E. Brandstad.

As an instrumentalist, Christian has formally studied horn with Thomas Tritle at the University of Northern Iowa and voice with Harriet McCleary at Saint Olaf College. He has also studied orchestration with Judith Lang Zaimont and electronic music composition with Dr. Christopher Hopkins at the University of Minnesota. His compositions have been commissioned and performed by jr. high, high school, and college choirs in a number of states.

Since 2004, he has been the musicologist and author of the Minnesota Music Listening Contest Study Guide and is currently an instructor of Music History at the McNally-Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN.

As a performer, Christian began playing electric bass in 1983. His junior high band director rightly insisted that the jazz band needed a bassist, so he gave him Carol Kayes How to Play Electric Bass and a recording of Jaco Pastorius and said Learn this. Since then he has had a steady side career as an electric bassist playing with Neros House Band and Green Pyramids as well as with various progressive rock, southern-rock biker bands, bluegrass ensembles, etc.

Today he can be found in various recording studios, musical theatre orchestra pits, big bands, rock bands etc. as bassist, or on stage at Orchestra Hall where he sings in the Minnesota Chorale, the official chorus of the Minnesota Orchestra, with his wife Krista. They live in St. Paul with their two children, two tabby cats (Eddy & Mercury), and German shepherd (Athena).

Musical Influences

  • Paul McCartney; John Entwhistle; John Paul Jones, Tony Levin, Geddy Lee
  • Charles Mingus; Victor Wooten; Carol Kaye; Jaco Pastorius
  • Stravinsky, Berlioz, Copland, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schoenberg, Busnois

Favorite Recordings

  • Ein Deutches Requiem, Brahms
    Don Giovanni, Mozart
    String Quartet #4, Bartok
  • Beatles - White Album
    The Who - Live at Leeds
    King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black
  • Charles Mingus - Mingus Mingus...