Bill Roundtree was born in the small village of Carlisle, Kentucky. He became an Omaha resident at only age 5, where he attended Fontenelle Elementary School. While only in kindergarten, he became obsessed with classical music and the music of composers from the baroque/classical periods. He discovered the music of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Niccolo Paganini. His first major influence was the virtuosity of violinist Ihtzak Perlman. He discovered the guitar at age 8, but did not pursue it's hidden magic until later in adolescence (a Christmas with a Martin Marquis at age 8, pictured left)..

From 1st grade to 6th grade..Bill dedicated his early life to the violin, and became a constant first violinist in his school orchestra...pestering his music teachers to coach him after school and to educate him in theory... as well as to rehearse solo pieces for school concerts. He would often bring in original compositions...written crudely in pencil...for his fellow classmates to perform during class. Roundtree was the only student in his class to perform solo pieces at every school concert until at age 11 when he auditioned for the Omaha Area Youth Orchestra (a subdivision of the Omaha Symphony) and achieved first violin placement...and later performed his first major concert at the Strauss Performing Arts Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Roundtree went on to attend Monroe Middle School and his tastes in music drastically changed. An honor student, he discovered hard rock music and began constantly listening to artists such as Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest. Through a few classmates...he learned about a few music stores where he could buy an electric guitar. His first guitar was a Fender Squier "Bullet", and a tiny Crate combo amp.

The discovery of the electric guitar became an obsession of a lifetime...

Bill practiced relentlessly 8 hours a day, sometimes more, and became intensely obsessed with both the instrument as well as his newly discovered hard rock music. At 16 he had a fascination with the styles of the guitarists who played with Ozzy Osbourne...especially Randy Rhoads. Bill emulated Rhoads, his new guitar idol, and learned everything about him...from his own classical background to the person that he was.
During high school, Roundtree also a became a fast fan of underground, non-popular artists...he was a follower of the European underground scene and a dedicated listener to artists signed to the Noise International label. Another guitarist that greatly influenced his playing style was Tommy Vetterli. There were many others ..."In my opinion, the best guitarists you'll ever hear are the ones you'll never hear"...he quotes..

Bill did his best to start his own rock group but couldn't find serious dedicated musicians his age until he met with drummer Chuck Pike and singer/bassist Bill Manning to reform a previous existing band called Hexxer, which became Bill's first band. He has been in bands ever since.
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At only 16, he was rehearsing 3 days a week...7 days a week during the summer school break. After reading an interview with Randy Rhoads in Guitar Magazine discussing how teaching helped Rhoads to become a better musician, he decided to teach others the instrument. Teaching, he discovered, was the ultimate gateway to learning...

 

 

 
               
Roundtree began teaching out of his parent's house while a freshman in high school...until he was hired by Russos Guitar Center at age 17. He has taught thousands of students ever since...who have themselves went on to become guitar virtuosi. Bill immersed himself in various musical styles. He studied the talents of Eric Johnson, Paul Gilbert, and Shawn Lane...and soon became fascinated with players like Marty Freidman, Chris Duarte, Frank Gambale, fellow teacher Michael Lee Firkins, and country session player Brent Mason. He incorporated the "hybrid" picking style of these players and still continues practice..


Roundtree live in 2005

 

 

           
During school years, he taught 15 lessons after school each day and on Fridays he would get home from school, pack his gear, and play the gig at various venues. Repeating the same routine on Saturday, he would work on his school assignments while either travelling to the venue or during soundchecks! He later graduated to regional touring and supported major national acts and giggied alongside the best of the best musicians in a multitude of bands. He has opened for countless artists, including David Lee Roth, ZZ Top, Vince Neil, Smashmouth, W.A.S.P., Nightranger, L.A. Guns, Warrant, Quiet Riot, Skid Row, Faster Pussycat, Jackyl, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, White Lion, Enuff 'Znuff, Buck Cherry, and even country singer/songwriter Anna Nalick! He continues to share his knowledge with over 50 students weekly...

"I've wanted to build a studio for teaching and recording both for a long time", Roundtree explains. "..now, all students...new students as well as students I've had for years finally benefit with the resources available and acheive the results they want in half the time. The results are astounding..."

 

©2014 Bill Roundtree