California Report: Scott Gates, CBA success story – Bluegrass Today

Described as a fun-loving and remarkable musician, Scott Gates is yet another product of the California Bluegrass youth movement. He has been playing mandolin, guitar, and singing hard core bluegrass since before he was ten years old. Scott is in three bands highlighted below and is a popular instructor for the next wave of California bluegrass talent. If and when you see him play live, you will not forget it.

Hi Scott, when exactly did you know music was your calling?

I’ve known as long as I can remember. My family tells me I answered the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with an emphatic, “a musician!” since motor skills were a new accomplishment (still are an accomplishment, sometimes). My grandfather Marco Manzo was from Sicily, and I grew up hearing him playing old Italian tunes on his ’21 Martin A-model at every family gathering up until his passing in ’07. I formally began piano at 3, mandolin at 7, fiddle/guitar at 11, vocals/stand-up bass at 13, and three-finger banjo at 22. I’ve always got side hustles going on, but music has been, is now, and, if I stay lucky, will always be my only vocation.

What instrument do you generally find yourself holding when the muse strikes for composing?

My phone! Voice recording apps are invaluable for not only documenting ideas, but for later review with a fresh mind, not to mention