The "air apparents": meet Six String Sal

Stage Name: Six String Sal
Real Name: Saladin Thomas
Years in Air Guitar: 3
Where You Live: Denver, Colorado
Where You’re Competing: Denver. Then New York. Then Finland. 

Creating an air guitar persona is all about bringing the most exaggerated form of yourself to the stage, and few air guitarists exemplify this better than Denver’s own Six String Sal. Known outside of the air guitar world as Saladin Thomas, this technical shredder extraordinaire has his sights set on one thing: dominating the competition with unparalleled skills and an epic persona. 

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“Both Six String and I desire to be larger than life,” says Sal. “He is essentially an energetic metal head ghost who desires to affect emotional impact with every fake note – like if the Undertaker from WWE ever smiled and interacted with the audience. My actual self is an energetic metal head who desires to affect emotional impact with every diatribe and every random rant.” 

For many air guitarists, their persona already is a part of them — it simply needs to be wholly unleashed and perfected for the stage. This couldn’t be truer for Sal, who has always found air guitar to be a natural form of expression. “I’ve been air guitaring songs since I was eight. Now, I can’t help but air guitar to a song and think, ‘Could I make this a routine?’ Also, I can never wear my electric blue pants without wanting to spin kick randomly.” 

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If it hasn’t already become apparent, Sal has a passion for performance and this love extends past just invisible guitars. When not blowing away the competition with his air skills, you can see him kill it on stage as the drummer for Denver band To Be Astronauts. However, Sal admits that the unique art of air guitar adds a fantastical element that playing in a “there” band simply can’t.

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“It’s performance, it’s musical, it’s character based – it’s being famous with none of the drawbacks. I love being on stage and in front of people: you’ve built up this idea in people’s heads that they know what’s coming, and whether you deliver on that or invert it, it creates a response.” 

To see what sort of response Six String Sal will elicit from you, catch him at the Denver Regional Air Guitar Competition at 3 Kings Tavern on Friday, May 25th. After coming in second place last year, he will most certainly be pushing for that big win over Denver’s current air guitar champ, Agnes Young!

Kriston Rucker