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Colorado 14-year-old rocks international guitar competition, takes top honors

Hunter Hallberg from Centennial won an international guitarist competition. The 14-year-old just wants to be guy making a mark on the world of music.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Walking into his homemade basement music studio, it is easy to see what 14-year-old Hunter Hallberg loves to do - play guitar. 

The Centennial teen has 20 electric guitars placed around the room, each with a different purpose. Hallberg admits he has come a long way since learning how to play guitar through a video game, Rocksmith.

Although he admits his music talents were "kind of self-learned", he eventually started taking lessons. 

"When I saw that Master Class, I was like, what, that's even possible?" Hallberg said.

Hallberg started practicing five hours each day.

"Most of it is like muscle memory to me," Hallberg said. "I'm like playing a solo over and over again. I'm mastering the solo, so I don't have to really like focus on the solo. So, when I play live with a bunch of feel and not worry about it."

The eighth-grader has gotten so good at guitar, he competed against hundreds of musicians from around the world and won the Young Guitarist of the Year competition put on by MusicRadar in London.

"There's a bunch of topics they cover like musicality, like performance, like stage presence," Hallberg said.

Winning was one thing, but he said what made it more special was that he won by playing an original song in his final performance.

"It was like crazy cause like the first song I ever wrote, seriously," Hallberg said.

His trophy was a $2,000 guitar and recognition that he could very well be the best guitarist in the world at his age.

"It doesn't have to be all of that ego like stuff, like having a big head and thinking you're better than everybody," Hallberg said. "I just want to be like a normal dude."

The avid Colorado sports fan wants to be the guy playing the national anthem on his guitar at the Rockies game.

He also wants to be the guy moving the world of music.

Hallberg has a band and is in the process of writing four more songs so he can release of full album of nine songs - possibly before he starts high school next Fall.