The esteemed composer. Photo by Danette Davis

Ben McAllister

Guitarist | Composer | Agitator

A composer and guitarist based in Seattle, I've played with a string of boundary-pushing groups including Medicine Hat, Degenerate Art Ensemble, Wizard Prison, C’mon C’mon and Tuktu. I co-host the Articulations podcast w/Joshua Kohl. I’m the founder of the Guitar Cult, my current focus, a 7-piece electric guitar group interpreting my pieces. I periodically share audio I've made along the way in my My Sounds sound journal series, available on Bandcamp. My guitar music is available from Stropes Editions.

I've been working in technology for years as a programmer, then the bandleader for whatever team I've been on. I write to think, and the blog here reflects that, not being limited to music. If it pertains specifically to guitar, I put it in that section as well.

Upcoming Events

Guitar Cult and Seattle Guitar Circle

Royal Room, Seattle | Thursday, September 21

(Poster by Mike Strassburger)

Guitar Cult's triumphant return. Come experience the heightened trance experience of Ben McAllister's guitar group music, featuring the recent addition of the drummer Neil Wilson.

The guitarists among you will likely that the Seattle Guitar Circle was born from the Guitar Craft classes founded in the 80s by King Crimson's Robert Fripp. Many paths have led these players (some you'll know from those League of Craft Guitarists albums) to the group you'll hear on the 21st, with a unique take on group interaction. I saw them at the Chapel last month and they're cover of Coltrane's Naima was gorgeous.

Being a cult of music worshippers, we appreciate the mystery in all approaches to the guitar; I feel like the universe is bopping my on the head making this bill possible. See you on the 21st.

Medicine Hat w/Give and Chimestone

Royal Room, Seattle | November 17, 2023

Our 90s angular hardcore band is reuniting for the first time in 15, for only the second time since our peak in the 90s. We're pretty excited to be getting together to play the classics from this record. Though we no longer look like we did this time we were 'on tv' - we are still pretty smokin hot, I promise. We will be sharing more here and on the socials as we get closer to show time. Thanks to brother Chris Friel for his positive vibes in getting us together.

Past Events

Ben McAllister Solo + Duet w/Neil Wilson + Audience composition experiment #2

The Chapel, Seattle | Friday July 21, 2023, 8pm, $10

Another session at the Chapel where I share my explorations in notation and improvising, trying to break out of the repetition we so often fall into playing with loops. I'll be playing both solo, and with my frequent collaborator, the drummer Neil Wilson.

YouTube Live solo stream (Watch archived video)

Streaming solo set online live September 26, 2022 8pm

Ben McAllister Solo show + Big Audience Composition Experiment

Friday October 14, 2022 7:30pm, $10, Chapel Performance Space, Seattle


Scores and Parts for 3 pieces - Askance, The Rock and Land Bridge Approach - are now available through Stropes Editions, March 2022

Track for Land Bridge Approach available, Nov 2021

My music featured on Wayward in Limbo audio stream, July 2021

Alberto Whitmer, Zach Tremblay, and Max Foreman perform "The Rock (for 3 Guitars)" by Ben McAllister, Spring 2021.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students Max Foreman, Alberto Whitmer, and Zach Tremblay perform "Askance" by Ben McAllister, Fall 2020.

Medicine Hat TV appearances (from 1994) on YouTube


The Guitar Cult: My electric guitar ensemble

The Articulations Podcast: Joshua Kohl and I interview unique musicians we love.

Previous projects

Degenerate Art Ensemble | Tuktu | Wizard Prison | C'mon C'mon | Medicine Hat


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