First playing guitar at the age of 14, Scott McGill majored in jazz performance/composition at Temple University. He began his professional career playing for Robert Hazard, getting exposure in front of large crowds. This gig lasted from 1985 to 1986. In 1991, McGill started the band Scott McGill's Hand Farm. The group released a self-titled album and performed as opening act for several progressive rock outfits. The next move for McGill was hooking up with prog rockers Finneus Gauge. He recorded two albums with that group, 1997's More Once More and One Inch of the Fall (1999). Later in 1999, Hand Farm released their second CD, Ripe. By 2000, McGill had hooked up with Michael Manring and Vic Stevens (who was the drummer in Hand Farm) to form Addition By Subtraction and release an album by the same name.