LONDON GUITAR ACADEMY has the great pleasure of introducing its FAVOURITE GUITARISTS series with guest blogger-true music enthusiast and longtime friend Paul Wood! In our first in instalment we pay tribute to the immaculate JOHNNY THUNDERS

Careering out of the Bronx in 1971 as part of the New York Dolls on sky high  platform shoes that would give most people a nosebleed and a bouffant hair style that wouldn’t have looked out of place on an 80s US female soap star, Johnny Thunders (and his guitar) gave the early 70’s a look and sound that would never be forgotten.



Playing in an aggressive style with a throwback to 50s rock’n’roll and r’n’b, the Thunders sound was a sharp contrast to the guitar sounds of early 70s rock.

Mixing his love for 50’s rock’n’roll and doo wop with the teen romances of the 60’s girl group sound, both the New York Dolls and his later solo albums and shows were unafraid to feature a healthy sprinkling of covers – all given the Thunders guitar sound makeover.

Notable covers either live or in the studio included Pipeline (Chantays), Stranded In The Jungle (The Jayhwaks), Pills (Bo Diddley), Don’t You Start Me Talkin’ (Sonny Boy Williamson), Bad Detective (The Coasters), There’s Gonna Be A Showdown (Archie Bell & the Drells), and Do You Love Me (The Contours).

To quote the title of their 2nd (and final official album) The Dolls were clearly a case of “too much , too soon” but the Dolls had a big influence on the trendsetters that emerged with UK punk.

Thunders moved over to the UK at the time of the UK punk explosion with his new band, the Heartbreakers, where they cut one classic (but muddy sounding) album for Track (“L.A.M.F”).  Sporting a new short sharp hairstyle and either a suit/tie or leather jacket/skinny tie combination look, the band would take to the stage to the sound of air raid sirens before proceeding to explode with one of the most powerful and exciting sets of the initial punk era.

With the Heartbreakers imploding in a befuddled mix of drugs and inter-band squabbles over the sound of the L.A.M.F mix, the subsequent years produced a number of sporadic releases (and re-releases) of varying quality under the Johnny Thunders name, with the best being “So Alone”.

A mysterious and lonely death in 1991 in New Orleans only served to underline his legend and reputation but to quote the title of the best track (and his best ballad) from the “So Alone” album – “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory”. 

Guitars most associated with Johnny Thunders:

Gibson Les Paul Special/Gibson Les Paul T.V. (Honey yellow withP90 pick-up)

Recommended albums:

New York Dolls – New York Dolls

New York Dolls – Too Much Too Soon

Heartbreakers – L.A.M.F

Johnny Thunders – So Alone

Django Reinhardt Guitar Great

Django Reinhardt along with Charlie Christian arguably the first guitar hero and along with the mighty Jimi the greatest guitarist of all time in my opinion…Why ? he like all greats was a musical pioneer a sublime composer a free spirit a rebel and a warrior! His Gypsy Jazz legacy is a wonderful part of genuine guitar culture for all to behold.
He must be pretty good Quentin Tarantino has just named a film after him….

At the age of 18, Reinhardt was injured in a fire that ravaged the caravan he shared with Florine “Bella” Mayer, his first wife.They were very poor, and to supplement their income Bella made imitation flowers out of celluloid and paper. Consequently, their home was rich in highly flammable material. Returning from a performance late one night, Reinhardt apparently knocked over a candle on his way to bed. While his family and neighbours were quick to pull him to safety, he received first- and second-degree burns over half his body. His right leg was paralysed and the third and fourth fingers of his left hand were badly burned. Doctors believed that he would never play guitar again and intended to amputate one of his legs. Reinhardt refused to have the surgery and left the hospital after a short time; he was able to walk within a year with the aid of a cane.



Django brother Joseph Reinhardt, an accomplished guitarist himself, bought Django a new guitar. With rehabilitation and practice he relearned his craft in a completely new way, even as his third and fourth fingers remained partially paralysed. He played all of his guitar solos with only two fingers, and used the two injured digits only for chord work.Django Reinhardt played acoustic guitar his entire career. He played electric once, during his tour with Duke Ellington in the States, but it wasn’t a success and he never played amplified again. Django only used 1 brand of guitar: Selmer guitars, typical gypsy jazz instruments with an oval sound hole and very high action.Check out the full bio below…

His son Babik Reinhardt is also a formidable guitarist.

Jean “Django” Reinhardt was a pioneering virtuoso jazz guitarist and composer. Reinhardt is often regarded as one of the greatest guitar players of all time and regarded as the first important European …Wikipedia
Born: January 23, 1910, Liberchies
Died: May 16, 1953, Fontainebleau
Full name: Jean Reinhardt
Song Title
  1. Minor Swing (Remastered Original Version)
  2. Les yeux noirs (Remastered Original Version)
  3. Nuages (Remastered Original Version)
  4. Tears (Remastered Original Version)
  5. Djangology (Remastered Original Version)
  6. Echoes of France (La Marseillaise) (Remastered Original Version)      
    7. Tea for Two (Remastered Original Version)      
    8. Georgia On My Mind (Remastered Original Version)      
    9. Solitude (Remastered Original Version)      
  10. Honeysuckle Rose (Remastered Original Version)      
  11. Lady Be Good (Remastered Original Version)      
  12. St. Louis Blues (Remastered Original Version)      
  13. Swinging With Django (Remastered Original Version)      
  14. I’ll See You In My Dreams (Remastered Original Version)      
  15. Manoir de mes rêves (Remastered Original Version)

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Django Reinhardt Guitar Genius

BB King Guitar Great

The Mighty Riley B. King (born September 16, 1925), known by the stage name B.B. King, is an African-American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 6 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time (previously ranked No. 3 in the 2003 edition of the same list),[1] and he was ranked No. 17 in Gibson’s Top 50 Guitarists of All Time.[2] According to Edward M. Komara, King “introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that would influence virtually every electric blues guitarist that followed.”[3] King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, because of this he is often nicknamed ‘The King of Blues’.BB also has an powerful soulful singing voice that has proved a powerful foil for his beautiful guitar playing.

BB King Lucille
Perhaps no other musical partnership has a history as long as that of the blues legend B.B. King and his beloved guitar named “Lucille.” Today the Gibson B.B. King Lucille model is a gorgeous ebony queen with gold hardware bearing King’s name on its headstock. But over the years there have been many Lucilles, including an actual woman whose name King took for his guitar.In the winter of 1949, King played at a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas. In order to heat the hall, a barrel half-filled with kerosene was lit, a fairly common practice at the time. During a performance, two men began to fight, knocking over the burning barrel and sending burning fuel across the floor. The hall burst into flames, which triggered an evacuation. Once outside, King realized that he had left his guitar inside the burning building. He entered the blaze to retrieve his beloved $30 Gibson guitar. Two people died in the fire. The next day, King learned that the two men were fighting over a woman named Lucille. King named that first guitar Lucille, as well as every one he owned since that near-fatal experience, as a reminder never again to do something as stupid as run into a burning building or fight over women.[1][2]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgTWSEfGwEU&feature=share

B.B. King wrote a song called “Lucille” where he talks about his guitar and how it got that name. The song was first released as part of Lucille and it is included on the B. B. King Anthology 1962–1998 album.

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Lucille Blues Guitar Great

“It seems that it loves to be petted and played with. There’s also a certain way you hold it, the certain noises it makes, the way it excites me … and Lucille don’t want to play anything but the blues … Lucille is real, when I play her it’s almost like hearing words, and of course, naturally I hear cries.” — B.B. King, liner notes from the album, Lucille, 1968


Love music play guitar @ London Guitar Academy the natural home os Guitar Lessons in London.“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.”

“We all have idols. Play like anyone you care about but try to be yourself while you’re doing so.” BB KING

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Tommy Emmanuel - Guitar Great

Tommy Emmanuel – Lewis & Clark

The wonderful William Thomas “Tommy” Emmanuel AM (born 31 May 1955) is an Australian guitarist and occasional singer, best known for his complex fingerstyle technique.At London Guitar Academy we love Tommy Emmanuel he has such grace and beauty when he plays. Always an absolute pleasure to here and watch the genius that is TOMMY! Tommy effortlessly manages to combine great technique with fantastic free flowing musicality that really does set him apart as both a musician and guitarist. Subtle but raw with  passion and grace. Tommy really is the pinball wizard! Love Music Play Guitar!

Tommy Emmanuel – Classical Gas

Everyone would love a guitar teacher like Tommy Emmanuel

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The London Guitar Academy is London’s only dedicated Rock Pop and Blues guitar school specialising in one to one guitar tuition in either electric or acoustic guitar.

Each lesson is tailored to suit each students individual taste and ability; offering a fresh and innovative approach to learning the guitar.

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