March 18, 2013


If I remember correctly, the first piece of music that I ever learned to play on guitar was “House of The Rising Sun”. It was the version by The Animals that was a big hit in the UK in the late 1960’s. I was hooked on the opening, played in an arpeggio style. just a simple little chord progression, but to me it sounded miraculous.

So me and my mates all got down to working out how to play it. There weren’t no internet or mobile phones in those days. Not even CDs. I had to play the vinyl continuously by walking over to the record player and lifting and repositioning the needle. Then pick up my guitar and try to get it bit by bit.

These days, practically everything you want to learn is available instantly via tablature sites, YouTube teachers, books, websites etc. Do you know how lucky you are?

And think about how some of the greats of folk and blues guitar learned their craft. They sat and watched other players and worked out how to do it. Or if they were lucky, they would get a lesson from that player.

One of my guitar heroes is the great Stefan Grossman.

stefan grossmanStefan Grossman

Stefan fell in love with the music of great players like the Rev. Gary Davis, a superstar of finger-picking acoustic guitar. Gary Davis was blind from birth and needed a “lead boy” to help him from show to show etc. Stefan took on the job, and as Gary Davis played, he transcribed what he heard. Eventually he had a large amount of material which he published. Studying Stefan Grossman’s books was how I learned to finger pick. We have to thank pioneers like Stefan for their commitment to making the work of great players accessible to us all.

Another magic guitar moment for me was hearing the brilliant opening to Day Tripper by The Beatles. What a killer opening riff. Great guitar sound too, presumably played by George Harrison.

So I’d love to know what magical guitar moment inspired you to get a guitar and learn to play.



Posted by in Discussion and tagged as , , , ,

March 18, 2013

Back in the Day.

Did you know modern guitar has very ancient roots? There are 3000 year old stone carvings showing stringed instruments that can be seen as the ancestors of the Strat and Martin, but the origins could be older than that. And many different cultures have contributed to the story.

Greece, Persia, North Africa, India, Scandinavia, Germany, Spain. All of these countries and civilisations have used stringed instruments not dissimilar to the guitar to make music. (more…)

Posted by in Acoustic, Electric, general, Guitars and tagged as , ,

March 18, 2013

My beautiful Blade Guitar.

Over the years, a lot of people have asked me about my Blade guitar. It’s a black Levinson Blade R3. One of the first ones that came into the UK. I’ve used it on hundreds of gigs and recording sessions.

I don’t like changing guitars through a live performance. My old Blade guitar gives me lots of different sounds at the flick of a switch. Apart from the 3 pickups (2 standard Levinson single coils plus a Seymour Duncan Hot Rail), there’s an onboard pre-amp with different settings. So I can flick a switch to get an acoustic guitar sound, then flick it the other way to get brilliant overdrive. And it plays beautifully! Gary Levinson is an American living in Switzerland where he constructs his growing range of guitars. Check out Blade guitars here.  I’d love to know what you play and why you chose that guitar.




March 18, 2013

Favourite guitar moment?

Can you remember what it was that inspired you to start playing guitar? Was it something you heard on CD or YouTube? Did you see a great guitarist in full flow and say to yourself , “That’s what I want to do”?

A great inspirational moment for me was quite recent. I saw Tinariwen play at a festival. They are Tuareg musicians from North Africa.

The guitar playing was very simple. No big show off solos. Everything the guitarists did was stripped down to bare minimum. And I know that has had an impact on my playing.

And if you want to know which guitarist I most wanted to play like when I was starting off….it was the great Peter Green.

Peter Green

Peter Green with his Gold Top Les Paul.

So what about you? Who inspired you?


Posted by in Discussion, Guitars, Uncategorized and tagged as , ,

March 15, 2013

Billi Blog

March 15, 2013

So You Wanna Be A Guitar God?

You’ve come to the right place!! Do you want learn to play guitar from scratch or improve your existing skills? Maybe you’d like to have a go at some new styles of playing. Billi will teach you. I intend to create 10 teaching courses for players of different abilities, from absolute beginner to advanced level. I’ll also be putting up specialist courses in folk and blues etc. Each course will consist of 10 lessons, with course material you can download and a quiz to see just how much you’ve learned!. 

Do you want to check out guitars and equipment? It’s all here ! You might even get to win something amazing in one of my competitions. 

Want to find out about some great guitar heroes? Check them out here?

Looking for great video clips and interesting artists. Go to my treasure section.

Want to discuss all things guitar with like minded friends? Speak up here.

And, of course, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

You can contact me here if you have any questions or if you want to say anything about the site.

 Billi-back 2

March 1, 2013


I am going start a list of guitar heroes, with an emphasis on the less well known players. So let me know if you have a favorite player we should be bathing in our spotlight.

Who do you think is the best of the new generation of players? And what makes him or her so good?

Or maybe you know about a great player that never gets a mention in the press.

And I am going to kick of with a few of my lesser known favourites. Let me know what you think.

Richard Thompson

Albert King

Ibrahim Ag Alhabib

Davy Graham

Alan Wilson

John Fahey

Derek Trucks




Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: