Rock legends pay tribute as ‘Mr Guitar’ Bert Weedon dies aged 91

GUITAR veteran Bert Weedon, who inspired musicians including Eric Clapton, Brian May and Sir Paul McCartney, has died aged 91.

The musician had “been poorly” for a while and died at home in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, yesterday morning.

Weedon, who became known as “Mr Guitar”, began his career in the 1940s playing with bands including the hugely popular Ted Heath Band, Mantovani and The Squadronnaires, before a career as a solo guitarist.

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However, it was his revolutionary Play in a Day tutorial book published in 1957 that became a “sacred tome of the birth of British rock”, pored over by a new generation of musicians desperate to master the techniques of the electric guitar and the music sweeping in from across the Atlantic.

Clapton openly acknowledged his debt to Weedon, saying he had “never met a player of any consequence” who had not learned from the books.

Queen guitarist May called Weedon a “legend” and thanked him for “spreading the guitar and enthusiasm to all of us”.

May said: “It is hard to imagine what life was like in those days. There was hardly any British rock music or even pop music – it all came from America, and there was hardly anyone in England that knew about the electric guitar.

“Bert was one of the few people who could play a guitar and make those sounds.

“Everyone from Eric Clapton to Jimmy Page, they would all say the same thing – that Bert was the first and we all loved the man. There were no secrets – he had lots of techniques that he could have kept to himself, but he shared them.

“It would be impossible to find anyone who would have a bad word to say about him.”

Weedon was awarded an OBE in 2001 for his services to music. He is survived by his wife and two sons.