Video: Albert Lee on Jimmy Page, Music Man, and Developing His Technique

Grammy–winning English guitarist Albert Lee first started playing music back when he was just eight years old. His father had been a musician and started Albert off with piano lessons. Some years later, Albert picked up the guitar and began learning the parts of his favorite players: Buddy Holly, Cliff Gallup, and swing player Jimmy Bryant.

Although noted for his lightening fast picking speed, he tells us that that particular aspect of his playing didn't come until later.

A frequent visitor to London's West End music stores, Albert was immediately drawn to a Czechoslovakian 1959 Futurama III/Grazioso he saw displayed in a shop window. With little exposure to American brands, he mistook the guitar for a Fender and bought it right away. Albert was in good company, as many English guitarists of the time — including George Harrison and Jimmy Page — started out on Futuramas.

Albert joined a band sometime later and began playing a Gibson Les Paul Custom with a Bigsby through a Supro he ordered from a catalog. His good friend Jimmy Page liked the sound of Albert's rig so much that Jimmy went out and bought it himself.

Jimmy went on to use his Les Paul Custom Black Beauty on most of his session work in the early '60s and on Zeppelin tunes like "Whole Lotta Love" before the guitar was stolen in April of 1970 on a Zeppelin tour in the US.

In 1963, Albert started playing a Telecaster and continued to do so until the early '70s when he met Sterling Ball. When Sterling and Ernie began designing Music Man guitars, Albert got a call from Sterling telling him that they had just designed a guitar that Albert was going to love.

A few tours later, Albert left his Telecaster at home in favor of what he thought was a sonically superior Music Man Silhouette. And after that tour, he was sold on Music Man. Years later, the prototype that Sterling gave Albert after that phone call in the early '70s became Albert Lee's signature model.

Check about Albert Lee's website to keep up with his news, music, and tour dates.

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