- Rig Rundowns
- Premier Blogs
To some he was known as “Machine Gun” or “Pistola” for his lightning fast playing style but to all those who were fortunate enough to have personally known him, he was simply the warm-hearted Buster.
Born Bradley F. Jones in Ames, Iowa, in 1959, friends say he was a funny, talkative man who loved to refer to himself as a “hillbilly.” For gigs, he sported a signature look of a cowboy hat, boots and a leather vest, but he was known to show up in overalls, too.
Jones had a strong following in Nashville, where he spent many years on the roots scene, and moved west about 10 years ago. He was known worldwide for his prowess on the guitar, and was “easily one of the top 10 finger-picking stylists in the world,” local saxophonist Paul Biondi said. Accolades in regards to his incredible playing came from all over including the great Chet Atkins who said; “Buster B. Jones is the best fingerpicker I've heard since Jerry Reed... He plays like he's double parked."
His amazing skills as a fingerstyle guitarist were recognized in 1988 as the Winner of the first “Guitar Player Sound Page” competition where Guitar Player’s Tom Wheeler said of Buster; “Brad flatpicks a brilliant counter-rhythm against his amazing 5-finger fingerpicking for breathtaking effect. His blazing, clearly articulated lines were delivered with power and imagination over intricate counter-rhythms." Buster was also honored as the 1990 “US National Fingerstyle Champion.”
Friends say Jones was a mentor to guitarists of all ages, a natural performer who oozed Southern charm. He formed a special bond with local musician Brooks “Brooksie” Robertson, who met Jones eight years ago when he was 11. At 17, Robertson released his solo debut “American Fingerstyle.” At the release party the chemistry between teacher and student was electric as jokes and guitar licks flew between both musicians.
“We first met Buster at the Nashville NAMM show in 1994 and were blown away by his playing and his southern Charm,” says Godin’s Katherine Calder-Becker. “By the January NAMM show in 1995, Buster had become a full member of the Godin family and we featured him in the Godin Guitar Bar each evening of the show. From there, we hooked up again at the Frankfurt show and he began to work as a clinician for us ... from the US, Canada, Ireland, France and Australia - the Buster B. Jones 'show' stunned and amazed players all over the globe. Buster also became a dear friend to all of us at Godin and we will miss him immensely.”
Renowned guitarist Thom Bresh recently eulogized the fellow finger-picker and old friend saying; “Those who got to know him will never forget him," he wrote. "Those who heard him play knew they had just witnessed a master at what he did. Those who play the guitar would understand their limitations."
Buster B. Jones
R.I.P - 1959-2009