George Benson Guitars Rock Skinner Auction

George Benson was born with a pure soul voice and an un-nerving passion for the blues. He won his first singing contest at four-years-old. Even then he played to the crowd. The musical prodigy grew up in Pittsburgh and hit the jazz scene at age eight playing ukulele and later guitar in corner pubs around town.

Like a bright star in the dreary sky above the steel city, there was no stopping the boy or his music.

Today Benson reigns as a jazz giant, one of the greatest rhythm guitar legends in history. Best of all, he can play just about any style.

"I was an entertainer first, " he said. "I've had the pleasure of playing with the baddest jazz cats on the planet. But that doesn't change my desire to entertain folks. That's really who I am."

Benson's early musical heroes included guitarists Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt, Hank Garland and Grant Green. But he developed a style all his own.

"I've always liked the hot guitar guys, he said."

One of Benson's prize possessions was a Gibson L-5 guitar that belonged to jazz great Wes Montgomery. It was the guitar Wes recorded many of his hits on like "Goin Out of My Head" and "Windy."

The guitar was pictured on the album cover of "Movin Wes." It was also the same one Benson used for a tribute concert for Wes at the Hollywood Bowl.

On Oct 14, Skinner Auctioneers, Boston, Mass., featured the guitar for sale in its Fine Musical Instruments auction which included the collection of George Benson. The guitar sold for $41, 125.

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