Laurence Juber – Guitarist Spotlight

With 2 Grammy awards and 22 albums featuring his mastery of the acoustic guitar, Laurence Juber continues to expand his repertoire, resume, and renown.

From a formal musical education, Juber went on to ignite stadiums of fans with his blazing rock n roll solos, years before he demonstrated priceless vintage instruments at the Smithsonian Institute and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Laurence Juber began his career straight out of music school, playing primarily electric guitars as a member of Paul McCartney and Wings. After Wings disbanded, he moved from London to New York and ultimately Southern California, where he became one of the entertainment industry’s most sought-after studio musicians.

The varied voices of his guitars can be heard on the soundtracks of countless television programs, feature films, and albums of the top recording artists. He has even scored musical comedies for the theater. But Laurence Juber’s true musical love is solo fingerstyle acoustic guitar, something he does as well or better than anyone else on the planet.

Only a Paper Moon by Harold Arlen, arranged by LJ

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Juber’s own compositions meld jazz, blues, rock and even classical styles and technique. They are often deeply personal, like Catch, which was named after the NYC club Catch a Rising Star, where he met the other love of his life, his wife Hope.

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LJ’s arrangements for solo guitar of some of the world’s best loved music are rich with texture, capturing the spirit of the ensemble pieces with just one instrument and his two hands. His two albums of Beatles tunes and another of later McCartney compositions are very popular with Beatles fans as well as lovers of world-class guitar playing. Here is My Guitar Gently Weeps, recorded unplugged.

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LJ’s most recent studio release, entitled Under the Indigo Sky, was recorded as a mood album, conceived and intended to be enjoyed late at night when the lights are low. It includes Juber’s sublime arrangement of Cry Me a River.

When I went looking for a video of this tune, I found three good examples, each recorded with a different guitar. Juber has played various makes and styles of guitars though the decades. Since 2001 he has performed with one of his C.F. Martin signature models, of which there have been several editions, an honor no other artist has yet to receive.

They were made in mahogany, Indian rosewood, Brazilian rosewood, Madagascar rosewood (seen in the videos above) and a maple edition that included a version of the D-Tar Wave-Length pickup system that Juber uses on stage, although he blends in an internal microphone as well. And in 2011 a very limited edition was made in Hawaiian koa, expressly constructed with as light a build as possible for optimum responsiveness, using animal hide glues throughout.

So here are three versions of Cry Me a River, preformed on a mahogany Juber model, followed by Brazilian rosewood, and the hide glue Koa edition. Each has an Adirondack spruce top. Although the mix between pickup, mic, and PA varies, the personality of the individual guitar and tonal coloring from each tonewood comes through very nicely.

Adjust Your PC Volume Accordingly

Mahogany

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Brazilian Rosewood

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Koa

Related Reading

LJ’s official website including tour dates

The special koa Juber model up close

Descriptions of the different Juber models in LJ’s own words

Juber at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

More Guitarists in the Spotlight

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