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John Kerry Plays Guitar in China; Experts Critique His Chops —Video

Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry showcased his guitar-playing skills when he hosted a lunchtime jam session during talks with officials in Beijing, China.

In the Wall Street Journal news item about the performance, which was posted last night, reporter Sarah Larimer reached out to two guitar "experts," asking them to comment on Kerry's skills.

One of them was Guitar World's very own editor-in-chief, Brad Tolinksi. The other expert was Mike Molenda, the editor-in-chief over at Guitar Player magazine in California.

Here's what they had to say:

Tolinski: “Charming amateur … he plays like someone half-remembering something he was once good at 20 years ago. The first piece is very simple and goes well enough, but the second piece is bit out of his reach. Like any good politician, he knows when things are starting to go bad and reacts quick enough to get out while he still can!”

Molenda: “For the first piece in the clip, Secretary Kerry sounds very good — like a well-practiced amateur with a love of the guitar. His fingering is fluid and the notes sound full, robust and accurate. But in the second piece, you can hear buzzes and muted notes that betray a certain lack of fingering technique. His flourish at the end, however, is awesome.”

What do you think of it? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook!

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.