“We tried to sell it and the guy in the shop said it was the worst guitar he’d ever seen in his life”: The Pretenders’ James Walbourne on a shocking first guitar, gear regrets and the big sounds of single coils

James Walbourne
(Image credit: Al Pereira/Getty Images)

James Walbourne is one of his generation’s great rock ’n’ roll players, most notably found holding an electric guitar in the company of Chrissie Hynde with the Pretenders, but also now with His Lordship, who are about to drop their self-titled debut.

Here he checks in with Guitarist to talk about a subject close to his heart, the guitar, and all things gear. We’ll hear his biggest gear regrets, greatest finds, and what advice he has for the player who is looking for add to their collection.

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David Mead

With over 30 years’ experience writing for guitar magazines, including at one time occupying the role of editor for Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, David is also the best-selling author of a number of guitar books for Sanctuary Publishing, Music Sales, Mel Bay and Hal Leonard. As a player he has performed with blues sax legend Dick Heckstall-Smith, played rock ’n’ roll in Marty Wilde’s band, duetted with Martin Taylor and taken part in charity gigs backing Gary Moore, Bernie Marsden and Robbie McIntosh, among others. An avid composer of acoustic guitar instrumentals, he has released two acclaimed albums, Nocturnal and Arboretum.