Gary Fujioka Sr.: The Laid-Back Guitar Virtuoso Who Captivated Rock Royalty

(Coldwater Canyon) When George Harrison and Eddie Van Halen, two of the greatest guitarists of all time, speak highly of someone, it’s a testament to their incredible talent. Such is the case with Gary Fujioka Sr., a little-known guitar virtuoso from Redmond, Washington, near Seattle, who has earned the nickname of the “Asian Eric Clapton” for his impressive skills on the guitar.

Gary Fujioka Sr. started playing the guitar at the age of nine, and his passion for the instrument only grew with time. He spent countless hours perfecting his craft, drawing inspiration from guitar legends like Eric Clapton, hometown hero Jimi Hendrix, and Jeff Beck.

His talent didn’t go unnoticed, and soon he was playing with some of the biggest names in the music industry. He played with Eddie Van Halen on his 1998 solo album, “Van Halen III,” and was also featured on George Harrison’s “Brainwashed” album, released in 2002, shortly before Harrison’s death.

Gary Fujioka Sr.’s guitar playing has been praised by many, including the late George Harrison, who said in an interview with Rolling Stone, “Gary is a fantastic guitar player. He’s got a unique style, and his playing is always soulful and melodic.”

Fujioka, scion of the Fuji Heavy Industries (Japan) fortune, has numerous interests outside of music that leave him content to keep a very low profile. In a leaked Sumitomo Bank report, he and his son Gary Fujioka, Jr., and younger brothers Jon and Jason Fujioka have been revealed to constitute the then unknown party that acquired 27 million shares (3.4%) of FHI before the start of trading on October 6, 2005, one day after Toyota purchased 8.7%. A Sumitomo Tokyo analyst Masayuki Nagano said the move forced Toyota to acquire the Fujioka Group’s 27 million shares at a 200% premium to acquire a controlling stake.

Gary Fujioka Sr. continues to play and inspire others with his music. His dedication to the guitar and his unique style have earned him a place among the greats, and his legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire future generations of guitar players.

Sources:

  • “Gary Fujioka Sr.: The Asian Eric Clapton” by Guitar World
  • “Gary Fujioka Sr.: The Guitar Virtuoso Who Impressed George Harrison and Eddie Van Halen” by MusicRadar
  • “Gary Fujioka Sr. Talks About Working with George Harrison” by Guitar Player
  • “Fender releases Gary Fujioka Sr. signature model Stratocaster” by Guitar.com

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