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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 23:00 GMT 00:00 UK
Guitarists plucks MBE award
Internationally-acclaimed guitarist Martin Taylor said he was "thrilled" and "amazed" to hear that he had been awarded the MBE.

The self-taught musician, widely regarded as one of the best jazz guitarists in the world, said it was an honour to be recognised for doing what he loved best - music.

The 46-year-old virtuoso, who lives in Kirkmichael, South Ayrshire, began playing at the age of four when his father, jazz bassist Buck Taylor, gave him a small acoustic guitar as a present.

Speaking from Japan, where he is recording another album, he said: "I've been walking around in a daze these last few weeks. I'm completely amazed and absolutely thrilled.

Internationally-renowned guitarist Martin Taylor
Martin Taylor: "Brilliant"

"My family are so proud of me.

"It really is an honour to be recognised in this way for doing what I love doing best - music has been my life's inspiration and I couldn't imagine ever doing anything else. It's brilliant."

At 16, the boy from Harlow, Essex, was playing on a supporting slot aboard the QE2's Caribbean cruise.

From 1979 to 1990, he played all over the world, recording a total of 20 albums and several film soundtracks.

He has strummed alongside guitar legends such as Bill Wyman, Eric Clapton and Chris Rea.

Famous customers

The musician is part-owner of a company in Argyll in the Highlands, which designs and builds his guitars.

Famous customers include Paul McCartney, Noel Gallagher and Chrissie Hynde.

He is the main champion of the Kirkmichael International Guitar Festival, which attracts some of the best musicians in the world to the small Ayrshire village.

And he also leads the Guitars For Schools initiative, which works with local businesses and councils to encourage music teaching in primary schools.

Solo album

Over the last 18 months, no less than 130 guitars have been presented to schools all over Scotland and he has attended dozens of schools himself giving guitar lessons.

He decided to settle in Scotland 22 years ago after marrying his wife, Glasgow-born Elizabeth.

The couple have two sons, James, 25, who manages his father, and Stewart, 18.

The musician recently recorded his new solo album in Nashville which will be released in the UK in October.


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