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Buster B Jones, famed guitarist and mentor, dies at 49.

Byline: Serena Markstrom The Register-Guard

Buster B Jones, known as "Machine Gun Hands" for his ability to play the guitar viciously fast, died Monday, leaving behind a grieving community of friends and admirers. A private memorial is scheduled, and musicians are organizing a larger public gathering that has not yet been announced.

The family is not listing the cause of death.

Born Bradley F. Jones in Ames, Iowa, in 1959, friends say he was a funny, talkative man who loved to refer to himself as a "hillbilly." For gigs, he sported a signature look of a cowboy hat, boots and a leather vest, but he was known to show up in overalls, too.

Jones had a strong following in Nashville, where he spent many years on the roots scene, and moved west about 10 years ago. He was known worldwide for his prowess on the guitar, and was "easily one of the top 10 finger-picking stylists in the world," local saxophonist Paul Biondi said.

"Buster played like he was double parked - just really, really fast, trying to get every note in there. He was like Chet Atkins on steroids."

Friends say Jones was a mentor to guitarists of all ages, a natural performer who oozed Southern charm. He formed a special bond with local musician Brooks Robertson, who met Jones eight years ago when he was 11.

At 17, Robertson released his solo debut "American Fingerstyle." At the release party at Hinman Vineyards, the chemistry between teacher and student was electric as jokes and guitar licks flew between musicians.

"There was a whole lot of stuff that I didn't get from him that I will have to get from Brooksie," said musician Dale Etherton, who jammed with Jones just last week at his Junction City home.

The Musicians Emergency Medical Association is giving $500 to help with the cost of his cremation. An account to cover final expenses also has been set up at the US Bank, 234 W. Sixth Ave., Junction City.
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Title Annotation:Ticket
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Feb 6, 2009
Words:333
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