Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

One-handed guitar wizard Jake Wallace is internet hit

A teenager born with one hand who taught himself to play the guitar has got himself a legion of more than 100,000 fans from across the globe with his renditions of rock classics.

Jake Wallace’s left hand is missing due to a congenital condition but that hasn’t stopped his dreams of becoming a rock star.

The 18-year-old from Ballymena first picked up a guitar two years ago and is completely self-taught.

He recently started posting videos of himself online covering classics such as Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven which have racked up thousands of hits from around the world.

The overwhelming response has given Jake the confidence to pursue his ambition to follow in the footsteps of his hero Jimi Hendrix.

His covers have also been picked up on my online music site Metal Recommendations which has shared his performances with its 110,000-strong audience.

Jake — who is currently studying computing at Magee College in Londonderry — has been inundated with messages of support from fans, with many describing him as inspirational.

He admits to being taken aback by the huge response to his videos.

“Two years ago I was looking for a hobby to help fill my time,” he said.

“I wasn’t really into rock until I saw a busker in Edinburgh. I watched him for a good half-hour, mesmerised, and that made me want to learn to play the guitar.”

A family friend lent Jake his guitar.

Due to his condition, Jake holds it upside down while playing and has mastered dozens of classics despite no formal training.

“I’ve never had a lesson,” he said. “I just work it out, learning

the notes by ear. I hold the guitar upside down and it works for me.”

The young maestro said he has been touched by the support he has received, in particular one message from a fan in Sweden.

He contacted Jake to say he was struggling to learn the guitar and has come close to giving up several times.

But when he has contemplated turning his back on the instrument, he told Jake he watches his performances and is inspired to persevere.

He is currently seeking to form a rock band and is looking for a bass player, a drummer and a singer who share his love of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Hendrix.

Those interested can email jakehendrix@live.co.uk or to view his covers visit YouTube.

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