The Guitar Man – Sam Li


‘Sam Li, the only man who knew my guitar better than I did’ – Francis Rossi.

The Guitar Man – Sam Li is the inspirational story of a man who left his humble Caribbean roots in 1959, as part of the Windrush programme, and travelled to the UK in search of a better life with nothing more than some cabinet-making skills and a love of playing jazz guitar to his name. However, a few years after arriving in the UK, his life changed forever as he found himself at the epicentre of an exploding music scene. As musicians’ demand for guitars increased through the 60′s and 70′s, Sam Li carved a niche for himself as the go-to guy for guitar repairs and set up in London. Along the way he not only became associated with some of music’s most iconic instruments (Peter Green’s ’59 Les Paul Standard to name just one), but he also built a select number of bespoke guitars himself to a level of craftsmanship rarely seen nowadays. With fascinating input from family, peers in the London music scene and, of course, the musicians whose instruments he worked with, The Guitar Man tells the life story of a principled, mysterious and somewhat revered character from the music’s halcyon days.

I feel like a custodian rather than an owner. It’s just passing down the line. I know that feeling well and I’m comfortable with it as long as I get to hang out and play it every day. It’s a special piece of wood. And it’s right beside me now. It sleeps where I sleep’ – Kirk Hammett, owner of the Greeny.


A genius in the world of guitar repairs - Amazon *****
I like the info about Sam. A well written and informative book about a master craftsman. I first met Sam in the early 70′s when he had a loft repair shop at 19 Gerrard St in Soho. I had been sent there by Selmers in Charing Cross Road. All the music shops.. Inc Sound City in Shaftesbury Ave had 2 people who they would use for guitar repairs. Sam Li for guitar building and repairs and refinishing and Amancio De Silva for pickup rewinds.

I was recommended to visit Sam for my Rickenbacker guitar refret. Sam was a perfectionist and I must have visited him a dozen times over 2 years. He was always happy to advise me about any aspect of guitar repairs. About 2 years ago, Fiona Beattie responded to a forum review of mine on the Manchester Beat website. She said that she was looking for info about her step father. Sadly, I wasn’t able to contact her.. before this book was published. However, I’m so pleased that she fulfilled her ambition. Well done to her and Mark for writing a fascinating book about Sam Li who I will always remember as a genius. I have bought the book as a Kindle edition download – Malcolm Braganza-Pereira.

Brilliant – Amazon *****

Very well written and straight to the point - Amazon customer.

Interesting biography of both the man and the London music scene – Amazon *****

This is a really interesting biography of both the man Sam Li and the 70s music scene in London. Sam’s biography is an interesting one, coming from Guyana to the UK as part of the Windrush generation, and becoming entwined with some big name rock stars.

Plenty of anecdotes both from his personal and professional life. This is the book for you if you like social history, rock music or guitars! - Amazon customer

Unexpected Gem – Amazon ****

I read about this book on Facebook a few weeks ago and pre-ordered. As a guitar and bass freak, I was fascinated by the idea of someone fixing famous people’s instruments. Without spoiling, I knew about a few of the guitars mentioned, but very little about the guy behind it all. What an incredibly touching story about a man who didn’t like publicity but seemed to have the respect of everyone he worked for. A shortish and beautifully written biography that music fans and casual readers both will dig – Scot Carlson

About the Authors

Mark Eglinton is a Scottish bestselling co-writer of several books across multiple genres including Blindsided with Australian rugby legend Michael Lynagh, which was shortlisted for International Autobiography Of The Year at the 2016 British Sports Book Awards and Heavy Duty, KK Downing. Mark is also the co-author of the recently published Michael Owen’s book, Reboot.

Fiona Beattie grew up in London surrounded by music, with her stepfather playing jazz guitar and her mother playing classical piano. Deciding on a career in technology and after a spell at a Merchant Bank, Fiona furthered her career at the Reuters News Agency. Fiona recently stepped back from technology to dedicate more of her time to her passion of music where she researched the life of her stepfather, his work, the world he inhabited and the larger than life personalities that relied on his craftsmanship. The Guitar Man is the result of this work. Fiona is delighted to have collaborated with the best-selling author Mark Eglinton.


Title: The Guitar Man – Sam Li
ISBN: 978-1910957035
RRP: £9.99
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 188 with photos.
Publishing date: 6th November, 2019.



Available for...