Irishman sets guitar-playing record


It started with a low-key version of Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacher Man and ended 114 hours and 20 minutes later with the U2 classic With or Without You.

Dublin musician Dave Browne’s world record for the longest continuous guitar-playing session was met with scenes of jubilation at The Temple Bar pub in Dublin this morning, and the palpable relief of bleary-eyed staff at the bar, which had remained open non-stop for his marathon five-day gig.

Browne had been rocking around the clock since 4pm on Sunday, playing an average of 12 pieces of music per hour, with no longer than 30-second breaks between songs.

He eclipsed the former record of 113 hours, held by Argentinean guitarist Guillermo Terraza, shortly after 9am while playing When Loves Comes to Town by BB King.

The exhausted guitarist finally put down his instrument an hour and 20 minutes later, having played a total 1,372 tracks from all genres but mainly rock, blues and traditional music.

“The whole thing just snowballed. I am absolutely ecstatic. It feels surreal,” he said after his mammoth session.

"It was an amazing experience. A special thanks has to go to all the guys at The Temple Bar pub and Guinness Ireland as without them, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Browne, who has been gigging at the bar for more than 10 years, has played with a number of well-known acts including The Dubliners, Aslan and the Pogues.

The inspiration behind his record bid stemmed from a disaffection with the music industry, he said, and a desire "to return to simply playing the guitar".

According to rules set by the Guinness World Record authorities, the musician was allowed a 30-second break between songs, which had to be recognisable, published music lasting at least two minutes.

He was afforded a five-minute break every hour which he was allowed roll into a 40-minute rest every eight hours, enabling him to power nap, eat, shower and change.

His world record bid hit an unexpected hitch last night when it emerged the record was 113 hours rather than 100 hours, which had been the original target.

The manager of The Temple Bar, Martin Deegan, was given the unenviable task of informing the weary musician that he would have to play for a further 13 hours to achieve the record.

“It was something of a shock to discover it but knowing Dave’s incredible drive and determination, it spurred him on when I broke the news to him. He is an inspiration to us all,” Deegan said.

Browne said he had undertaken a ten-week training programme to ready himself for the world record bid, losing more than two stone in weight along the way.

He used three guitars during the course of his marathon gig. A special moment came on Wednesday afternoon came when the musician got to play a rare Stevie Ray Vaughan Fender Stratocaster electric guitar.

The signed, limited edition model was loaned to him by its owner Pat Henry for a few hours - the first time the instrument had been played in 20 years.

During his record attempt, Browne was joined by a host of well-known musicians to keep him motivated, including Colm Ó Snodaigh from Kíla; Nick Kelly of The Fat Lady Sings, and drummer Barry Campbell from Blink.

Browne's record-breaking guitarathon brings the total number of Irish record holders to 135, according to a spokeswoman for the Guinness Book of Records. Other Irish musical bests include Westlife who hold the record for the most consecutive number ones in the UK charts, and U2 who boast the record for the largest screen at a pop concert.