About John Friedrichs. ( email: JohnFriedrichs@chello.nl )

The first time I tried to play guitar was at the age of 15. One year later I had my first electric and like a lot of guitarists started playing blues and rock, but as far as I can remember I immediately fell in love with the music of Django Reinhardt. It was a beginning in studying the music of the western European Gipsies. And there are quit a lot!  

At the beginning.....

The first jazz band I joined was at the age of eighteen. It was a kind of swing band with a clarinet player and a drummer. In an early stage we switched over to playing without drummer and the line up became: clarinet, double bass and two guitars. These guys are still going. After that I started a band with Harry Klunder, whom I had met atSamois in the early 90's. There was a distance of 100 kilometers between us. Sometimes it was impossible to rehearse, so we often used the telephone.......

Robin Nolan

While on a vacation in the south of Portugal I was invited by Robin Nolan to play rhythm guitar in his band. It was my opportunity to become a full-time musician. OK, I wasn't playing lead anymore, but after a while I got used to that idea and became aware of better being a good rhythm player then a bad solo player. So since then I'm a rhythm guitar player, and I must admit: it feels good! With Robin's band we traveled half the world and I made three albums with him. But being a bit restless, after four years I had to give up playing with him. Occasionally we are still having fun together.

John Ligthart

After a short break I started to play with Dick van Loenen and bassplayer Ronald de Vries, both Dutch. At the beginning we played everywhere: little restaurants and bars, only to get a good band together. And I think it worked, for a while.... After a short period Ronald left and since then we were playing with different bass players like: Thomas Anderson, Gregor Schaefer, Eric Roodbaard, Simon Planting, Sven Schüsster and Hans de Waard. All very good bassplayer in their own way. This musical relationship did last till September 2000, when I decided I wanted something different. And so I started to play with John Ligthart.
At met John at a session evening at 't Molentje in Amsterdam. I was impressed by his style: strong right hand, loud and very Manouche. Robin (Nolan) said to me: 'You should play with him!'. Rob's not always right, but this time he was and so I did. And that's were we are at this moment, together with Gregor Schäfer, who joined us after a short period.
I'm really happy with this trio and I believe this band is what I've always been aiming for.

Guitars and equipment.

My first jazz guitar was a Höfner, a blond and acoustic one. I swapped it for a cheap and very bad Django-style gitbox. Yes, unfortunately it was a Blue Ridge, or Saga as the are called now these days. (I would like to give you an advice: Never buy a Saga or Blue Ridge unless its under $250 and even then its doubtful!) I am the owner of a few guitars at the moment. More interesting I guess are my Django style guitars. Pretty soon after that Saga I had a chance to buy 1984 Favino #909, offered by Patrick Bitane and made by Jean-Pierre Favino, the son. When I moved to Amsterdam in 1993 I had the opportunity to buy another Favino. Made in 1988 and #1001. A beauty and not only by her look. I should have been happy by then, but I wanted a Jacques Favino, the father!  I found a nice one (#651-1978) with a nice tone and it looked almost brand-new.  I only had it for a few months and have no picture of it. But is looks similar to the 1980 with the Red Cedar top in my Favino-Galery. It was sold to me as a Jacques. But I still believe it wasn't!!! So if you are looking for a Jacques Favino, you've got to be very carefully. All guitars dated after 1978 are not made by  Jacques Favino!!  (Check out my Favino pages). There was no problem the guy who sold it to me wanted to take it back when he had a 1967 Jacques. So I exchanged them, and since then I also own Jacques Favino #81 from1967!Right before we were planning to record the first trio album with Robin Nolan I bought an Ibanez Maccafferri. A D-hole, which I really like for rhythm playing. If you play them right, you get a very full and rich sound out of them. You also get a nice balance with the leadplayer (if he plays an ovale-hole, because de D-hole doesn't project as good as an Oval hole). I hardly  play it since the top has to be repaired.  


The guitar I play the most at the moment is the 1988 Favino, just because it has a Big-Tone in the bridge. It's a cheap but well working piëzo from Germany and I like it in combination with my Trace Acoustic TA 100R amplifier. I prefer a thick plectrum made of a kind of plastic, about 3-4 mm thick. Usually I make them myself, but Michel Wegen does a better job. His picks give a strong, round and fat sound, they last very long and the sound is close to turtle shell (which is hard to get, very expensive and wears out quickly.....). Out of all metarials like: ebony, coconut, pvc, perspex, bone, ivory, all kinds of horn, brass, stone, rosewood, butons and turtleshell to name a few, I found his material the best (apart from turtleshell).
First off course there's Django Reinhardt, a complete guitarist, both as a side man and as a soloist. A TRUE GENIUS!!
If you're a bit lost and forgot what it's all about, just play his records!

The others:
Dorado Schmitt, Tchavolo Schmitt, Bireli Lagrene, Lulu Reinhardt(!), Stochelo Rosenberg, Tchan Tchou Vidal, Bousquet, Boulou Ferré, Angelo Debarre, Joseph Reinhardt.

The Rhythmplayers: Gaiti Lagrene, Ziroli Winterstein, Nou'che Rosenberg, Piele Rosenberg, Falco Rosenberg.There's more to come.......