jump to navigation

Fame ’embarrasses’ YouTube guitar star September 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Entertainment.

South Korean student Lim Jeong-hyun has basked in five minutes and 20 seconds of fame in front of almost 9 million viewers.

About two weeks ago, The New York Times identified Mr Lim, 22, as the mysterious man bathed in sunlight who played guitar in one of YouTube.com’s most-watched videos of all time.

A video simply titled “guitar” appeared on YouTube, a popular video-sharing website, about eight months ago.

It shows a young man sitting between his desk and bed, bowing his head so that his baseball cap covers his eyes, ferociously playing a rock version of Johann Pachelbel’s Canon- music often played at weddings.

The guitarist’s face is never seen, and the footage focuses on his fingers.

His real name is not mentioned in the video, but he calls himself “funtwo”.

The austerity of the clip and the new interpretation of a well-known piece of music has fascinated millions.

After the article, the shy Mr Lim woke up one day in late August and found himself famous.

Local media picked up what The New York Times had reported and Mr Lim’s tale was told by major South Korean newspapers and TV networks.

“I was so embarrassed because I had too many phone calls and too many visitors all of the sudden,” he told Reuters Television at a music studio in Seoul.


Many of the people who posted comments on YouTube wanted to know the guitarist’s identity.

Many complimented his playing, while some questioned if he was aided by electronics and a few said he was a fraud.

The clip has become YouTube’s second-most discussed video after one of people lip syncing a video game theme song.

With short hair, dyed dark brown, glasses and a T-shirt, Mr Lim hardly looks the part of a guitar hero – and he does not consider himself one either.

“I became famous not because my playing technique was great, but because the Pachelbel’s Canon arranged by Jerry C was a very popular piece,” he said.

The New York Times has reported that Jerry Chang, a guitarist from Taiwan, composed the arrangement Mr Lim played.

TV performance

Others have tried to claim they were the guitarist in the video or had a part in the composition, but there is no doubt that Mr Lim can play the piece masterfully.

He plugged in his guitar, the one seen on the video, and played the rock version of Canon for Reuters Television with his right hand streaming over the notes and his left hand a flurry of activity fingering the frets.

Mr Lim first picked up a guitar when he was a third-year student in middle school.

He took acoustic and electric guitar lessons for about a month on each instrument and is mostly self-taught.

Mr Lim says he practised for three weeks before recording the video, and he was not all that satisfied with his performance.

“If I gave a grade to my playing, it should be 50 or 60 out of 100,” he said.

He says his immediate plans are to head back to New Zealand, where he is studying information technology at the University of Auckland.

“I have no intention to be a professional musician as of now,” he said.

“I just enjoy playing the guitar.”

%d bloggers like this: