Hugh was the one of the best known members of the South African music community, and those who have had dealings with Hugh over the years would have known him as a talented musician who contributed in many ways to the music industry in this country. He was born in Salisbury, then Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) and grew up on a farm there. In desperation to own a guitar, he borrowed money from his matron at school, and bought his first instrument. Over the years his budding interest in Blue Grass music blossomed into his incredible mastery of guitar flat picking. In recent years he started his Bluegrass Band “Herringbone” well known around SA but especially in JoBurg. He was a unique personality and a multi talented musician, able to pick up a tune and play and sing anything if asked and was a brilliant entertainer and joke teller par excellence. He also played a mean harmonica. He developed a passion for high quality made guitars which fostered his hobby for collecting them. This resulted in the birth of his very successful guitar company: Hugh’s Fine Guitars. He was incredibly knowledgeable, and stocked many well known brands - Gibson, Martin, Santa Cruz, Webber, Collings, Taylor, and Bourgeois to name a few. He also traded in other instruments such as mandolins, double bass and vintage electric guitars.
Hugh and his loving partner, Melanie Forster, revelled in running the guitar business, playing gigs around South Africa and making many flat picking and finger picking guitarist friends all around the world, fellow music lovers who shared his passion for creating and spreading the joy and healing power of music.
Hugh will be sorely missed in the music industry and by his many friends and clients. Melanie with the help of Hugh’s guitar fundi friends, has taken over the reins of Hughs Fine Guitars and will continue to run the business in his memory. Thanks to everyone who sent condolences and attended Hugh’s Memorial Service – the most ‘musical Memorial’ ever with many musicians and friends entertaining the hundreds of people who attended.
RIP Hugh and thank you from all of us budding musicians out here whom you helped, encouraged and inspired, entertained, kept us sane and pointed us in the right direction towards fulfilling our own musical aspirations - we salute you and your amazing contribution to the world of guitar music. We will miss you so much.