There are a few legendary guitarists in the Finnish rhythm music scene that have been around since the early 1970’s. Juha Björninen is definitely one of those players – and I feel humbled for the fact that he has chosen some of my guitars to his arsenal of tools. No words.
I recall one time Juha came for a visit, and there was a left-handed guitar hanging on the shop wall. He picked it up and started playing… and my jaw dropped. He’s not a lefty player, but there he was, improvising away with a lefty guitar – and notice, not reversed, but he actually picked with his lefty and fretted with the right hand. And he sounded great! Juha explained (after noticing my facial expression) that he had learned to play left handed at some point, cause it added new nuances to his musical vocabulary. He could for example go to a session and record some of the tracks left handed, and it would sound like there are two guitarists playing! Tells something about Juha’s talent… I’ve never seen anybody else pull off something like that.
Juha must be one of the hardest working session players and producers in Finland – over 12 000 recorded tracks since 1971! He leads Juha Björninen Band, works actively also as a producer, has recorded with many top artists – “Tubbs” Paul Williams, Giraldo Piloto, Lilian Garcia, Torrie Zito, Gordon Haskell, Douglas Pashley, Kirka, Anna Eriksson, Laura Voutilainen, Jari Sillanpää, and Pablo.
Juha has played in the following line-ups (among many others): Jukka Gustavson, Piirpauke, Vesa-Matti Loiri, Pekka Pohjola Group and worked in close co-operation with Kassu Halonen for over 30 years. He has become a familiar face for Finnish TV viewers over the years, performing in various TV show housebands nearly 30 years.
You can find Juha’s music online from Spotify and Apple Music – check out his solo albums ‘Meteorites’ and ‘Twilight in Paradise’ – and don’t forget the beautiful album by ‘Tuigu’..!
"The Ruokangas VSOP is the most ergonomically designed guitar I have ever played. It is very easy and comfortable to play both sitting down and strapped on – which is very important as playing through number of sets during one night. The VSOP feels stable, stays in tune very well and looks attractive too. Excellent work!"
- Juha Björninen