See British guitar teacher and YouTuber Old Grey Guitarist audition for America's Got Talent

John Wines
(Image credit: America's Got Talent / YouTube)

We're big fans of John Wines aka Old Grey Guitarist, but even we weren't expecting this development in his remarkable rise: he's just auditioned on America's Got Talent.

John, 59, has two decades spent years inspiring young players as a guitar teacher in schools on the south coast of the UK but gained a massive new audience after videos he uploaded of him playing guitar solos by the likes of Queen and Randy Rhoads suddenly started getting millions of view on TikTok and Instagram. And now he's taken the AGT judges by surprise with his skills…

It's the most nerve-wracking thing I've ever done

He aced it, blindsiding the judges with feedback and an instrumental take on Queen's We Will Rock You before unleashing the shred in front of a rapturous audience and clearly approving Simon Cowell. 

"I was not expecting that," the judge said in front of a tearful John as the audience shouted for more. "You look so normal and nice and sweet, then you turn into somebody else when you perform – I love that." 

"It's the most nerve-wracking thing I've ever done," said John. "But also the most exhilarating." 

We're loving seeing John going global – check out our full interview with him

"I used the name Old Grey Guitarist for one reason only; I didn't want the kids at school to find me. Because I thought they'd just rinse me and totally take the mickey," John told us of his online moniker when we spoke to him late last year.  

"But as as soon as it hit, they all knew. And that was it then, but luckily they've been great. I've had no negative comments whatsoever, you know, not even any mickey taking which I'm not used to. They all love it."

Now his students are going to have to get used to their teacher being a TV celebrity – and who knows how car he could go in the competition. We know he's got the chops! 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.