Toby Lee may be only 13 years old, but he's already inspiring a new generation of musicians to delve into guitar and the blues.

Lee was thrust into the international spotlight when he learned that B.B. King was ill and decided to post a "Get Well Soon" jam on Facebook. The video went viral, and two of B.B. King's daughters even contacted Lee to thank him for the touching tribute.

"I wanted to give him hope and a boost and let him know we're all here to back him and be there for him," Lee told of the special video.

Now, Lee is considered one of the hottest young guitarists on the international scene. He spoke with about what inspired him to learn guitar, his beloved Gibson Firebird and what it's like being considered in the next generation of great guitar heroes.

Find Lee online at

You are so young and already an amazing guitar talent. What inspired you to first start playing the guitar?

I got a ukulele when I was 3 from my grandma, and I started strumming it and strumming it until I became more confident. Then, I got a little guitar, and that gave me more and more confidence to get a full-sized guitar when I was 8. I got more confident and more confident, and here I am now!

When did you know that you were talented on guitar?

I guess that's one my mom or dad should answer! I don't want to be braggy. (Laughs)

Tracey (Toby's mom): I think we were fortunate. He attended a rock school and started jamming with other children. One of the teachers there who he had lessons with was very, very good, and quite unconventional in how he taught him. He wouldn't let him learn covers. He had to find his own style. He encouraged Toby to find a musical style that suited him and to be able to understand how to express himself though the fretboard. It was really his guidance that made us realize Toby had something.

Why is the Gibson Firebird your guitar of choice?

It's really comfortable for me to play, and with the pickups, you can get a really nice, almost single coil sound on the neck pickup, so on the bridge pickup you can really rock out. It can be a really calm-sounding jazz and blues guitar, but then it can be a rock and metal guitar, if you want it to be. I don't really use it for metal, because I don't really play metal, but I really enjoy it. It's comfortable to play and sounds great either way!

Are there any other Gibson guitars that you like to play?

I actually played on one 20 minutes ago, and it was a Gibson ES-LP, a Gold Top with a Bigsby, and it probably was one of the best guitars I've ever played. It was amazing. I love Les Pauls, I love SGs and I love Explorers.

What do you think of when you think of Gibson guitars?


Does anyone in your family play music?

My mom and dad do, but they always say they're not very good, but they're just being modest. They're actually quite good musicians—they just don't want to say it. My mom sings and plays violin. My dad used to be in a band and was the lead singer and played guitar and drums, and he also used to play violin.

Of course, a lot of people got to know you from your video tribute to B.B. King that went viral. Why did you want to send out that tribute?

I think it was because it was really sad, because he's such a great musician, and we didn't want anything to happen to him. He was keeping blues going, so I guess I wanted to do it to give him a little bit of a boost, because I love the blues so much and want to be able to represent it when I'm older. So, sending a message to him was quite a big deal to me, because he's one of my heroes.

How has B.B. King inspired you?

He's one of the greatest blues musicians in the world. He brought blues and jazz together, and to be honest, he brought people together. He's just a really great musician, and he incorporates loads and loads of styles into blues. He's a really inspirational guy.

What do you love about the blues genre?

I think it's the feel of it. I haven't experienced all the love side of it, so can't talk about that (laughs), but I like it because it's like a really soothing sort of music. It's not really heavy and angry. It's really laid back, and I don't know how, but I can connect to it. I'm only a little kid, but I guess it's just the feeling of it and the way it is really prominent in a lot of people's lives.

What do you think of being considered in the next generation of great guitar heroes?

It feels amazing, because it feels like I've worked really hard, and this is all I've ever really wanted—to be able to inspire kids and people to do what they love. If it's not guitar, if they love another instrument, I would like to inspire them to do that, too. I've been inspired by people, and to think that people are inspired by me is a really amazing feeling.

What do you say to other young people who aspire to make music?

When I was little, I thought I was absolutely terrible, and because I don't want to be braggy, I think I still am (laughs), but I would say that even if you think you're rubbish, keep going, because one day, you'll be amazing. You will be better than the rest, because you're being yourself and doing what you love to do and doing it your way. Do it no matter what, because it's an amazing feeling.