EDUARDO Niebla might have become the King of the Accordion - instead, he has been dubbed The King of Latin Guitar.
Before he took up the guitar, the Moroccan-born Spanish musician first tackled the accordion but found one major problem - it was too heavy.
Mind you, he was only five years old at the time.
"I was playing it at the age of five with people dancing and I was singing. But it was just too heavy."
Three years later, his older brother, Antonio - he comes from a family of 11 - gave him a guitar. "Now when I played that I thought, 'this is more like it!'"
Today, he is an acclaimed guitar virtuoso with 21 CDs under his own name and a reputation for playing in an eclectic style, from flamenco to jazz and the classics.
On November 7, he brings his latest quartet to Liverpool's Palm House.
"There was always so much music in the house," he says. "My father was a long distance runner and farmer who became a carpenter and he loved music. In Morocco, all the local musicians used to come round and we listened to everything. I loved classical music, there was Latin American music and my brothers liked jazz. So it was a big range.
"That helped me to have a wide musical taste in the future."
His family was from Spain, so it was flamenco music that he first began playing. Then he played classical guitar.
"Eventually, the family moved back to Spain and, in his teenage years, he formed various bands and played at concerts and festivals. He appeared on the radio and accompanied his sister, Pilar, reading poetry with flamenco guitar.
At the age of 18, he went professional and founded a symphonic rock band Atila which produced three successful albums and toured France. Then in 1978 he arrived in London. "To be honest, I was only thinking of passing through on my way to America where I was going to study music.
"However, I couldn't speak a word of English so I thought I'd learn English in England and then go on to America. But I was also broke."
So he started doing session work for various pop groups. By 1980, he was a member of the group Mother Gong and recorded an album Fairy Tale and, in the same year, was invited to Ronnie Scotts to perform in a duet with jazz saxophonist Lol Coxhill.
Amazingly, he was still playing by ear - and still does. But he abandoned his idea of studying in the USA.
"People who had been to these schools in America told me not to go there, that I would play like everyone else."
The friends were right - in the 1980s he was writing for film and television as well as forming a big band under his own name which included classical, jazz and rock musicians. His brother, Salvador - a famous drummer in Spain - played the drums.
Eventually one of his musical friends, David Milner, a double bass player with the London Philharmonic, gave him a book on arranging. "I learned a lot from that," says Eduardo, 47.
In Liverpool, he will be playing tracks from his new album, Natural, a mixture, he says, of flamenco, Latin American and jazz.
Brother Salvador will be joining him on drums as will Hugo Elizalde (guitar) and bass player Davide Montavini.
He was actually working on the new album when we spoke. "I have a couple of more mixes to do," he said. "Then it should be ready in three weeks." CD number 22 will be released.
* EDUARDO Niebla is at the Sefton Park Palm House on Friday, November 7. Tickets £10 (concessions £8). Tickets from Bluecoat Arts Centre, 0151-707 9393.