BASS player Terry Neal has become a walking advert for his favourite guitar shop.

He stunned staff at Guitar Mania in Parkstone by walking in one day and showing them the shop’s name tattooed on his arm.

Terry, 58, of Northbourne, has been playing since the age of 11 and credits music with helping him through the brain illness encephalitis.

In recent years, he has bought his bass guitars and equipment at Guitar Mania in Ashley Road.

“They always give excellent service. They’re a good bunch of lads,” he said.

“They always take the time to explain things and show how things work. It’s all first name terms. It’s like they’re mates rather than you being a client.”

Terry chose to have the logo of the Fender company tattooed on one arm in a tribute to the Fender Stratocaster guitar.

Shortly before he had the logo tattooed – by “Gentle John” of Classic Tattooing in Alder Road – he decided to add the guitar shop’s name around it.

Terry has been a semi-professional bassist, playing over the years for local bands including Killawott, The Keep and Brian Moon and the Satellites. His bass heroes include Jaco Pastorius, Phil Lynot and Paul McCartney.

“The bass and the drums hold everything together. It’s like the engine room. If you haven’t got a bass and drums, you haven’t got a band,” he said.

He says a bout of encephalitis – an inflammation of the brain – in 2001 cost him his job as a fork lift driver, his first marriage and his home.

But his love of music helped see him through. He found religious faith at St Andrew’s Church in Kinson and is happily remarried. “I can’t imagine not having music in my life,” he said.

Chris Farley, managing director of Guitar Mania, said Terry was a “really nice guy” who had been a customer for years.

“What we do for him is pretty much the same as we do for anybody. We spend time with people and if people want to ask questions and try things out, they can,” he said.

“Many music shops can be quite overbearing and intimidating for people that aren’t necessarily professionals. We try and create a nice relaxing, friendly atmosphere.”