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Influential Jazz Guitarists

Welcome back to my blog series on influential guitarists! Today we will focus on influential jazz guitarists and discuss a few important contributors to the genre. Understanding how different guitar styles have evolved throughout the years will enrich your musical education. As always, I urge you to explore the genre and discover other players on your own. Today we will discuss three influential jazz guitarists.

Charlie Christian was a highly influential jazz guitarist. He was one of the first to embrace the electric guitar when it was introduced in the 1930’s. This brought the guitar to the forefront as a solo instrument, rather than just a rhythm accompaniment. He was an exceptional improviser and bebop player as well. Check out any of his recordings with Benny Goodman.

Wes Montgomery was one of the most influential jazz guitarists of all time. His unique style has inspired countless players, particularly his use of octaves. He is also known for strumming with his thumb, rather than with a guitar pick. This helped to create his signature warm tone. Be sure to listen to some of his many recordings, including So Much Guitar, and Portrait of Wes.

Considered to be one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the twentieth century, Joe Pass was truly a virtuoso on the instrument. He took jazz guitar to the next level with his use of walking bass lines, chord inversions and improvisation. His chord-melody technique had a profound influence on other guitarists. Listen to him perform “All The Things You Are” or “Cherokee” and prepare to be amazed!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about these influential jazz guitarists. Other players you should check out include Freddie Green, Pat Metheny and Django Reinhardt. Please stay tuned for future blogs and be sure to check out our past blogs as well. Play on!

Daniel Saunders

Daniel Saunders

Daniel is the Guitar Program Supervisor at Let’s Play Music and Make Art, LLC. He holds a degree in Music Performance from the Musicians Institute in California where he taught for nearly ten years. He is also published through Hal Leonard for Guitar World Magazine Video Lessons.

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