Recordings Are Your Best Teacher

December 14, 2015 - 2 minutes read

It amazes me how students make little or no effort to learn the major guitarists of the past and study their styles.  If you are a Rock/Blues guitarist, you should be aware of James Burton, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Freddie King, Elmore James, Les Paul, Robert Johnson, Bo Diddley to name a few… These are some of the guitarists that influenced Jeff Beck, Jimi Page, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Les Paul and many others.

If Jazz is your thing, listening to Django Rheinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Freddie Greene, Charlie Christian is a great start.  To add to the list, listen to Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Johnny Smith, Lenny Breau, George Van Epps, Jim Hall and Herb Ellis and continue to the more contemporary guitarists of the day like Pat Metheny, John Scofield, John McLaughlin…  Of course you should listen to all the great players from other genres, like Bluegrass, Classical, Country and so on. Become familiar with Chet Atkins and Danny Gatton and check out who they listened to. This can become a lifetime hobby that’s both enriching and educational.

Make note to the tone they get, their feel, style, song selection, technique, articulation, phrasing, etc. Take the lines. transcriptions and techniques that you like and write them in a manuscript book for future study and reference, much like an artist does with a sketch book when they have an idea.  Indicate the artist, song, playing position and chord the line was played over so you can go back and listen to it in the future.  Listen to how they play chords and learn the different voicings. Your record collection/playlist is the best source for learning the guitar.  When you study a players style it’s like studying with that person one on one!