I guess to start this page, I'm going to list some of the artists who
have make fingerstyle guitar great. Hopefully I'll fill in information
on when I have time. These guys are the greats and are definitely
worth checking out. If anyone is thinking of learning more about
fingerstyle guitar, or just hearing incredible music performed by
virtuosos, check these guys out... This will definitely help your
playing! I'm sure that I've left some musicians out, but I will try to
update this list as I discover omissions.
ALL OF THIS IS
Segovia - The first real classical guitarist. He
was the person who gave legitimacy to the guitar as a concert
instrument. His recordings from the 20's and 30's are some of the most
vital, essential works ever.
John Fahey - It's not often that a musician can
make the claim to have single handedly started an entire field of
music but John Fahey is one of the few who can accurately do so. Until
Fahey came along there really were no solo steel string guitarists. He
was an innovator in a time when noone had taken advantage of Travis
picking for individual uses. And there were very few guitarists who
had so profound an influence on others or source of influences. A
music historian, he influences ranged from ragtime to popular to Hindu
Stephen Grossman - The quintessential
guitarist/historian/teacher. In addition to being a wonderful
guitarist, Grossman has dedicated himself to the preserving and
promoting information about the guitar. He has been responsible for
much of the guitar literature that is available concerning
fingerstyle, blues, folk and other guitar methods.
Bert Jansch - Back in the late 50's, early 60's,
Jansch was at the forefront of the movement of English folk guitarists
that came out of that era. His duets with John Renbourn and solo
albums with traditional tunes like Black Waterside and Reynardine
dealt less with social concerns than their american counterparts but
were often far superior musically. Jansch did tackle social issues
occasionally, as in his groundbreaking "Needle of Death", one of the
first songs to deal with drug use. The group Pentangle ( also with
John Renbourn) later became one of the foremost "folk fusion" groups.
John Renbourn - Renbourns duets with Bert Jansch
formed his initial contribution to the music world. Indeed, later,
with Pentangle, Jansch and Renbourn would team up again to make
amazing music, but in my mind it is his work as a solo artist that has
been the most gratifying. Renbourn has made a wonderful trait as a
musical historian that has led him to unearth quite a number of gems
from the classical legacy of the lute and transfer them to the
guitar. Despite this, my favorite work of his is his experimentation
with rock/folk tunes in the "Lost Sessions" album from the mid-70's.
Leo Kottke - If Segovia gave
the guitar legitimacy as a serious instrument, and Fahey began the
movement of solo steel string fingerstyle guitarists, Leo Kottke took
the form to it's pinnacle with his first widely released album "6 & 12
string guitar" in 1969. This album should be required listening for
any aspiring guitarist. While he has never had another album which has
equaled that first effort ( though some of his live albums are very
close!), Kottke is a top-notch performer and his efforts are never
short of breathtaking ( with the exception of some of his late 80's
early 90's remakes of his early works where he lapses into pop
oriented lackadaisical music making).
Michael Hedges - What happens when you have a
classically trained musician who plays guitar, loves experimentation
and is kind of a flake? You get Michael Hedges who is one of my
favorite guitarists of all time. Not only are his compositions
immaculate and vital, but he is one of the greatest innovators the
guitar has seen, having pioneered the method of using each hand to tap
a different guitar part at the same time. His several albums where he
tried to remake himself as a sappy, emotional singer were greeted in
a lukewarm fashion but then he returned to making incredible guitar
music. The music world lost one of it's brightest stars when he died in a
car crash at the end of 1997.
Pierre Bensusan - One of the best folk guitarists
ever, Bensusan has more recently experimented with Jazz combos and new
age styles. His first album "Pres De Paris" is a must have!
Preston Reed - Wow! Preston Reed's two handed
over the top tapping/slapping style is just incredible. He acheives
the sound of an entire percussion and rythm section by himself by
using each hand to slap different sections of the guitar string and
body! It's amazing what this guy can do.
Billy McLaughlin - One of the most interesting
artists to use the two handed method, McLaughlin taps a lead with one
hand and slaps a bass line with the other. While I personally always
think the bass is always mixed too low in his recordings, it's
undeniably very cool!
Christopher Parkening - The successor to Segovia
as the world's foremost classical guitar maestro, Parkening is
considered by many to be the premiere classical guitarist in the
The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ) - This
group is awe inspiring. You have to hear what four classical
guitarists can do before you'll believe it.
Paul Galbraith - A wonderful classical
guitarist. He plays a unique 8 string guitar holding it like a cello
supported with a metal endpin that rests on a wooden resonance
box. His interpretations of Bach's sonatas and partitas for the
unaccompanied violin have recieved a lot of critical acclaim.
Chris Proctor - Perhaps one of the strongest
composers/arrangers for the modern guitar that I have ever heard. His
playing is impeccable but I feel his real strength lies in the beauty
of his original compositions. He has used a number of modern
innovations such as the Ebow and partial capos with wonderful
results. His "Travelogue" CD is a must have!
Ed Gerhard - You have never heard tone until you
have heard Ed play. He elicits a sound from the guitar so
unbelievable, you'll wonder why more people don't steal his rig. His
interpretations and compositions are practically instructional courses
in dynamics. His Live album is unreal.
Martin Simpson - Martin is an immaculate player
and interpreter of traditional music and music of various cultures
such as Celtic, Blues and even Malagasy.
Stanley Jordan - What can I say about Stanley?
His two handed tapping technique is awe inspiring and he makes some of
the most incredible music I've ever heard. He is one of the most
incredible performers to see live. No one can believe their ears when
they see him play.