The World’s Top 10 Best Jazz Guitarists of All Time

The following is a brief list that includes some of the world’s best jazz guitarists of all time. Whether you’re an aspiring jazz musician or just someone who appreciates the music, this list is for you.

Charlie Christian

Charles “Charlie” Christian was an American jazz guitarist who lived from 1916-1942. He is credited with bringing the jazz guitar out of the rhythm section and into the world of solo instrumentals. He was called the best improvisational talent of the swing era and one of the founding fathers of bebop, while single-handedly influencing nearly every other artist on our list. He was so diverse that he eventually was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame for his early influence.

Wes Montgomery

As the jazz music world continued to gain popularity, more artists emerged. Among them was Wes Montgomery, who was greatly influenced by Charlie Christian. In fact, he learned Christian’s solo and often played them note for note. Montgomery would eventually develop powerful techniques and lines for his own solos which would make him one of the most important and best jazz guitarists of all time. He later would be imitated for generations of jazz musicians.

Jim Hall

Improvisation was Jim Hall’s preference for developing new music. Hall discovered there was more to jazz than bebop, and eventually drew the attention of some of the best musicians in the 60’s including the Sonny Rollins’ band and Bill Evans, among others. His style and technique is one of the best seen in jazz music.

Freddie Green

We couldn’t go this entire list without mentioning William “Freddie” Green. While his journey with music started with the banjo, Green went on to play in clubs throughout New York as a teenager and quickly discovered his love for jazz guitar. He is known for his complicated rhythm guitar technique that blended perfectly with Big Band music.

Joe Pass

Joe Pass also emerged in the 60’s and went down as one of the best solo jazz guitarists of all time. With his extensive knowledge of lines, he created a reputation that continues to inspire artists to this day.

B.B. King

B.B. King was an American singer and jazz guitarist, and also one of the most famous artists to ever grace the American continent. There isn’t much we can say about B.B. that hasn’t already been said, but what we can point out is that he is considered one of the most influential jazz and blues musicians of all time. And will be for the foreseeable future.

Django Reinhardt

Belgian-born French jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, is thought to be one of the best jazz guitarists of all time. Reinhardt was the father of what is known today as “hot jazz” and goes down as one of the best jazz guitarists of all time.

George Benson

Benson was born a jazz guitarist artist. He started off playing soul jazz and eventually broke onto the pop scene. He used a similar technique to that of Reinhardt, but was himself an incredible artist.

Larry Carlton

Larry Carlton, like George Benson, started playing guitar at a young age. Later in life he would play with the likes of Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and many more. His work within the jazz world is recognized the world over, and his songs continue to provide music for millions.

John Scofield

John Scofield was an American jazz-rock guitarist and composer. His work enabled him to work with everyone from Pat Metheny to Miles Davis. His talents spanned genres including funk, jazz-fusion and rock.
There you have it. Our picks for the best jazz guitarists in history.

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How Playing An Instrument Can Improve Your Brain

We all love music, there isn’t a person in this world who doesn’t like some kind of music or the other. Well, who would have thought playing music or learning to play an instrument could improve the functioning of our brains? I’m not saying it- it’s all well documented in science.

Science shows it helps in “neurophysiological distinction” which aids in literacy, thereby translating into better academic capabilities. Studies in the Northwestern University show that music can greatly improve the functioning of your brain. Studies show that (simply/just) listening to music is not enough, but that you have to practice playing music in order to improve your cognitive function. For example, just watching sports doesn’t make you fit, does it?

The same study shows that students who play music have better attendance and cognitive function, although active participation in making music is required to rewire the brain.

We all know one thing for sure- music has the power to change our mood, it definitely possesses the ability to motivate us and often improves concentration. Music makes us happier, leading to more dopamine release which means more contentment in life.

Want a more symmetrical brain? You better pick up an instrument. Brain scores show that musicians have a more symmetrical brain and that the areas responsible for motor control, auditory processing and spatial coordination are denser, which makes you a well-balanced person both physically and emotionally.

Want a faster brain? I know you do. Again, picking up an instrument is the answer. The Corpus callosum as the scientists call it, is a bridge between the left and right hemispheres of the brain and guess what, people who play music have a thicker and more efficient Corpus callosum, helping the two spheres of your brain to communicate better and faster.

Perhaps the single most reason for stress is the stress hormone cortisol, which leads to all kinds of unwanted stress related problems in our lives. But the good news is, listening to music decreases this stress hormone; even listening to sad music has benefits- it has been proved to provide you with the necessary physiological relief during hard times.

It increases the spatial intelligence of your brain which helps in understanding how things work. This is an essential skill for complex careers like architecture, engineering, math and computer science.

If you don’t want a receding memory down the lane when you age, music has shown to protect people from memory loss and cognitive damage. You don’t have to play music forever, even people who have played music for just 4 years seem to show the same results in their cognitive functions even after 40 years.

So go ahead and pick up that instrument you always wanted to, let the music flow through you for all the joys it has to offer you in life, for like Einstein said, “I know that the most joy in my life has come to me from my violin”. And if you are looking for that inspiration you always needed, look no further- here is a list of famous people who played instruments. Look up to them, learn, laugh and love.

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Where to Find Free Music for Your Videos

Copyright holders, along with YouTube (to use a well-known example), have, within the last few years, been cracking down on people using copyrighted music without permission. Tributes & covers of songs, of course, have been somewhat “riding the fence” of legality, where the artists gives their due credit to the composer/lyricist in question and provides a disclaimer in their video description that says “this is not my work, I do not own the rights to this music,” and they generally get left alone, more or less.

Obviously, though, not all videos with music in them are covers or tributes. Other videos are sometimes sales pitches, or vlogs featuring meditation music. Whatever the reason for including music at all, it’s something of an embarrassment for a video creator if they have to remove or replace the music in their video because the music was copyrighted, and the creator had their video monetized. And since not every content creator out there earns lots of money from their videos, they likely can’t afford to pay the royalty fees required of them, so they’re forced to remove the music.

Finding Free Music

But not everyone is a musician and/or lyricist with the ability to compose their own works. Nor does everyone have a musician pal at their disposal, whether that musician gets paid for ditties and jingles or not. So it’s often up to the one creating the video to find either free music, or at the very least, royalty-free tracks. But where to find such music? And is the free music you’d find of high quality?

After all, it used to be that most stock music libraries didn’t have music that was very good quality, and some music libraries are still like this if the people uploading tracks have used cheap equipment and synthesizers where the built-in digital sound banks aren’t very accurately sampled & reproduced (this tends to happen with lower-end electronic keyboards).

However, thanks to the advent of MP3s and more professional-grade composition & editing software, among other similar advances, most stock music libraries these days often have truly stunning tracks available in a wide variety of genres, so you’re not stuck with just a few samples here and there of one style, and a lot of samples in another style, and nothing to speak of in any other genre.

What’s the Difference?

Now, you might be wondering what the difference is between “royalty-free” and completely free, when it comes to stock music libraries.

“Royalty-free” means that you pay a one-time fee for a track and you don’t have to continually pay royalties to the composer for the entire time you use their works, and there is usually some sort of usage license that detail how you can use the music once you pay the fee. Completely free music is simply that: It that has no upfront usage fee and is normally licensed under the “Creative Commons” license.

When you go looking for free music, you’ll want to take a look at the types of music licenses available, as each licensing company has different stipulations as to how the music they have on offer can be used.

It’s worth your time and energy to go looking for free music. It saves the hassle and embarrassment of having to remove an otherwise copyrighted track and replace it, plus you never know what amazing, original music can be found at reasonable prices.

Look for a site that has a wide range of music genres. It’s easy to find the right music when you have categories like alternative rock, New Age/Ethereal, Country and so forth. Look for a music site is entirely free or that charges a minimal fee for commercial applications.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Jazz Guitar Transcriptions

To understand and learn your instrument like a pro, you have to understand and actively use jazz guitar transcriptions. If you want to learn jazz guitar phrasing, tunes, and concepts, then transcriptions are the only way to go.

So what exactly are jazz guitar transcriptions, what do you need to know about them, and how can you use them to become a better guitar player?

What are Jazz Guitar Transcriptions?

As we mentioned, music is its own language. Musicians write down the physical representation of their melodies so that they may play them again and edit them as they like. Professionals often use transcriptions to share their music with the world. If it weren’t for musical transcriptions, we wouldn’t know what Beethoven or Mozart’s music sounded like.

Jazz guitar transcriptions are often a recreation of the best jazz musician’s music. You’ll find a variety of them available online for download so you can easily play them at will-as long as you understand how to read music. You may choose to play these songs note for note or alter them to fit your own style. That’s the beautiful thing about transcriptions.

What Should You Know About Them?

The first step towards transcribing is to figure out what you want to play. Typically jazz guitar transcriptions are for solos only, so if you have a band you’re playing with they won’t really provide the full scope of the song.

While you probably have countless favorite jazz songs, you’ll likely find they are very difficult to transcribe. Be careful about your selection, particularly if you are new to the world of transcribing. Choose a solo that is simple but offers you much in the way of tuning your inexperienced jazz music ear. Look for something that helps you grow but doesn’t burn you out.

Sometimes it’s best to find something you’re already familiar with. Start there and as you grow as a musician venture into the more complex solos. You’ll have plenty of time for that later.

Using Them to Improve

It’s easy to justify your own laziness by saying how some of your favorite musicians didn’t use transcriptions, but the reality is you’re only hurting yourself by doing that. You have the ability to enhance your skills by leaps and bounds by using jazz guitar transcriptions.

Whether you’re doing the transcribing yourself or simply downloading them to familiarize yourself with how they work, jazz guitar transcriptions can be your ticket to better guitar playing. Find one or two you’d like to learn and apply yourself. You never know how far they can take you until you explore their use in your practice.

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