100 Greatest Jazz Guitar Players

100 Greatest Jazz Guitarists

The improvisational lines in jazz guitar are testimony to the fact that the jazz genre encompasses a diverse range of influences. This space showcases a list of the best jazz guitar players.

Guitar players in the jazz genre may not have achieved the desired commercial success, however the fact remains… jazz guitarists have had a profound influence on guitar players from various music genres. Jazz guitarists are known for their unique ways of utilizing notes in a scale. Improvised pentatonic lines are often used in jazz solos. Soloing concepts in jazz have becoming exceedingly popular with guitar players in various music genres. In the jazz genre there are different types of playing styles and techniques showcased by guitar players.

Guitarists in jazz have unique picking techniques. While belting a solo, it’s the picking technique that adds bite and warmth to the overall sound.

Jazz chord voicings and comping form the core of jazz guitar playing. Walking jazz chord progressions are popular with different types of jazz. Modal playing is the highlighting feature in many solos by jazz guitarists. Many jazz guitarists use arpeggios when they break into a solo, and this soloing concept adds dynamism and feel to jazz contexts.

Jazz Guitar Concepts

Playing behind the beat or ahead of the beat is common in jazz. When you listen to a jazz solo you realize its melodic phrases that construct a solo. A number of jazz guitarists utilize legato phrasing in their solos to enrich the overall dynamism. Groove and time-feel are important aspects in chordal voicings and soloing. Jazz guitarists like to space their notes giving a clutter-free effect. The use of grace notes, muted notes and slide notes are creatively used by jazz guitarists. Palm muting during solos adds variety and warmth to textural playing. Another aspect about jazz guitarists is their in-depth knowledge on theory. Jazz guitarists like to experiment and improvise with chord voicings. Many jazz guitarists love to explore ideas with 9th, 11th and 13th notes as they change chords.  

Modern Jazz Guitar

A number of jazz guitarists also like to explore ideas of playing melodies in parallel octaves. Jazz guitar players love improvising on scales and chords. Soloing approach among guitarists in jazz varies drastically. Modern jazz guitar players love to us a flurry of legato techniques and tapped notes to create sonic soundscapes. Textural chord voicings and hybrid picking are immensely popular with modern-day jazz guitar players.  Polyphonic musical structure is exceedingly popular among jazz-fusion guitarists. Rapid chord shifts and chord solos form the essence of swing jazz and bebop. Every guitar player likes expresses the ‘jazz idiom’ in a lucid manner, and this aspect gives jazz guitarists unique identity. 

The lines below showcase a list of the best jazz guitarists.

100 Greatest Jazz Guitar Players

  1. Charlie Christian
  2. Wes Montgomary
  3. Django Reinhardt
  4. Eddie Lang
  5. Joe Pass
  6. Tal Farlow
  7. Pat Metheny
  8. Herb Ellis
  9. George Benson
  10. Barney Kessel
  11. Jim Hall
  12. Earl Klugh
  13. John McLaughlin
  14. Al Di Meola
  15. John Scofield
  16. George Van Eps
  17. Chet Atkins
  18. Kenny Burrell
  19. Sonny Sharrock
  20. Alan Holdsworth
  21. Johnny Smith
  22. Lenny Breau
  23. Grant Green
  24. Howard Alden
  25. Ed Bickert
  26. Bucky Pizzarelli
  27. Martin Taylor
  28. John Abercrombie
  29. Ted Greene
  30. Billy Bauer
  31. Frank Vignola
  32. Pat Martino
  33. Bill Frisell
  34. Robert Conti
  35. Charlie Byrd
  36. Peter Bernstein
  37. Jimmy Raney
  38. Stanley Jordan
  39. Joe Beck
  40. Russell Malone
  41. Larry Coryell
  42. Julian Lage
  43. Freddie Green
  44. Lee Ritenour
  45. Emily Remler
  46. Bill Connors
  47. Jim Mullen
  48. John Pizzarelli
  49. Mark Whitfield
  50. Kurt Rosenwinkel
  51. Derek Bailey
  52. Mike Stern
  53. Howard Roberts
  54. Bobby Broom
  55. Hank Garland
  56. Larry Carlton
  57. Joe Diorio
  58. Carl Kress
  59. George Barnes
  60. Les Paul
  61. Gustavo Assis-Brasil
  62. Paco de Lucia
  63. Eddie Durham
  64. Jimmy Bruno
  65. Russ Freeman
  66. Wayne Krantz
  67. Steve Khan
  68. Luis Salinas
  69. Matthew Stevens
  70. Ben Monder
  71. Nir Felder
  72. Snoozer Quinn
  73. Gene Bertoncini
  74. Paul Bollenback
  75. Miles Okazaki
  76. Tony Mottola
  77. Royce Campbell
  78. Jonathan Kreisberg
  79. Gary Potter
  80. Bireli Lagrene
  81. Adam Rogers
  82. Lionel Loueke
  83. Mary Halvorson
  84. Nels Cline
  85. Gilad Hekselman
  86. Terje Rypdal
  87. Jakob Bro
  88. Bobby Brown
  89. Corey Christiansen
  90. Rex Abbasi
  91. Lage Lund
  92. Jack Peterson
  93. Stochelo Rosenberg
  94. Ken Navarro
  95. Vic Juris
  96. Jesse Van Ruller
  97. Mary Osborne
  98. Billy Butler
  99. David Fiuczynski
  100. Randy Napoleon

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  • nbillett  06-12-2016
    Nice article. Jazz is not really my genre and its not really popular in my country. There is a Jazz and Blues festival every year which is mostly supported by tourists.
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