Jerry Reed (1937–2008), known by many as Burt Reynolds’ truck-driving partner in crime in the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit, was also a highly accomplished and influential guitar picker. Let’s look at some of the technical and stylistic elements that made Reed a great player.
Regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Delta blues wizard Robert Johnson recorded only 29 songs (plus 13 alternate takes, in two sessions) during his 27 years of life. They were cut when he wasn’t playing for tips on street corners, in juke joints or in front of barbershops and other commercial establishments.
What happens when you mix bluesy, Robert Johnson–style fingerpicking and tropical “Calypso” grooves, with repertoire consisting of spiritual hymns and sea shanties sung by a gruff-voiced, scat-singing, foot-stomping stonemason? You get the inimitable Joseph Spence (1910–1984)
On March 26, 2015, the guitar community lost a legend: progressive folk master and founding member of Pentangle, John Renbourn, a picker who literally did what he loved—playing and teaching—up until the end. Let’s pay our respects to Renbourn with a retrospective look at his influential solo output.
Stephen Stills’ status as a rock legend stems just as much from his singing and songwriting contributions in Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young) and his own solo work as it does from his innovative acoustic and electric guitar offerings.
These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the May 2015 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.