“He is the fastest and cleanest and has more technique than any other”: Jimmy Bryant was one of the very first Telecaster heroes. Learn how his trailblazing playing shaped the guitarists who followed

Jimmy Bryant
The cover of Jimmy Bryant's The Fastest Guitar in the country (Sundazed Music, 2012) says everything about Bryant's style (Image credit: Sundazed Music)

Jimmy Bryant is acknowledged as one of the first great Telecaster heroes, if not the very first. In the 1950s he released a stream of frankly terrifying instrumentals with his equally gifted collaborator, pedal steel guitarist Speedy West. Their records raised the bar in terms of technical virtuosity, while also showcasing their incredible vitality, humour and energy. 

Jimmy first came to prominence with West after the pair met in LA’s Skid Row, and went on to produce all-instrumental albums that fused breakneck country with jazz, blues and bluegrass styles. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

John Wheatcroft

John is Head of Guitar at BIMM London and a visiting lecturer for the University of West London (London College of Music) and Chester University. He's performed with artists including Billy Cobham (Miles Davis), John Williams, Frank Gambale (Chick Corea) and Carl Verheyen (Supertramp), and toured the world with John Jorgenson and Carl Palmer.