His liquid jazz-blues playing style made him one of the most sought-after session guitarists of all time – learn the secrets behind Larry Carlton’s most memorable solos

Larry Carlton
(Image credit: Future)

Larry Carlton might be best known for his work with Steely Dan, but his star turn on She’s Out Of My Life by Michael Jackson, the stunning solos on Mike Post’s Hill Street Blues theme, and I Really Don’t Know Anymore from Christopher Cross’s debut album, are just three of the hundreds of tracks to feature his exceptionally tasty, liquid jazz-blues style. Carlton mixes jazz language and blues phrasing seamlessly – perhaps why his solos are so memorable.

Lick 1 has a distinctive technique of Larry’s that has been used by such greats players as Drew Zingg, the musical director for Steely Dan at the time they did their live album in the ’90s. Here, I bend the second string from the 10th fret (A) up a tone to the 5th of Em7 (B) and then tap the 18th fret – this would normally sound the note F, which would be a very dissonant b9 on the Em7.

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Andy G Jones

A professional guitarist for many years, Andy G Jones has played with Van Morrison, James Ingram, Lamont Dozier, Queen (Brian May and Roger Taylor), Robben Ford, Billy Cobham, John Illsley (Dire Straits), KT Tunstall, Albert Lee (featured on Andy's upcoming CD), Mike Finnigan, Dave Landreth and Ryan Voth from The Bros. Landreth, Malford Milligan, The BBC Radio Big Band, Patti Austin, Hamish Stuart (Average White Band), Lalo Schifrin (Hollywood film composer Bullitt, Mission Impossible), Hank Marvin, James Dean Bradfield (the Manic Street Preachers), Grady Tate, Agnetha from ABBA, Cliff Richard, Dudley Moore, Nathan James (Inglorious), Joey Tempest (Europe) and Kelsey Grammar.