John Mayer. One of the most polarizing pop icons of our generation also happens to be one of the best guitar players to sell more than 10 million albums.
This, of course, begs the question: How does a guitarist, in this day and age, become so popular?
Personality, antics and love life aside, it comes down to the music. Mayer’s guitar habits were developed through emulating some of the greatest guitar players of all time, including Stevie Ray Vaughan and B.B. King.
However, truly exceptional guitar players aren’t mere replicas of previous legends. They have a sound of their own. That sound is built around habits and tendencies that are so natural, you and I can hear one note from a speaker and immediately recognize who’s playing it.
From the rhythmic device I’ve dubbed “the John Mayer bounce” to expanding the sonic landscape of his music through triads, Mayer has vitalized a generation of guitar players and etched his name in the Mount Rushmore of truly accomplished musicians. His most important contribution, though, is that he’s proven blues solos are still valid among the top-40 audience we all love to scorn.
Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric brand Music is Win. His insightful, uncomplicated guitar lessons and gear demonstrations along with entertaining, satirical content about life as a musician receive tens of millions of video views per month across social media. Tyler is also the creator of the extremely popular online guitar learning platform, Guitar Super System. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Tyler has been teaching guitar for over a decade and operates a production studio in Nashville, TN.