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What Are Your Influences?

edited August 2005 in Technique Posts: 25
Not sure if this subject has been discussed already somewhere else extensively, but I couldn't find it.

What are the influences you brought to GJ?

Here's my brief musical bio:

My first memories of an interest in music are riding in the back of our Buick LeSabre in 1974 driving to California with 8 Tracks of The Carpenters and John Denver blazing away. And wasn't the radio wonderful back then? "ooooh, oooh, Afternoon Deliiiiight...."

Fast forward 5 years to 1979, I am 12 and in a group guitar lesson with a bunch of adults, learning how to strum folk tunes on a Yamaha nylon string guitar. I became highly focused on the instrument to the chagrin of my teacher who would jokingly cast me a knowing glance, since the adults obviously weren't practicing!

The Beatles, whom I'd fallen in love with were my beginning, which lasted until I became a huge Zeppelin head and Jimmy Page my teacher. I had an electric by then, a Hondo II (sweet guitar!) and I diligently spun vinyl and copped riffs.

I kind of mellowed out a bit by 1983 and was into stranger stuff like Pink Floyd and The Dead. Jerry Garcia became a huge influence, and it was really my entrance to improvisation, and ultimately a more jazzward direction on the guitar. I was in a rock band in highschool that played Dead covers, Floyd, a little this and a little that, and it was great fun to rock out.

The Dead environment got me into Bluegrass (although I've never been able to quite handle the lack of variety and lame singing) and I bought a 5-string banjo. Throughout my twenties and most of my thirties I was pretty laid back, plucking my banjo and picking my dreadnaught.

Anyway, I had seen Django's name referenced on The Unoffical Martin Guitar Forum a few years back, and I finally got out and bought a CD to check it out. That was almost 2 years ago. I was blown away instantly and knew this was the kind of music I wanted to play. I had always appreciated jazz, but never totally dug the heavy horn influence, but this was radically different. I've never been the same since.

I really know nothing about GJ and it's modern day players. I have a Tchavallo CD and the Bireli DVD but that's about it. I love Django though. There's something about the way he plays, mixed with that vintage recording style that is just incredible. It's something that could never be duplicated (nor should be) IMO.

GJ is a wonderfully freeing music to play, but I wouldn't want to be starting from scratch at it, that's for sure. I'm fortunate to have a good infusion of pop, blues, rock, pyschadelic, country in my veins to formulate a strange brew, and jazz has become the ultimate mixture. It's great fun.



  • AmpsmasherAmpsmasher Oakland, California✭✭✭ Christelle Caillot
    Posts: 51
    I guess you could say my first influence, would have to be a kid in highschool who was a huge george benson fan, I really enjoyed all the chords he was doing, so I took a guitar class the next year. Since my dad listens to all kinds of music, I asked him who he thought the worlds best guitar player is, and he said Django, and he took me out to dinner, and then bought me a django cd and arranged me a lesson with a guitar player from a gypsy jazz band he was playing with it, and I have been obsessed with gypsy jazz for 2 years now.

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