Movin’ Wes: How to Play Like Wes Montgomery
Video lesson: Renowned jazz guitarist Wayne Goins shows how to play one of the sweetest guitar styles ever.
Hello, Wes Montgomery fans!
It’s the G-Man here, coming to you from my Manhattan desk to discuss the man I consider the greatest guitarist of all time – Wes Montgomery.
If you haven’t figured it out already, I, like untold numbers of other guitarists (jazz or otherwise) stand in awe of every note Wes played. We are indeed lucky to have available to us many recordings that capture the music of a man who nobly represented the epitome of swing. His musical grace, humor, sophistication, lyricism, and formidable depth and drive left us all speechless. I use all these descriptors because it takes that many and more to capture in words what Wes Montgomery so casually and consistently caught in spirit. It is, therefore, in this spirit that I present to you these words and the accompanying educational video of my insight into the stylings of Wes Montgomery.
With regard to the equipment I used in the video, I was lucky enough to have recently bought a similar brand of guitar that Wes held on the cover of his first album, the one that blew the hinges off my brain – The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery released in 1960 by Orrin Keepnews for the Riverside label. Wes looked so cool, calm, and collected on the album cover, and I wanted to get that feeling too. So for this particular project, I used my sunburst 1982 Gibson ES-175D, amplified by a small Fender Blues Junior amp. I have flat-wound D’Addario Chromes for strings, and I use Dunlop Jazz III picks that are easy to tuck inside my palm when I play with my thumb to get the patented Wes sound.
As for my sidemen, I am flanked by Rick Smith on rhythm guitar and Bobby Scharmann on acoustic bass, and I’d like to take the opportunity here to thank them for being my wingmen (swingmen?) for this project. They are both former students who have grown into professionals in their own right – you will be hearing a lot from them. (See my latest production, Rick’s new album, Last Call (LAR-CD007), on my Little Apple Records label.)
So, without further ado, I give to you the incredible Wes Montgomery. Enjoy! For more G-Man, visit waynegoins.com.