British Folk Guitar Legend Bert Jansch Dies at 67

Posted by Michael Mueller on October 5, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Bert JanschBert Jansch, one of the British folk scene's most influential guitarists, passed away this morning (10/5) after losing his two-year battle with lung cancer. He was 67.

The Glasgow, Scotland, native Jansch first attracted the ears of guitarists with his innovative guitar technique on his 1965 self-titled debut album, which has since been cited by guitarists from Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and Neil Young to Paul Simon, Johnny Marr, and Nick Drake as a major influence. In 1967, Jansch took his experimental and innovative treatments of folk music a step further when he formed the acoustic supergroup Pentangle with John Renbourn, Jacqui McShee, Danny Thompson, and Terry Cox.

After Pentangle split, in 1973, Jansch again pursued his solo career, achieving a prolific output of 23 studio albums plus seven live albums and several compilations, singles, and EPs.

Jansch most often played fingerstyle acoustic guitar, but what made listeners (and fellow guitarists) take note was his use of extended and altered chords in a folk context. He also had a penchant for changing time signatures (prog-folk?), sometimes just on a whim. While these are somewhat commonplace today, in 1965, it tipped the guitar world on its ear.


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