8 New Django Reinhardt Guitar Tabs
Posted by Michael Mueller on December 10, 2012 at 4:43 PM
One of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time, Django Reinhardt's mind-blowing chops are made even more amazing when you consider that he had only two working fingers on his fret hand, which was maimed in a fire when he was just 17 years old. Using those two fingers and his thumb, Reinhardt devised his own way to play the guitar, and every jazz guitarist since has learned or borrowed something from the Gypsy-jazz master.
Because of his injury, Reinhardt approached the guitar differently than "able-handed" players do. With only two fingers at disposal, he largely eschewed box patterns, instead traveling linearly across the neck, resulting in unique phrasing. Indeed, Reinhardt rarely use scales, per se; instead, he based his improvisations on arpeggios, often including open strings. One result of his penchant for arpeggios was that Reinhardt was actually a pioneer of what we now call "sweep picking," as it presented a very efficiency method for playing a lot of notes quickly, which enabled him to keep up with violinist Stephane Grappelli. It should also be noted that one "scale" Reinhardt did employ was the chromatic scale, from which he pulled lightning-fast chromatic runs by using just one fret-hand finger up and down a single string.
Finally, Reinhardt's rhythm technique, particularly with his Quintette du Hot Club de France, was a piledriving four-to-the-bar staccato attack, with accents on beats 2 and 4. As for his chord work, Reinhardt used his thumb over the top of the neck to fret bass notes, while his two working digits fingered economic chord voicings.
Excerpted from Guitar Xtra, Fall 2007 issue.