Italian-American Guitarists

Growing up in an Italian-American household music was always something that was celebrated. I can recall many times my Nonno, that’s Italian for grandpa, and his brothers breaking out the accordion and guitar to accompany their singing of these italian songs we all knew. Even if you aren’t a musical person, you sang along. It is a beautiful thing to witness and be a part of.

Above I had mentioned two instruments; accordion and guitar. Although the accordion is a great instrument, in the right setting, let's talk about the guitar. For those of you that know me or my family you know that I have played guitar since I was a 6. As I’m now 26, I know a thing or two about guitar…so let's talk about the Italian-American guitarists and their contribution to the instrument. Here are a few guitarists you might have heard of; Al Di Meola (Solo Artist, Chick Corea, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine), Joe Pass, and John Petrucci (Dream Theater). Each one of these musicians listed above has changed how we view/hear guitar. I can promise you that young kids all over the world have emulated one or more of these guitarists. Odds are that no matter how into music you are, you will have heard of at least one of these guitarists. 

Since we’re already here, let’s divide some of these guitarists up into a few groups. Al Di Meola, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani & John Petrucci are some of the most technically accomplished and studied virtuoso guitars to ever live. They all possess the ability to execute anything they can think of, which is something us musicians practice our entire lives to achieve.  On the other side of the coin, John Frusciante & Tom Morello have inspired kids to play not because of their virtuosity but because of how much their riffs and lyrics spoke to the youth of past and the present. 

Italian American guitarists have contributed to the development of various musical genres, and their influence can be heard in the playing styles of many contemporary guitarists. Their technical proficiency, creativity, and innovation continue to inspire musicians around the world