Larry Carlton Makes List of The 50 Greatest Guitar Tones of All Time

Guitar Player magazine released a list of the 50 Greatest Guitar Tones of All Time in their July issue, and Larry Carlton made the list, with his work on “Kid Charlemagne” noted as his signature tune. From the article:

Whereas many studio guitarists tend to stay in the background, Larry Carlton exerts his personality so strongly on this classic Steely Dan tune that he pretty much assumes co-star status. Plugging his tried-and-true tobacco sunburst Gibson ES-335 into a cranked Fender Princeton Reverb, Mr. 335 floored the guitar community with his touch, phrasing, and awesome tone. And, although his gear choices would shift to include Dumble and Boogie, this solo represents the Carlton tone. In the words of his disciple, Steve Lukather: “It’s all in his hands and heart, man!”

Words from the Master
“I have the claw thing happening down there on the strings when I play. It lets me know where I’m at, but I’d have better technique if I held my hand free of the strings.”

“I pick hard. In fact, I overplay the instrument. I’ve been squeezing a pick since I was six, and the pressure has curved by index finger. At this point, my hands have molded themselves to fit the guitar.”

“People often ask me, ‘How do I learn to hit the right notes when I solo?’ My advice is simple: Learn harmony. Once you know what notes go into a particular chord, you can base your lines around them, and you won’t get lost. The key to playing great melodies lies in understanding chords.”

The Article
Larry Carlton Greatest Tone

Listen to “Kid Charlemagne”

“Kid Charlemagne” Named One of the Most Influential Rock Solos Ever

Guitar Player magazine released a list of the 40 Most Influential Rock Solos Ever in their June issue, and Larry Carlton’s solo on “Kid Charlemagne” made the list! From the article:

Carlton was already a session legend known for his smooth-as-silk lines that were reminiscent of Wes, Pass, and Trane when he cut this Steely track. But when Mr. 335 combined a rock dude’s tone with a jazzer’s harmonic sensibilities, he created the standard by which every jazz rocker would be judged. Ask Steve Lukather, Robben Ford, or Mike Stern what impact this solo had on them. Alright then.

Larry Carlton Kid Charlemagne

A Message from Larry Carlton to Director Daniel Farhi

Dear Daniel,

Congratulations & good luck with the Geneva New Morning 30th Anniversary Film Festival! I see it is featuring our 2006 club’s celebration show. I haven’t forgotten that it was in Tokyo that we first discussed and organized this celebration & I’d like to tell you & all my musicians friends & fans in Switzerland how much I & everyone at 335 Records were moved by the devastation that Japan has experienced further to the earthquake and tsunami. Our hearts go out to all the people affected by this terrible tragedy.

In April, Robert Williams announced that I would be donating five Gibson Custom Larry Carlton ES-335 guitars to help Japan. We are sending the guitars around the world to collect signatures from some big stars. One guitar has been shipped to the Blue Note Tokyo; another is in Toronto with the Durham Radio group ; another is headed to the Montreux Jazz Festival & another will reach the New Morning 30th Anniversary Film Festival in Geneva. The guitars will later be sold at auction after touring for 6 months, with all of the proceeds going to relief efforts.

We hope that you also will extend your hand in whatever way you can. Thanks!

- Larry

Click here to learn more about the film festival, which will feature 3 Larry Carlton concert films (PDF)

Listen NOW to the Larry Carlton Special on The Paul Leslie Hour

The Larry Carlton Special on The Paul Leslie Hour:

Larry Carlton Featured in Jazz Police

Four-time (and 2011) Grammy-winning guitarist Larry Carlton appears June 2-4 at the RRazz Room at Hotel Nikko in San Francisco. Located in Union Square, the club showcases Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy award winners. With a string of hit albums and countless appearances world-wide, Carlton’s eclectic style has earned him fans across jazz, smooth jazz, fusion, pop, rock, classic soul and R&B genres.

Take Your Pick with Tak Matsumoto won “Best Pop Instrumental Album” at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011. Carlton’s latest recording, Plays The Sound Of Philadelphia, was released on 335 Records in February. In addition to his stack of Grammys, Carlton received the 2011 George Benson Lifetime Achievement Award and was named one of the ten greatest-ever session guitarists by Gibson. Among his many compositions is the Grammy-winning theme song for the hit television series, Hill Street Blues.

Larry Carlton appears at the RRazz Room at Hotel Nikko June 2-3 at 8 pm and on June 4 at 7 and 9:30 pm. Tickets $47.50. Hotel Nikko is located at 222 Mason Street, San Francisco. For tickets and more information, 800-380-3095 or

See the full article here:

Radio Special Airing Worldwide Saturday at 8 PM

The Larry Carlton Special on The Paul Leslie Hour:

It is a great honor we welcome a very special guest known for both his solo records and his guitar session work. Larry Carlton is one of the greatest guitarists alive. He is a 4-time Grammy winner and 19-time Grammy nominee. He is a recipient of the George Benson Lifetime Achievement Award. He was named one of the 10 Greatest-Ever Session Guitarists by Gibson. Larry Carlton has been playing guitar since he was six years old. He began listening to to jazz music in Junior High School. In 1968, at 20 years old, Larry Carlton recorded his first album entitled “With a Little Help From My Friends.” From 1971 to 1976 he played with jazz rock group The Crusaders. In 1973 he released his second solo project “Singing | Playing,” featuring not only his guitar work, but also vocals. While still touring with the Crusaders, he contributed as a guitar session player to albums from Sammy Davis, Jr., Herb Alpert, Quincy Jones, Paul Anka, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, and Jerry Garcia just to name a few.

Over time, Larry Carlton appeared on over 3,000 studio sessions. His accomplishments are many. He has written and co-written theme songs for TV shows including the hit sitcom “Who’s the Boss?” and the drama “Hill Street Blues.” He has written and recorded a film score and has appeared on more than 100 Gold Albums. He was voted the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences “Most Valuable Player” 3 consecutive years. NARAS then named him Player Emeritus and he became retired from eligibility. Larry Carlton’s mesmerizing guitar playing has appeared in 4 videos, 6 DVDs and 28 solo records. It is our pleasure to welcome him on The Paul Leslie Hour for an interview. We also take a listen to his incredible recorded music.

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