A Guitarist's Guide to Nashville

Look, we're always open to spending countless hours discussing different guitars, pedals, amplifiers, modeling amps, and all other sorts of gear. After all, these are the most important expression tools one musician can have. However, you should always take time to delve into the history of the instrument and all the masters who shaped all of the guitar-based genres. One particular place on this planet stands out, and it's Nashville, Tennessee. The city gave birth to some of the greatest musicians, including guitar players, that this world has ever seen.

Well, some of them were native to Nashville, some came from other parts of the US, even other parts of the world. However, one thing remains – it's still the go-to place for some of the best and most proficient guitar players in the world. With all this in mind, we decided to look more into some of the great players associated with Nashville, as well as a few important spots that any guitar player visiting Nashville should check out.

Famous guitar players

The list of all the great guitarists associated with the city one way or another is pretty long, but we'll try to mention some important names. One of the first names that comes to mind, for instance, is Chet Atkins, also known as Mr. Guitar. Along with musicians Owen Bradley, Bob Ferguson, and a few other guys, he was responsible for developing the so-called "Nashville sound" of country music. His playing techniques and songwriting practices have been an inspiration to many musicians even outside of this genre.

Another important guitar player associated with Nashville, Tennesee is none other than Duane Allman. Although The Allman Brothers Band started off their work in Jacksonville, Florida, both Duanne and his brother Gregg grew up in Nashville and became musically involved while living in the city.

Tommy Emmanuel is an interesting example here. First off, the guitar maestro comes from Australia, but he was so keen on coming to Nashville that he wrote to the almighty Chet Atkins. Years later, Tommy actually recorded an album with Atkins and has even performed on many occasions at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society event.

Although not a technical virtuoso like Emmanuel or Atkins, Ellen McIlwaine is one of the most prominent songwriters and guitar players who came from Tennesee. Born in 1945, she had an extensive career and recorded eleven solo albums.

Great guitar players you might not have heard of

Even to this day, Nashville is a place for all kinds of musicians, even outside of blues and country music. This means there are a lot of great songwriters and session guitar players that might not be that famous and widely accepted. For instance, Mark Warner is a great pop and rock musician who's been acknowledged by the people in the industry for his songwriting contributions and production work.

Some relatively newer guitar players have been really busy lately. We have guys like Kenny Greenberg, Derek Wells, and Russ Pahl. If you've heard any of the songs by Taylor Swift, Jewel, Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, or Eric Church that feature guitars, it's them you're hearing on these recordings. Although not enjoying the fame of some of their colleagues, mostly working as hired guns from the shadow, they're some of the most wanted musicians in Nashville's always evolving industry. Although only Derek Wells is originally from the city, Greenberg and Pahl came to Nashville in order to pursue their music careers. So if you feel like becoming a professional hired gun guitar player for the biggest names in modern music, this is the place where you want to go.

Important places to visit

Last, but not least, we should not forget about some of the historically important places worth visiting. In case you're a guitar player and you somehow end up in Nashville, there are a few spots you should definitely check out.

For instance, we have Carter Vintage Guitars, which is a large guitar store, filled with some of the finest vintage instruments you'll be able to find out there. Sure, it might be pricy, but these guitars are of great historical value for any lover of this fine fretted instrument. After all, you might just want to go there and just stare at these rare guitars.

Starting their work back in 1970, Gruhn Guitars is a guitar store that features some of the finest instruments and amplifiers one can find. Mostly filled with vintage stuff back from the old days, you can also find their own repair shop in there. Acoustic, electric, and even other instruments like banjos – there are some fine specimens in there.

Then we have Fanny's House of Music. In there, you can find both new and old stuff, but the story is also mostly focused on some vintage guitar and guitar amplifiers, spanning from the 1960s to the late 1990s.

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