PHOTO: Imeh Akpanudosen | Getty Images
By Tyler Larson
John Mayer. One of the most polarizing pop icons of our generation also happens to be one of the best guitar players to sell more than 10 million albums.
This, of course, begs the question: How does a guitarist, in this day and age, become so popular?
Personality, antics and love life aside, it comes down to the music. Mayer’s guitar habits were developed through emulating some of the greatest guitar players of all time, including Stevie Ray Vaughan and B.B. King.
However, truly exceptional guitar players aren’t mere replicas of previous legends. They have a sound of their own. That sound is built around habits and tendencies that are so natural, you and I can hear one note from a speaker and immediately recognize who’s playing it.
From the rhythmic device I’ve dubbed “the John Mayer bounce” to expanding the sonic landscape of his music through triads, Mayer has vitalized a generation of guitar players and etched his name in the Mount Rushmore of truly accomplished musicians. His most important contribution, though, is that he’s proven blues solos are still valid among the top-40 audience we all love to scorn.
Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric website Music is Win. His entertaining guitar-related content receives hundreds of thousands of video views on Facebook per month, and his online guitar courses tout more than 1,500 students with a cumulative 4.7 rating on Udemy. Get in touch with Tyler on Facebook, watch more of his guitar lessons and vlogs on YouTube, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.