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Tommy Emmanuel, Perhaps the Guitar's Greatest Living Master

  • Broadcast in Current Events
The South Bay Show

The South Bay Show


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More than 300 nights a year, Tommy Emmanuel strides onto stages the world over and does things with the six strings of an acoustic guitar that nobody who hears will likely ever forget.

The Australian, known as "The Wizard of Oz," seems to be playing three instruments, sometimes four – bass, rhythm, and lead guitar, as well as percussion (the finish is worn off his guitars from their use as drums and he is known to bop his forehead off the microphone to create a percussive pop) – and he does it with pure exuberance.

Guitar geeks have strived to come up with concepts to explain his technique ("thumb independence" is frequently mentioned), while both Guitar Player and Acoustic Guitar magazines have named him the finest acoustic guitarist alive.

Guitar players ranging from Steve Vai to Chet Atkins – Emmanuel's childhood hero, eventual friend, collaborator, and direct forbearer as a player – have identified him as perhaps the instrument’s greatest living master.

"Attitude and gratitude, man, those are the two things," Emmanuel said. "That is the way to go. Somebody said to me years ago, 'Show me one unhappy grateful man.'

Therein lies one of the keys to us waking up every morning and being happy with our lot – being grateful. Milk it for all its worth, like I try to do with every note that I'm playing."



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