William Thomas “Tommy” Emmanuel AM (born 31 May 1955) is an Australian guitarist, songwriter and occasional singer, best known for his complex fingerstyle technique, energetic performances and the use of percussive effects on the guitar. Although originally a session player in many bands, Emmanuel has carved out his own style as a solo artist in recent years, releasing award winning albums and singles. In the May 2008 and 2010 issues of Guitar Player Magazine, he was named “Best Acoustic Guitarist” in their readers’ poll. In June 2010 Emmanuel was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia.
Emmanuel has said that even at a young age he was fascinated by Chet Atkins’ musical style (sometimes referred to as Travis picking) of playing bass lines, chords, melodies and harmonies simultaneously using the thumb and fingers of the right hand, achieving a dynamic range of sound from the instrument. Although Emmanuel’s playing incorporates a multitude of musical influences and styles, including jazz, blues, bluegrass, folk and rock, this type of country fingerstyle playing is at the core of his technique. While Emmanuel has never had formal music training, and does not read or write music, his natural musical ability and intrinsic sense of rhythm has gained him fans from all over the world. As a solo performer he never plays to a set list and uses a minimum of effects onstage and he usually completes studio recordings in one take.
One of my personal favorites is his “Classical Gas”.
If you’re a fan of Spotify, here’s a couple tunes to get you started:
- “Don’t Hold Me back”: https://open.spotify.com/track/4mxX14tShUpG2ZGlUS4Vil
- “Stevie’s Blues”: https://open.spotify.com/track/2lUUJ9R8dAUDRHHsupPZIH
Albums: View List
- Maton 808 TE Personal Queensland Maple. Check price on Amazon.com
- Maton 808 TE Personal with slightly thinner body. Check on Maton.com.au
- Maton EBG808TE/C. Check on Maton.com.au
- Martin SP Flexible Core “Tommy’s choice” MXF740 Light (.012 – .054). Check price on Amazon.com
- Martin SP Flexible Core MXF750 Medium (.013 – .056). Check price on Amazon.com
- AER Tommy Emmanuel Signature Compact 60. Check price on Amazon.com
- AER Pocket Tools Dual Mix. Check price on Amazon.com
- David Laboga Perfection Series Cables. Check on Tommyemmanuelcables.com
- D’Andrea ProPlec Model 385 – Rounded Triangle Pick. Check price on Amazon.com
- Jim Dunlop thumb picks. Check price on Amazon.com
- Boss Chromatic Tuner TU-3. Check price on Amazon.com