Pop Genealogy: John Mayer

John Mayer is an American guitarist and singer-songwriter is a controversial character, but regardless of the things he says outside of his records, he’s come to be known as one of this generations most prominent guitarists. Mayer has redefined his sound multiple times. Starting out as pop, veering into blues, then a mixture of folk/western and suddenly back to pop. The point of this blog is to go back through the influences of my favorite artists to see what inspires them, this is exactly what John Mayer did when he first picked up guitar. When his neighbor introduced him to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Texas Flood, he said said he had found the sound he wanted.  But more than that, Vaughan opened new doors. “Stevie also began this amazing genealogical hunt for me: Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King, Otis Rush and Lightnin’ Hopkins.” Mayer told Rolling Stone’s David Fricke.

Stevie Ray Vaughn

As far as songwriting styles go, Mayer usually sticks to pretty consistent pop structure, but his influences are heard most in his lead guitar styles. Phrasing similar to Vaughn can be found from Continuum, to Mayer’s most recent album, The Search For Everything.

Jimi Hendrix

I mean Mayer said it best himself in his essay for Rolling Stone… “Who I am as a guitarist is defined by my failure to become Jimi Hendrix.” – John Mayer

Works Cited for this post can be found here.

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