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Normally, a guitarist must use two hands to play each note. One hand presses down a guitar string behind a chosen fret to prepare the note, and the other hand either plucks or strums the string to play that note. Jordan's touch technique is an advanced form of two-handed tapping. The guitarist produces a note using only one finger by quickly tapping (or hammering) his finger down behind the appropriate fret. The force of impact causes the string to vibrate enough to immediately sound the note, and Jordan executes tapping with both hands, and with more legato than is normally associated with guitar tapping. The note's volume can be controlled by varying the force of impact: tapping with greater force produces a louder note.
A helpful analogy to visualize this technique is the distinction between a harpsichord and a piano. A harpsichord produces sound by plucking its strings, and a piano produces sound by striking its strings with tiny hammers. However, while notes produced on a harpsichord or piano sustain after the hammer has struck or the pick has plucked, fingers must remain on a tapped note in order for the sound to continue. This similarity is what led Jordan to attempt such a technique in the first place; he was a classically trained pianist before playing guitar and wanted greater freedom in voicing chords on his guitar.
Jordan's two-handed tapping allows the guitarist to play melody and chords simultaneously. It is also possible, as Jordan has demonstrated, to play simultaneously on two different guitars, as well as guitar and piano. Another feature of Jordan's playing is the tuning he uses: from bass to treble EADGCF (all in fourths as on the Chapman Stick, compared with the standard EADGBE), so the patterns for chords are the same wherever they are played on the fretboard.
Stanley Jordan's main guitar was built by Vigier Guitars in 1982: it is an Arpege model on which Vigier made a flat fingerboard, allowing it to have a very low action (0.5/0.7mm). The low action facilitates the tapping technique.
Jordan was the first artist to be signed by Bruce Lundvall when the latter became president of Blue Note Records in 1985 and, consequently, Magic Touch was the first release (not reissue) of the rejuvenated label.
After Jordan's unique technique and obvious musicianship thrust him into the spotlight, he became frustrated with market constraints and demands placed on him and his music. Several music factions wanted to claim the 'Jordan' sound as their own and encouraged him to follow in the track of other artists. In the early 1990s, Jordan was upset with the "rigid adherence to previously-entrenched musical categories and the limitations usually placed on artists by major labels." Stanley Jordan abandoned his management team and went into deep study of music therapy and is now a member and spokesperson for the American Music Therapy Association.
Guitar Gallows Bio Information - Stanley Jordan
Stanley Jordan (July 31, 1959) is an American jazz/jazz fusion guitarist, best known for his development of the tapping technique for the guitar.
He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and he received a BA in digital music composition from Princeton University in 1981, studying under computer-music composers Paul Lansky and Milton Babbitt. Stanley Jordan began his music career at age six, studying piano, then shifted his focus to guitar at age eleven. He later began playing in rock and soul bands. In 1976, Jordan won an award at the ‘Reno (Nevada) Jazz Festival. While earning a degree from Harvard in 1981 he played with Benny Carter and Dizzy Gillespie. Jordan has performed at many jazz festivals, including: Kool Jazz Festival (1984), Concord Jazz Festival (1985), and the Montreux International Jazz Festival (1985). During the 1980’s Jordan played with Quincy Jones, Michael Urbaniak, and Richie Cole. Since working at Birdland (jazz club) in New York in 1989–1990, Jordan has maintained a lower profile. Stanley Jordan has 2 Grammy Nominations.