12 INSANE Acoustic Guitar Instrumental Albums • Acoustic Tuesday 268
You already know listening to music makes you a better musician. But what happens when you listen to some of the most revolutionary, insane, and technically dazzling acoustic guitar music?
This episode is dedicated to some of the best acoustic guitar instrumental albums. I’ll go through 12 different albums that any acoustic guitar player needs to know. I know I’ve done episodes like this before. All I’ll say is that this is filled with deep cuts that you probably haven’t heard before. Why?
Because these beautiful records are honest, stunning expressions of what the acoustic guitar can do. Many of the albums are filled with originals. Some songs are solo acoustic guitar. Some have a jazz foundation. But all of them will blow your mind as a guitar geek.
From Ariel Posen to Bill Frisell, I want this list to inspire you. I want you running to the record store and hunting one of these albums down — if not more! Whether you’re lost or looking to expand your creative potential, you’re bound to find something unforgettable in these records. Let me know in the comments what you find!
Submit your guitarsenal at the link below!
Featured on this episode…
- Rob Ickes
- Bill Frisell
- Ivan Rosenberg
- Gwenifer Raymond
- Guitar World
- Beard Guitars
- Larkin Poe
- Old Town School
- Normans Rare Guitars
Distressed Dad Hat$28.00
Guitarsenal Tee (1 of 3)$30.00
Be Nice and Play Guitar Mug$15.50
Pictures by Stephen Bennett is my favorite. Features 1930 National Resonator, 6 string guitar and Harp guitar. It has beautiful tone and lovely guitar work with beautiful melodies.
My wife’s favorite is House of Guitars by Ed Gerhard. It features “cheap” guitars with original strings (some as old as 35 years) with no modifications done, exactly as he found them. One is even a plastic archtop! Very beautiful music. Pretty amazing!
Very interesting list, Tony. I have 10 Martins in my 27-acoustic guitarsenal, but the only ones on your list are the HD-28 and the LX1 Little Martin. I love my HD-28, but I think my OMC-18 Laurence Juber Custom (Adirondack spruce & mahogany) and my OMC-16 (spruce & ovongkol) sound almost as good, and my SC-13 (spruce & ziricote-mahogany laminate) and Cherry OM are close behind them. The forward bracing of the SC-13 seems to give it a bigger presence than expected from a Mexican-made Martin with laminate back and sides, and it’s actually the easiest to play.
Oops, posted this on the wrong episode.
I’ve been watching Acoustic Tuesday from the Boston area since 2020 and, while I’m perhaps more of a distant cousin than a member of the TAC family, I really enjoy the show. I look forward each week to the interesting topics, great musicians, and just plain awesome, awesome guitars; and while I still don’t play often enough, Acoustic Tuesday is definitely a prime reason why my guitars don’t sit around gathering dust. Thanks for your unabashed love of the instrument and unrelenting reminders that it’s just fun to play.
I want to respond to last week’s episode to fill-in some information and ask you about something I’ve wondered on several occasions. The fill-in refers to the Peter Lang album, and the song “Bituminous Nightmare” that you included among your favorite acoustic recordings. In your introduction you wondered about bitumen, and I thought you might like some additional information from a semi-retired history teacher: Bitumen, basically, is tar, and bituminous coal is the softer stuff that contains more of it than the harder anthracite coal. The fin fact is that in medieval Latin, the word for a sort of bitumen that had medical uses is, “mumia”, which was used for (among other things) mummification in ancient Egypt. I figured I’d offer that because it answers your question about bitumen, and because it kind of explains the album cover as well.
The episode brought up a couple of questions I’ve asked myself based on earlier acoustic albums you’ve featured, along the artists you bring up on Acoustic Tuesday. In terms of an album, I thought you might have included Pierre Bensusan’s, “Musiques”. Actually, I think you could have included almost anything by him because, well, he’s just awesome. His ability to blend of musical traditions always amazes me, and I’ve found myself wondering on occasion why he’s never popped-up on Acoustic Tuesday. The same goes for Richard Thompson, whom you did mention last week but probably deserves an entire episode, AND for the Lowden guitars that both he and Bensusan favor. Of course, it might be that I didn’t start watching Acoustic Tuesday early enough, but those are questions I’ve asked myself a few times since I started watching. In any case, thanks for the show – keep the guitar geekiness coming!
Fantastic show Tony! Thank you for doing what you do and in bringing together, well, a pretty cool community. I recently was turned on to Joe Pass, Virtuoso. I really like the “you may like because you listen to …” feature on my streaming service. I always listen to new music on my daily walk. Not only that, but I’m falling further down the acoustic Guitar rabbit hole. Tony when we are sitting in a restaurant everyone around is talking away, and we have our heads tilted to the side trying to focus on the guitar playing in the background, You’re into it, and then you get the look……. Well, they just don’t get it! It’s like trying to explain the Grateful Dead. It takes more time than they are willing to give you. You just want to talk about it, right? That is why this is an assume community.
Have a Grateful Day!
Dude, these are awesome!!! Love the modern guitar pieces that prove guitar doesn’t have to be old or “heavy metal”…. I still love Joe Pass and the occasional headbangers.
Great stuff T
Phil Keaggy. Like hearing him put together a loop while playing in concert. Excellent guitarist
Leo Kottke long time favorite and also Chet Atkins
Jazz Dobro! Not sure if I’ll dig the album, but I LOVE the concept!
I’m new to TAC and loved your instrumental favorites! I don’t know if you have highlighted Kelly Joe Phelps in the past but I think he should be mentioned. As you know he passed earlier this year. He did a lot of instrumental songs on his 12 albums but Western Bell is all instrumental. MacDougal is a really nice ragtime instrumental song off Tunesmith Retrofit. Check him out! awesome guitar, dobro, lapstyle slide guitar ….
Jim Henry + Brooks Williams
Ring Some Changes (1997)
Great acoustic instrumental album!
Speechless by Bruce Cockburn.
My go to is by Tuck Andress “Reckless Precision” or “Hymns Carols and Songs About Snow”
My favorite is Leo Kotke 6 & 12 String Guitar
Jack Rose, Kensington Blues is a recent favorite of mine. Originally released in 2005 he plays in the Fahey style but as if the style has developed with a sense of elegance.
Tony, don’t have a favorite yet, still exploring. But from today’s episode I really liked 9. Ivan Rosenburg, 10. Charlie Parr, my all-time favorite to date, and 11. Glen Jones. Also wanted to tell you that I am receiving progress pictures on my Mule Mavis and hope to get it by Christmas (Huurry up Matt! Can’t wait but take your time anyway to create for me a special resonator.). Tony thanks for turning me on to Mule resonators in what ever episode that was. I immediately sent in my deposit to get on the waiting list and now I am finally in line to get my Mavis sooner than later. Anyway I said all this to telly you that when my Mavis arrives I will be purchasing my Guitarsanal T-shirt and send you a picture and brief story of my guitars. Working hard on my TAC lessons and sometimes get frustrated at my lack of progress however when I look back to day 1 to today at day 200 and something I think WOW all those baby steps are really making a difference. Guitar life is a journey not a destination. Thank Tony for all you do! Mike Hobbs
One of my instrumental acoustic favorites: John McLaughlin’s SHAKTI.
Fav guitar album…Leo Kottke 6 & 12 string because it got me going into finger style guitar in 1972. Bill Mize Road Scholar ,All of Ed Gerhards albums. The Guitarizma. Hop skip and wobble.
Being a life-long Bruce Cockburn fan, I’d have to nominate his ‘Speechless’ and ‘Crowing Ignites’ albums.
Bruce Cockburn – Speechless
Favorite fingerstyle/acoustic albuim Self-titled Richard Ruskin https://www.discogs.com/release/2575758-Richard-Ruskin-Richard-Ruskin
Midnight rider , Any experience with Zager Guitars?
I have 2
& more recently the travel size.
Tony, “bituminous” refers to what is known as “soft” coal as opposed to “Anthracite” or “hard coal.” Soft coal is sort of dirty black, dull and dusty; hard coal is very shiny black. I have actually seen jewelry made from anthracitr. My mother was from a coal mining community in Western PA. Her father and several brothers were coal miners, and one died in a mine disaster. I can’t remember if Western PA was hard or soft coal mining, though.
Fav guitar instrumrntal album is Strunz & Ferrar “Zona Torrida”. When I put it on, my friends ask who it is. No bigger compliment.
Tony Polecastro – Rodent – Great Album! Honestly, since I discovered it it’s been one of my go to’s for instrumental. I also love any Snarky Puppy album, not bluegrass or folk but great fusion music and I love the drummer.