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Stanley Jordan (July 31, 1959) is an Americanmarker jazz/jazz fusion guitarist, best known for his development of the tapping technique for the guitar.

He was born in Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker, and he received a BA in digital music composition from Princeton Universitymarker in 1981, studying under computer-music composers Paul Lansky and Milton Babbitt.

Two-handed tapping technique

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. 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.

Personal life

Jordan has one 24-year-old daughter from his brief marriage. Jordan's daughter, Julia Jordan, is a guitarist living in Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker, and recently completed an album titled Urban Legacy. The album received very positive reviews in the DIY section of Performing Songwriter Magazine.

Stanley Jordan is currently a resident of Sedonamarker, Arizonamarker, where he owns Sedona Books and Music. He attends Arizona State Universitymarker, working toward a master's degree in music therapy.


  • Touch Sensitive (1982)
  • Magic Touch (1985)
  • Standards, Vol. 1 (1986)
  • Flying Home (1988)
  • Cornucopia (1990)
  • Stolen Moments (1991)
  • Bolero (1994)
  • The Best of Stanley Jordan (1995)
  • Stanley Jordan Live in New York (1998)
  • Relaxing Music for Difficult Situations, I (2003)
  • Ragas (2004)
  • Dreams of Peace (2004)
  • State of Nature (2008)


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