Arlen Roth

About Arlen Roth

Master of the Telecaster -- and Much More
    Arlen Roth
  • One of "The Top 100 Influential Guitarists of the Century" - Vintage Guitar Magazine.
  • Innovator across musical genres, from Acoustic Styles to Electric Rock, Blues, Slide Guitar and Country.
  • Acclaimed Solo Artist, Sideman, Bandleader, Studio Musician, Songwriter and Record Producer.
  • 35-year Career Touring and Recording with Top Performers.
  • Respected Author, Columnist, and Master Guitar Authority, All Genres, All Playing Styles.
  • Inspiration behind creation of "Arlen Roth" brand name guitars, each one a distinct and distinguished model, currently manufactured by three companies.
  • Revolutionized Music Instruction and Learning Resources, Through Hot Licks Video and His Many Books.
  • Recognized as Having Taught and Influenced More Guitarists Worldwide than Anyone in History.

Known as "The Master of the Telecaster," music lovers consider Arlen Roth "the guitarist's guitarist," a brilliant musician, but that's only one aspect of his remarkable 35-year career. He is a highly regarded authority concerning "all things guitar," from writing about guitar playing, to being the inspiration behind their creation, due to his fluent mastery, and rare ability to seamlessly cross over musical genres and playing styles.

His legendary guitar prowess crosses all genres, all styles, and all types of guitar playing, including one of his specialties, slide guitar. He fluidly moves from folk and blues to country tunes, and has played some of the most resounding rock ever recorded. He is as comfortable playing an acoustic ballad, (his acoustic version of Layla has been critically acclaimed as being better than Eric Clapton's version) as he is launching into the most powerful version of "When a Man Loves a Woman" ever recorded, which Guitar Player magazine called "likely the most intense workout ever recorded on a Telecaster."

His music and endless creativity seem to flow directly from him and through him, and no matter which guitar or style he is playing at any moment, there is an unmistakable combination of clarity, depth, and fluidity, exemplified by the song from which his current release takes its name, Landscape. This (12-track) recording showcases his hallmark genius, his ability to take any note, any nuance, any tool, anything he's ever heard, and somehow make it uniquely his own.

Since his remarkable range of talent defies distinct categorization, the best in the business call upon him when they want the best-- studio musician, sideman, songwriter, author, teacher, bandleader, film consultant, or to go on tour. He also produces his own, and other artists' music.

Every step of the way, since his first solo recording in 1978, Arlen Roth has received accolades and earned the highest acclaim. Vintage Guitar magazine ranked him One of the Top 100 Influential Guitarists of the Century, and he's also on their list for having performed one of The Top 10 Greatest Recorded Guitar Sounds. He recently was a contributing artist on Guitar Harvest , a compilation release featuring world-class guitarists, voted one of the Top Ten All-Time Best Guitar Recordings by Rolling Stone magazine.

Several best-selling guitars bear his name, with three more in production: a new Arlen Roth Archtop model by Curtis Guitars, the innovative Terraplane, a steel-bodied resonator guitar inspired by the classic Hudson Terraplane car, by Simon Guitars, and Warren Guitars' popular Arlen Roth Signature model.

His first of eight solo releases, Arlen Roth: Guitarist, won the Critics Award for "Best Instrumental Album" at Montreaux in 1978. Hot Pickups was No. 2 on the U.K. charts in 1979. His Toolin' Around CD (1993) has become a hard-to-find classic, and is being re-released in 2005 due to ongoing demand. On Toolin' Around , Arlen plays duets with legends such as Danny Gatton, Brian Setzer, Albert Lee, Duane Eddy, Duke Robillard, Jerry Douglas, and Sam Bush, as well as several solo pieces. A big bonus for fans is The Making of Toolin' Around, a film (recorded on DVD) available for the first time. He also contributed to Incarnation, a tribute to legendary blues man Robert Johnson , and performed on two recent Jimi Hendrix tribute CDs.

Arlen Roth has traversed a vast territory, as a musician and as a man.

Drive It Home , a critically acclaimed all-acoustic recording, and the artist's most personal one, was dedicated to his late wife Deborah, and their oldest daughter, Gillian, both tragically lost to a car accident in 1998.

He has toured with Simon and Garfunkel , individually, and together, from 1978 to the present. He appeared on-stage in a film with Bob Dylan , created and taught Ralph Macchio his guitar parts for the film Crossroads , played and directed most of the film's guitar scenes, and played an infamous "dueling guitar virtuosos" finale with Steve Vai and others, still generating substantial internet buzz 20 years later.

A few other artists with whom Arlen Roth has toured or recorded include John Prine, Phoebe Snow, Don McLean, Eric Andersen, Tony Bird, Janis Ian, Pete Seeger (Grammy nominated album), Jack Bruce, Duane Eddy, gospel great Marion Williams, as well as the Taylors: James, Livingston, and Kate.

He's also considered the single-most important influence on learning to play the guitar and other instruments around the world. In 1979, Arlen Roth and his late wife, Deborah, founded Hot Licks , a guitar learning resources company, the first to videotape famous musicians demonstrating their techniques and individual styles, creating an important historical legacy. In many instances, the Hot Licks catalog contains the only video recordings ever performed by these master musicians. The company has shipped over two million videos worldwide, while producing an extensive library of books and guitar-related materials, including many Arlen Roth best sellers, covering guitar history, and lessons for specific guitars, genres, and playing styles.

In 1974, 20-year old Arlen Roth authored his first book, Slide Guitar, still considered the "gold standard." How to Play Blues Guitar followed a year later. Nashville Guitar, 1976, became a landmark reference, highly influencing the country music sound, owing to Arlen's introduction of his wholly original string-bending techniques. His Doubleday book, Complete Electric Guitar, was partially edited by the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Some additional titles include Masters of the Telecaster, Complete Acoustic Guitar, Rock Guitar for Future Stars , and others.

"Hot Guitar," Arlen Roth's column in Guitar Player magazine, was voted #1 by readers for ten consecutive years, and recently was compiled into a best selling book.

Arlen Roth and his daughter, Lexie, a recording and performing artist in her own right, reside in upstate New York. Lexie's first CD, One Long Blink, has recently been released and is receiving great reviews. Look for both father and daughter to be performing many concerts together this year.

AR's Cars