Patrick Bruce Metheny (born August 12, 1954 in Lee's Summit, Missouri) is an American jazz guitarist. He is the leader of the Pat Metheny Group and is also involved in duets, solo works, and other side projects.
Metheny was born and raised in Lee's Summit, Kansas City, Missouri. Following his graduation from Lee's Summit High School, he briefly attended the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. (Metheny dropped out of the University of Miami in his first semester and was immediately offered a teaching position there.)
Metheny came onto the jazz scene quickly in 1975, at the age of 21, after joining Gary Burton's band and then recording a trio record with Jaco Pastorius and Bob Moses called Bright Size Life. Metheny's next recording, 1977's Watercolors, featured pianist Lyle Mays. Metheny's next album formalized this partnership and began the Pat Metheny Group, featuring several songs co-written with Mays; the album was released as the self-titled Pat Metheny Group on the ECM record label. Pat Metheny also has released notable solo, trio, quartet and duet recordings with musicians such as Jim Hall, Dave Holland, Roy Haynes, Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Pedro Aznar, Charlie Haden, John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, Herbie Hancock, Bill Stewart, Ornette Coleman, Brad Mehldau, Joni Mitchell and many others.
Pat Metheny has also joined projects of all kinds both as a player and a writer, notably the record Song X with Ornette Coleman; Parallel Realities; and Jazz Baltica, with Ulf Wakenius and other Nordic Jazz players and plays with some great female musicians such as Silje Nergaard on Tell Me Where You're Going (1990), Noa on Noa (1994) and Anna Maria Jopek on Upojenie (2002).
Pat Metheny has been touring for more than 30 years, averaging 120-240 concerts a year. Metheny has written over 200 pieces and continues to push musical limits in both his composition and performance.
Continuing the tradition of jazz guitarists borrowing tones and techniques from their rock counterparts, Metheny has made alterations to the jazz guitar tone palette.
Twelve-String Electric Guitar
Pat Martino had used the electric twelve-string guitar on a studio album, Desperado, and John McLaughlin had famously used a double-neck electric guitar with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, but Metheny was a significant user of the twelve-string electric in jazz. (Ralph Towner had previously introduced the acoustic twelve-string to jazz.) Metheny unquestionably introduced alternate 12-string tunings to jazz; these can be heard on tunes such as "Sirabhorn" (from Bright Size Life) and San Lorenzo (from Pat Metheny Group and Travels).
Six-String Electric Guitar
Metheny's tone, which has evolved over the years, involves using the natural full-frequency response of his hollow-body guitar, combined with high-midrange settings on his amplifier to create a smooth, sustaining lead sound that is virtually devoid of piercing treble yet is able to cut through a dense mix. By using digital signal processing that involves digital delay and reverb, he has created a big, rich, and resonant instrumental voice.
Metheny was also one of the first jazz guitarists to make heavy use of the Roland GR300 Guitar Synthesizer. While John Abercrombie and Bill Frisell also used it heavily in the 1980s, Metheny is the only one of the three who still uses the instrument on a regular basis. Unlike many guitar synth users, Metheny limits himself to a very small number of sounds; in interviews, he has argued that each of the timbres achievable through guitar synthesis should be treated as a separate instrument, and that he has tried to master each of these "instruments" instead of using it for incidental color.
42-String Pikasso Guitar
Metheny plays is a custom-made instrument Pikasso I created by Canadian luthier Linda Manzer on "Into the Dream" and on the albums Quartet, Imaginary Day, Jim Hall & Pat Metheny, Trio->Live, and the Speaking of Now Live and Imaginary Day DVDs. Metheny has also used the guitar in his guest appearances on other artist's albums.
Manzer has also made many acoustic guitars for Metheny, including a mini guitar, an acoustic sitar guitar, and also the baritone guitar, which Metheny used for the recording of One Quiet Night. His latest use of the Pikasso is found on the album Metheny Mehldau Quartet, his second collaboration with pianist Brad Mehldau and his trio sidemen Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard; the Pikasso is featured on Metheny's impressionistic composition "The Sound of Water."
See his guitar tips, guitar technique on VDO bar above
Photo from Wikipedia
Pat Metheny website
Pat Metheny guitar licks
Pat Metheny - Into The Dream/Have You Heard (Picasso guitar)