Charlie Christian

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Vernon Reid
  • Category:
    Early Influences
Charlie Christian Signature


Charlie Christian took electric guitar out of the rhythm section and into the spotlight.

Christian’s single-string solo technique proved that guitar could be a lead instrument and shaped a generation of bebop guitarists.

Hall of Fame Essay


Chris Albertson

In the early years of jazz, the guitar was an impractical instrument, nursed primarily by street-comer blues and gospel singers, whom it suited perfectly.

In those days before the microphone, when band vocalists used megaphones to make themselves heard, it took the metallic plunk of the banjo to penetrate the roar of horns and thunder of drums. When microphones replaced amplification cones in the mid-Twenties, allowing audio engineers to alter the balance of sound during actual performance, the door was opened for subtle instruments and weak-voiced singers.

Any discussion of a link between jazz and technology inevitably leads to the guitar, which gave the music its first electronic sound, and to Charlie Christian, who pioneered the use of the amplified guitar.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program Cover 1990
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Charlie Christian Quote Image
I was amazed at how modern Charlie Christian sounded
Vernon Reid



Gallery Image Charlie Christian
Gallery Image Charlie Christian