Django Reinhardt

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Django Reinhardt Pencil Portrait
To see a larger preview, please click the image.

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The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.


A3 Pencil Print-Price £45.00-Purchase

A4 Pencil Print-Price £30.00-Purchase

*Limited edition run of 250 prints only*

All Pencil Prints are printed on the finest Bockingford Somerset Velvet 255 gsm paper.

P&P is not included in the above prices.


‘Articulation’ and ‘release’ form the basis of sound guitar technique. In order to achieve two handed synchronization and ‘clean playing,’ aspiring guitarists need to fret and pick each note simultaneously. Unfortunately, whilst many players articulate a note cleanly, they ignore what immediately follows afterwards – the sound of 2 notes slightly ‘bleeding’ together. The solution is to simply ‘relax’ the fretting finger after the note has been played, instead of immediately lifting it off. This action effortlessly ‘releases’ the note allowing the guitarist to play faster, with greater ease, and for a longer duration of time.

All well and good then, provided one has a thumb and four fretting fingers to work with. Yet after a caravan fire, Django Reinhardt was compelled to create a whole new fingering system built around the two fingers on his left hand that retained full mobility. His fourth and fifth digits of the left hand were permanently curled towards the palm, due to the tendons shrinking from the heat of the fire. He could use them on the first two strings of the guitar for chords and octaves, but complete extension of these fingers was impossible. His subsequent soloing, played with such grace and precision, was all done with the index and middle fingers – a technique that almost defies belief. Despite this handicap, Reinhardt is regarded by millions as one of the greatest guitar players of all time, and is the first important European jazz musician who made major contributions to the development of the genre.

It astounds me just how many guitarists I meet with no idea who Django is. For me personally, it’s the equivalent of someone professing a love for poetry and plays with no awareness of William Shakespeare. Whilst ‘Gypsy jazz’ was a derivation of the fiery improvisations of American jazz masters like Louis Armstrong, it was wholly indigenous to Paris, and had its origins in the ‘Le Quintette du Hot Club de France,’ a string band founded by Django and violinist Stéphane Grappelli. Establishing a precedent for the Gypsy-jazz ensemble and instrumentation, Django and Stéphane were supported by two rhythm guitars and an upright bass. To this day, one can find “Hot Club” – style groups with similar configurations flourishing throughout the world.


The Django Reinhardt Swing Page

A cornucopia of “all things Django,” including details of UK wide guitar workshops.

The ‘articles’ section has an entry on ‘The History of Django.’ The guitarist would die of a massive brain hemorrhage in 1953, and not a hemmoridge! A pity therefore, that all this meticulous work was not supported by a last minute ‘spell check!’

An excellent, informative site nonetheless, and with useful tips for the aspiring jazz guitarist.