Well-known American jazz or jazz fusion guitarist Stanley Jordan, stands out among the rest of the musicians for developing the touch technique for playing the stringed instrument. Incidentally, Stanley, born in Illinois in the United States on July 31, 1959, took classical training pianist before playing the guitar. Stanley Jordan learnt music from computer-music celebrities like Paul Lansky and Milton Babbitt and secured a bachelor’s degree in digital music composition from the Princeton University in 1981.

Touch Technique

To play each note, usually a guitarist is required to employ both his hands. One hand pushed down a string of the guitar on a particular fret to arrange the tone, while the other plucks or twangs the string to play that note. Significantly, Stanley Jordan’s touch method is a sophisticated variety of two-handed rhythm.

Stanley Jordan
Stanley Jordan

According to Stanley’s novel method, the guitarist creates a note employing just one finger, by swiftly tapping his finger behind the correct fret. And the power of the bang results into a vibration of the chord that is sufficient to resonance the note. Applying his touch technique, Stanley Jordan patters the chord with both hands and with additional overture. Significantly, by changing the power of the bang, it is possible to manage the intensity of the tone.

In 1892, Vigier Guitars manufactured Stanley Jordan's chief guitar, which is based on an Arpege model and Vigier made a plane fingerboard, letting it have a very low action that aids the tapping method.

Debut Album & Fame

In fact, when Bruce Lundvall became the president of Blue Note Records in 1985, he first signed Stanley Jordan. Stanley Jordan gained reputation for the first time following the release of his debut album ‘Magic Touch’ in 1985. This avant-garde work put Stanley Jordan in the vanguard of re-launch of the renowned Blue Note Records into modern-day creations in the jazz music. At the same time, the project helped establish young Stanley Jordan as one of the unique and uplifting voices of the electric guitar.

The albums released by Stanley Jordan put him in a frustrating position. While, Stanley wanted to offer his audience higher levels of his creativity, the record companies wanted him to churn out more of the kind of music that enabled him to top the charts. As Stanley Jordan made his maiden album on the Blue Note label, he was being promoted as a reformer of jazz music. Contrary to this, the artist himself was trying to emphasize that music was not limited to any particular style.

Career & Retirement

After ‘Magic Touch’, Stanley Jordan came out with albums like a solo project entitled Standards Volume I in 1986, This was succeeded by a band album Flying Home in 1988 and another called Cornucopia in 1990. Four years later, after he moved to Arista Records, Stanley Jordan recorded Bolero. In 2003, he released ‘Dreams of Peace’ followed by ‘State of Nature’ in 2004. Although, he has not released any record since, then Stanley Jordan maintains that he is not out of music, but is still active and surveying the unfathomable magnitude of his technique.

Interestingly, as the ‘Magic Touch’ has proved, Stanley Jordan’s rise was meteoric. In addition to his unique Touch Ttapping technique, Stanley Jordan is also remembered as the exponent of ‘Sonification’ – producing sound from something or anything. Sadly, his stay at the top has been short lived and he faded from the jazz arena only to re-emerge in 2004. Ever since, Stanley Jordan has been leading a self-imposed seclusion.

Currently, Stanley Jordan resides in Sedona in Arizona, and is the proprietor of Sedona Books and Music. At the same time, he has been attending the Arizona State University and working towards a master's degree in music therapy.



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