Richard Smith (English guitarist)

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Richard Smith
Richard Smith Rietberg 2006.jpg
Richard Smith performing in Germany in 2006
Background information
Born (1971-12-12) 12 December 1971 (age 46)
Beckenham, England
OriginNashville, Tennessee
GenresCountry, bluegrass, gypsy jazz, western swing, Classical, folk
Associated actsChet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Merle Travis
Official Myspace
Official Youtube

Richard Smith (born 12 December 1971) is an English guitarist, now residing in the US and specialising in the fingerstyle guitar tradition of Merle Travis, Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed. He is the 2001 National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion.


Smith was born in Beckenham, England. He picked up the guitar when he was five years old, after watching his father playing an Atkins and Travis version of Down South Blues. He begged his father, a longtime Atkins admirer, to introduce him to the fingerpicking style. Smith soon became a child prodigy on the guitar. At the age of 11 he finally shared the stage with his idol, when Atkins invited Smith to play together with him at Her Majesty's Theatre in London.[1][2] He was also influenced by guitarist Big Jim Sullivan and briefly studied jazz guitar with former Tal Farlow student Shane Hill at Warlingham School, Surrey.

Later, he formed the Richard Smith Guitar Trio with his brothers Rob and Sam, before marrying American cellist Julie Adams and moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 1999.[3] There he founded the Hot Club of Nashville, a jam band with a varying lineup, including high-profile session players such as John Jorgenson, Pat Bergeson, Bryan Sutton and Stuart Duncan, combining the European and American traditions of Gypsy Jazz and Western Swing. Smith now performs both as a solo act and in a guitar and cello duo with his wife. His repertoire includes a wide range of styles from country, bluegrass, blues, ragtime, and folk to jazz, pop and classical music.[4]

His flawless technique, quickly switching between fingerpicking and flatpicking, not only earned him the admiration of his peers such as Tommy Emmanuel, Doyle Dykes, Muriel Anderson and Joscho Stephan,[1] but also numerous awards. Upon his only participation Smith won the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, in 2001.[5] The National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame named him Thumbpicker of the Year in 2008 and inducted him into the Hall of Fame in 2009.[6] Furthermore, Smith received the Golden Thumbpick Award by the Association of Fingerstyle Guitarists.[7]


Smith plays a signature instrument made by luthier Kirk Sand from Laguna Beach, California. The Richard Smith Model is an acoustic-electric nylon-string guitar.[8] He also endorses steel-string models by Stonebridge Guitars.[9] He prefers German-built AER amplifiers for his guitars.[10] Richard uses D'Addario strings and accessories.



  • 2002: Requests
  • 2006: Fingerstyle Artistry (Mel Bay DVD)
  • 2007: Slim Pickin'

With The Richard Smith Guitar Trio:

  • 1996: The Richard Smith Guitar Trio
  • 1997: Welcome to Smithville
  • 1998: Strike it Rich!
  • 1999: Out of Bounds

With Jim Nichols:

  • 2003: Live at Boulevard Music

With Julie Adams:

  • 2001: Living Out a Dream
  • 2009: Seems Like Old Times

With Aaron Till:

  • 2004: Out of Nowhere

With Joscho Stephan:

  • 2007: Live in Concert (Acoustic Music Records DVD, special guest appearance)


  • 2001: National Finger Style Guitar Champion at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas
  • 2008: Thumbpicker of the Year by the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
  • 2009: Inducted into the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame
  • Golden Thumbpick Award by the Association of Fingerstyle Guitarists


  1. ^ a b Seacost Online – Seacoast Guitar Society presents Richard Smith, Julie Adams, retrieved 6 July 2011
  2. ^ Clarksville Online – APSU presents "The Beatles to Bluegrass: An Evening of Virtuoso Guitar", retrieved 6 July 2011
  3. ^ The Julian News – Guitar Champ in Concert at Borrego Springs – March 31, 2004
  4. ^ The Item (Jane G. Collins) – Guitar-cello concert 'delightful, creative' – Sumter, SC – November 18, 2006
  5. ^ Walnut Valley Festival – 2001 Walnut Valley Championship Archives – All Winners, archived from the original on 15 June 2011, retrieved 6 July 2011
  6. ^ National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame Inductees, retrieved 6 July 2011
  7. ^ Association of Fingerstyle Guitarists – AFG Golden Pick Honor Society, retrieved 6 July 2011
  8. ^ Sand Guitars – Richard Smith Model, retrieved 6 July 2011
  9. ^ Stonebridge Guitars – Artists – Richard Smith, retrieved 6 July 2011
  10. ^ AER Amplifiers – Players – Richard Smith, retrieved 6 July 2011

External links[edit]