Robben Ford

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Robben Ford
Robben Ford.jpg
Ford in February 2007
Background information
Born (1951-12-16) December 16, 1951 (age 64)
Woodlake, California, U.S.
Genres Blues, jazz/fusion, rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, saxophone
Years active 1969–present
Associated acts John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Yellowjackets, Chick Corea, Gregg Allman Band, L.A. Express
Website Robbenford.com
Notable instruments
Baker Guitars Robben Ford Signature Model, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Riviera

Robben Ford (born December 16, 1951)[1] is an American blues, jazz and rock guitarist. He was a member of the L.A. Express and has collaborated with Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, Larry Carlton and Kiss. He was named one of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century" by Musician magazine.

Early life[edit]

Robben Ford was born in Woodlake, California and raised in Ukiah, California. He began playing the saxophone at age 10 and the guitar at age 14. Robben and his brothers created the Charles Ford Blues Band in honor of their father.[2]

Career[edit]

At age 18, Ford's band was hired to play with Charlie Musselwhite.[1] and recorded two albums The Charles Ford Band and Discovering the Blues. He recorded two albums with Jimmy Witherspoon[3][citation needed] called Live and Spoonful. In the 1970s, Ford joined the jazz fusion band, L.A. Express,[1] led by saxophonist Tom Scott. In 1974 the band supported George Harrison on his American tour and played on the Joni Mitchell albums The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Miles of Aisles.[1]

After leaving the L.A. Express in 1976, Robben Ford recorded his solo album, The Inside Story with a band that later became the Yellowjackets.[1] In 1982, Ford was one of several guitarists who appeared on the KISS album Creatures of the Night, playing lead guitar on the songs "Rock And Roll Hell" and "I Still Love You".

Miles Davis & Robben Ford in Montreux in 1986

Ford worked briefly with Miles Davis in 1986;[1] and can be heard on Davis' Montreux box set. Ford released his album, Talk to Your Daughter in 1988. He joined Philippe Saisse, Marcus Miller and J.T. Lewis in the cast of The Sunday Night Band for the second and final season of the late-night NBC television program, Sunday Night in 1989.[4] In the 1990s he released the albums, Robben Ford and the Blue Line, and Tiger Walk.

Robben Ford has received five Grammy Award nominations[5] and was named one of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century" by Musician magazine.[6] He credited pianist and arranger Roger Kellaway and saxophonist and arranger Tom Scott, whom he met while playing for Joni Mitchell, as a major influence on his musical development.[7]

Equipment[edit]

Guitars[edit]

Ford considers his first good electric a Guild Starfire III with a single sharp cutaway. He used a Gibson L-5 when he played with Charlie Musselwhite and the Ford Band, although he never thought it was a great guitar. While playing with Jimmy Witherspoon, Ford traded the L-5, plus $200, for a Super 400. When Ford began playing with the L.A. Express and Joni Mitchell, he used a 1958 Gibson dot-neck 335.

After Ford's Talk to Your Daughter album was released in 1998, Robben used a Robben Ford Signature model guitar created in a collaboration with Dan Smith of Fender and produced in Japan between 1987 and 1993. That guitar was based on the Fender Master Series Esprit Ultra that was produced from 1983 to 1986 in Japan. In 1987, new management at Fender authorized the first production of the Robben Ford Signature guitar. In 1994, production of the guitar moved from Japan to the Fender Custom Shop. Three models were produced: Ultra FM (with a carved maple top), Ultra SP (with a carved spruce top), and the Elite FM (with a carved flame maple top). The guitar line continued to be produced until 2002 when it was discontinued by Fender.

Sometimes he plays a vintage 1960 Fender Telecaster, Gibson Les Pauls,[8] or a 1963 Gibson SG.[9] Ford also owns other guitars including a 1966 Epiphone Riviera (with the original Bigsby tremolo removed and replaced with a stop tailpiece).

Amplifiers[edit]

Robben Ford uses Dumble Amplifiers and Celestion G12-65 speakers. In 1983, Alexander Dumble made Robben's first Dumble Overdrive Special (serial #002) for Robben. Alexander is the owner of serial #001.[10]

When traveling abroad he prefers taking his Dumble, but will sometimes use Fender Super Reverb or Fender Twin amplifiers.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Ford is married to the cabaret singer Anne Kerry Ford. He is the uncle of current Little Feat drummer Gabe Ford.[12]

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Scott Yanow. "Robben Ford". AllMusic. Retrieved November 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 110. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  3. ^ Bob Porter radio show December 8, 2012, on WBGO "Portraits in Blue"
  4. ^ Sunday Night – episode #121 (1989), Broadway Video, Inc.
  5. ^ Karen Lindell (2008-01-31). "Ojai's Robben Ford doesn't mince words, or licks, on his Grammy-nominated blues CD". VC-Star. Retrieved 2015-09-07. 
  6. ^ [1] Archived October 26, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Robben Ford Guitar Lesson". Blues Revolution, True Fire. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Robben Ford". Vintage Guitar® magazine. Retrieved January 7, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Robben Ford Gets Lean and Clean". Guitar Player Magazine® magazine. Retrieved January 30, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Rig Rundown: Robben Ford". Premier Guitar® magazine. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  11. ^ "10 Things We Learned from Robben Ford". Premier Guitar® magazine. Retrieved May 6, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Welcome to the web site of Anne Kerry Ford". Annekerryford.com. Retrieved January 7, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Larry Carlton and Robben Ford : Unplugged Review". Guitarhoo!. Guitarhoo.com. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 

External links[edit]