Robben Ford

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Robben Ford
Robben Ford.jpg
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
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]


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]


Robben had a Signature model with Fender, produced in Japan between 1987 and 1993. After that period, the guitar was still available for a few years, via the Fender Custom Shop, where master builder Greg Fessler was responsible for production. Their collaboration has now ceased, which makes these guitars highly collectible and valued over $5000 (used).[8]

Besides his current endorsement with Baker Guitars,[9] Robben Ford uses Dumble Amplifiers and Celestion G12-65 speakers. When traveling abroad he uses Fender Super Reverb amplifiers along with a Zendrive overdrive pedal by Hermida Audio. Sometimes he plays a vintage 1960 Fender Telecaster, Gibson Les Pauls or a guitar custom-made by Taku Sakashta.[10] Currently, Ford travels with just two vintage guitars: a 1966 Epiphone Riviera (with the original Bigsby tremolo removed and replaced with a stop tailpiece) and the 1960 Fender Telecaster.[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]



  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. ^ "Used Fender Custom Shop Robben Ford Ultra Signature Model Electric Guitar Three-Tone Sunburst". The Music Zoo. Retrieved 2015-09-07. 
  9. ^ "Baker Guitars, Arch Quilted or Flame Top Electric Guitars - Baker B1 Guitars". Retrieved 2015-09-07. 
  10. ^ "Robben Ford". Vintage Guitar® magazine. Retrieved January 7, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Rig Rundown: Robben Ford". Retrieved January 7, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Welcome to the web site of Anne Kerry Ford". Retrieved January 7, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Larry Carlton and Robben Ford : Unplugged Review". Guitarhoo!. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 

External links[edit]