Barry Galbraith

Barry Galbraith

This page is devoted to one of the best jazz guitarists of the 20th century, Barry Galbraith (1919 – 1983). Barry played on many recordings as a session musician with the likes of Miles Davis, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday and others, but in his early career he also toured with Art Tatum, Stan Kenton and others. There is a short WIKI entry for him, but the best information I have found about him is in the Mel Bay edition of his chord melody arrangements – see below.

He recorded one album under his own name, which can be heard in its entirety:

He authored a few very interesting books on jazz guitar playing, published by Jamey Aebersold:

Volume 1: Fingerboard Workout
Volume 2: Daily Exercises in the Melodic Minor and Harmonic Minor Modes
Volume 3: Guitar Comping
Volume 4: Play Along With Bach
Volume 5: Guitar Improv

Anyone who works through all five volumes should fear no one!

Highly recommended are the two publications of Barry’s Chord Melody arrangements – with tab added, and chord symbols above the stave, and a recording of every piece (though not by Galbraith). I am working my way through these books, and will add new videos below when I have done them.


I particularly enjoy Galbraith’s arrangements more than any others I’ve heard by more famous names. He can be simple, when simple is required, but he can also be complex, but always, always musical. Some of the pieces are fairly straight forward to play, while some require an advanced technique – something for everyone. They are also full of stealable licks, chord movements, bass progressions. A few of his ii-V-I harmonisations have made their way into my playing.