These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the April 2015 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.
Jerry Reed (1937–2008), known by many as Burt Reynolds’ truck-driving partner in crime in the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit, was also a highly accomplished and influential guitar picker—influencing the likes of Eric Johnson, Brent Mason, John Jorgensen, Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Morse and countless others—revered for his mind-boggling “guitar dueling” records with Chet Atkins, as well as a thriving songwriting career that spawned tunes that even Elvis Presley covered (“Guitar Man”).
How Reed managed to maintain his guitar chops while being a major film star—in later years, Jerry also appeared in Adam Sandler’s The Waterboy and with Robin Williams in The Survivors—is anyone’s guess. Let’s look at some of the technical and stylistic elements that made Reed a great player.
He used a thumbpick, so if you have one, use it in every instance a thumbstroke (p) is indicated in the following examples.