Stanley Jordan (born July 31, 1959) is an American jazz guitarist whose technique involves tapping his fingers on the fretboard of the guitar with both hands.
Jordan was born in Chicago, Illinois. When he was six, he started on piano, then at eleven switched to guitar. He later began playing in rock and soul bands. In 1976, he won an award at the Reno Jazz Festival. At Princeton University, he studied music theory and composition with Milton Babbitt and computer music with Paul Lansky. While at Princeton he played with Benny Carter and Dizzy Gillespie.
In 1985, Bruce Lundvall became president of Blue Note Records and Stanley Jordan was the first person he signed. Blue Note released his album Magic Touch, which sat at No.1 on Billboard ‘s jazz chart for 51 weeks, setting a record.
Normally, a guitarist uses two hands to play each note. One hand presses down a guitar string behind a chosen fret to prepare the note, and the other hand either plucks or strums the string to play that note. Jordan’s touch technique is an advanced form of two-handed tapping. The guitarist produces a note using only one finger by quickly tapping (or hammering) his finger down behind the appropriate fret. The impact causes the string to vibrate enough to sound the note, and the volume can be controlled by varying the force of impact. Jordan taps with both hands, and more legato than is normally associated with guitar tapping. His technique allows the guitarist to play melody and chords simultaneously. It is also possible, as he has demonstrated, to play simultaneously on two different guitars, as well as guitar and piano.