Instrumentalists you can recognize after 6 bars..?

Musicians you can recognize after 6 bars (of music, not pubs) even if you don’t know the piece?

Mine would be

  • Miles Davis
  • Mark Knopfler
  • Pepe Romero
  • Dave Brubeck

John Coltrane.

Miles Davis

Jimi Hendrix.

Eric Clapton.



Mark O'Connor, the fiddler.

Six bars? How did you settle on THAT number (as opposed to, say, four)?

Guitar: Chuck Berry, Albert King, James Burton, Dave Edmunds, Albert Lee, Ry Cooder, Jimi Hendrix.

Bass: James Jamerson, Rick Danko, Joey Spampinato, Jack Casady, Jack Bruce.

Drums: Earl Palmer, Hal Blaine, Buddy Harman, Levon Helm, Roger Hawkins, Jim Gordon, Keith Moon, Ginger Baker.

Piano: Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Floyd Cramer, Spooner Oldham, Terry Adams, Stevie Wonder, Van Dyke Parks.

Dobro: Jerry Douglas.

Blues Harp: Little Walter, Charlie Musselwhite.

Fiddle: Doug Kershaw.

Oops, can't leave out Bill Pitcock IV, the distinctive guitarist in The Dwight Twilley Band, as well as on solo albums by Twilley and the band's drummer Phil Seymour. He got his sound by plugging a Gibson ES335 into a pair of Fender Deluxe Reverb combo amps, an MXR delay between the two. One of my favorite guitarists, he was a 2-pk. a day man (Marlboro Reds), so of course died of lung cancer (in 2011 at the age of 58).

John Bonham

Carlos Santana

The Edge

Thelonious Monk

Chet Atkins

Eddie Van Halen

Django Reinhardt 


6 bars is a fairly long space in music.  If it's a solo, who can't you recognize in 6 bars?

Robert Fripp, Keith Moon, Carl Palmer, Frank Zappa, Pat Metheny, Tony Banks, Keith Emerson, Buck Dharma, Jimmy Hendrix, Steve Forbs, Keith Jarrett, ....endless list, as all virtuosos have a specific style, like a voice.

Steve Howe

Jef Beck

Rick Wakeman

Al Di Melos

Miles Davis


Stanley Clarke





I would think someone would've mentioned BB King and even Freddie King both readily distinguishable. 

How the heck did you arrive on 6 bars? 6 bars? That's and odd marker.

Some guitar players are distinguishable in less than 10 notes? All in the tone/phrasing.

Jazz--Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Barney Kessel

Blues-The 3 Kings, T-Bone Walker, Buddy Guy

The usual Rock suspects have been mentioned.



World-John Mclaughlin

I like the idea of using six bars to make an assessment of who the performer might be. You're not just hearing the head riff. You're getting a glimpse of the second, as well.

After six bars I can't even think of my name, let alone my designated driver.

Here is a partial list.


Allan Holdsworth

Al Demeola

John McLaughlin

Steve Howe

Steve Hackett


Keith Emerson

Chic Corea

Keith Jarrett

Cecil Taylor



Percy Jones


Stanley Clarke

Chris Squire


Bill Brufird

Furio Chirico

Virgil Donati

Jack Dejohnette



Steve Coleman

Ornette Coleman (no relation)


Jean Luc Ponty

Didier Lockwood

Andrea Calderon

L. Subramanian