Patrick Bruce "Pat" Metheny (born August 12, 1954) is an American jazz guitarist and composer.
He is the leader of the Pat Metheny Group and is also involved in duets, solo works and other side projects. His style incorporates elements of progressive and contemporary jazz, post-bop, Latin jazz and jazz fusion. Metheny has three gold albums and 20 Grammy Awards. He is the brother of jazz flugelhornist and journalist Mike Metheny.
Continuing the tradition of jazz guitarists borrowing tones and techniques from their rock counterparts, Metheny has made his own additions to the jazz guitar tone palette.
Metheny's tone, which has evolved over the years, involves using the natural full-frequency response of his hollow-body guitar, combined with high-midrange settings on his amplifier to create a smooth, sustaining lead sound that is virtually devoid of piercing treble yet is able to cut through a dense mix. By using digital signal processing that involves digital delay/chorus and reverb, he has created a big, rich, and resonant instrumental voice.
Metheny was an early proponent of the twelve-string guitar in jazz. During his 1975 tour with the Gary Burton "Quartet" (five people, including Metheny), he primarily played electric 12-string guitar against the 6-string work of resident guitarist Mick Goodrick.
Prior to Metheny, Pat Martino had used the electric twelve-string guitar on a studio album, Desperado, and John McLaughlin had used a double-neck electric guitar with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Ralph Towner was perhaps the first to use acoustic 12-string guitar extensively in Jazz ("The Moors", from Weather Report's I Sing the Body Electric, Columbia, 1972), and Larry Coryell and Philip Catherine made extensive use of acoustic twelve string in alternate tunings at the 1975 Montreux Jazz Festival, later releasing some of the material on their 1976 Twin House album. Metheny used 12-string guitar on his debut album, Bright Size Life (1977), including alternate tuning on "Sirabhorn", and on later albums ("San Lorenzo, from Pat Metheny Group and Travels).
Metheny was also one of the first jazz guitarists to make heavy use of the Roland GR-300 Guitar Synthesizer. While John Abercrombie and Bill Frisell also used Roland guitar synthesizers heavily in the 1980s, Metheny is the only one of the three who still uses the instrument regularly. Unlike many guitar synthesizer users, Metheny limits himself to a very small number of sounds. In interviews, he has argued that each of the timbres achievable through guitar synthesis should be treated as a separate instrument, and that he has tried to master each of these "instruments" instead of using the synthesizer for incidental color. One of the "patches" that he has often used is on Roland's JV-80 "Vintage Synth" expansion card, entitled titled "Pat's GR-300". Metheny was also heavily into the Synclavier Digital Audio Workstation made by New England Digital and brought it out on tour starting in the early 1980s.
42-string Pikasso guitar
Metheny plays a custom-made Pikasso I created by Canadian luthier Linda Manzer on "Into the Dream" and on the albums Quartet, Imaginary Day, Jim Hall & Pat Metheny, Trio→Live, and the Speaking of Now Live and Imaginary Day DVDs. Metheny has also used the guitar in his guest appearances on other artists' albums.
Manzer has also made many acoustic guitars for Metheny, including a mini guitar, an acoustic sitar guitar, and the baritone guitar, which Metheny used for the recording of One Quiet Night. He also used the Pikasso on Metheny Mehldau Quartet, his second collaboration with pianist Mehldau and his trio sidemen Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard; the Pikasso is featured on Metheny's composition "The Sound of Water".