The Wolf Marshall Legacy

By Andrew Catania

Wolf Marshall, one of the best guitar players, educators and note-by-note transcribers that exist! With more than 30 years of experience as a pedagogue, Wolf has been establishing himself as a teacher that puts in their students’ hands unlimited resources to learn different musical styles from different eras. From jazz to early rock and roll, from psychedelic to pop, from country music to heavy metal shred guitar.  Wolf just covered all the subjects!

Wolf’s labor as a teacher is appreciated through his books, audio and video footage that has been around since the 1980s, when he worked with many renowned guitar companies such as Star Licks, Cherry Lane, Music Sales, with whom he released many memorable guitar lessons:  analyzing different styles of playing and teaching licks that set the foundations for new lead guitar players out there. The way in which he introduced all this information through accessible home media was a significant innovation by that time, creating the basis for business and education model that remains relevant to this date.


He is also an avid collaborator with the best guitar magazines on the market, such as Guitar World, for which he wrote great articles and columns. He also worked with Guitar Edge, Jazz Improv, and Vintage Guitar, for which he has been writing a regular column titled “Fretprints” for the past eleven years. Wolf Marshall’s approach to guitar teaching has maintained relevant to this day because of the particular emphasis he does on creating a smooth learning curve in all of his tutorials; This is especially important because of the wide variety of guitar players that become interested in Wolf’s material, filling their needs with each new release, regardless of the subject or the player’s level.

Wolf Marshall has been releasing an excellent quality material in various categories. He is widely known for his Guitar Signature Licks series, which contains more than 40 titles and covers more than 40 years of guitar playing! He goes deep into the style of great artists like George Benson, Pat Martino, Charlie Christian, Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson, Albert King, Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck, The Beatles, Queen, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and many other relevant artists and bands of rock and roll history! Wolf shows his mastery over such diverse guitar styles and eras, proving himself an accomplished player, and he is also able to present this information in a way you can use.


The purpose of this long ongoing series is to introduce you to the particularities of each performer regarding technique, expression, musical sense and theoretical background. He intends you to learn your favorite songs from your favorite artists at the same time you can incorporate this information into your guitar playing – because as an aspiring guitar player you will develop your voice thanks to a combination of influences and creativity. This series has been released in a book + cd format, so you can read the transcription and use the record as a reference to the music you are listening; this will also help you to understand how music notation works and to easily spot the notes on the fretboard. This format was replicated and revised through the years by many other publishers who wished to emulate Wolf’s educational success and influence.

Through Hal Leonard, he published The Wolf Marshall Guitar Method in the early 1990’s, which summarizes his experiences as a guitar teacher and takes his approach to a whole new level. He takes you through the basic, intermediate and advanced levels of technique, providing you a step-by-step learning experience. The impact this method has can be seen today as many guitar teachers out there use it with their students, because it centers on learning rock guitar in an accessible way: open position power chords, basic riffs and rock rhythms, chord progressions and lead guitar playing are the components of this series, carefully crafted to meet the expectations and needs of performers and teachers.

Wolf Marshall method of teaching and performance is still relevant today. His approach to guitar instruction has cleared the path for many other instructors that successfully emulated this process. When he gets to explain his material, you can see a concerned artist that is speaking to another artist, and he puts all of himself to present the information in the clearest way possible. This effort has not gone unnoticed, as you can imagine! Wolf has been working in the Jazz Department of the UCLA since 2007, where he teaches jazz improvisation and guitar master classes in the ethnomusicology section of the university.


But Wolf goes beyond the teaching field! As you can expect from such a great guitar instructor, he is also a high-level performer. During the last years he has been a very busy jazz guitar player: in his YouTube channel, you will find any number of great jazz standards and improvisations with his Wolf Marshall Trio and Wolf Marshall Quartet, classic jazz combos with which he tours many venues to delight people with his engaging performances. Stella By Starlight, Sleepwalk, Wave, Misty, Girl From Ipanema and many other jazz classics performed by the talented Wolf Marshall, all available for us to watch and learn from, and you can see the passion going through his phrasing!

Wolf Marshall legacy to all guitar players is undeniable; you just have to check out the Amazon reviews his books, audio, and video catalogue are receiving; the comments that he receives in each of his YouTube performances…all from happy guitarists grateful to the man who taught them a lot. We are talking about more than two generations of great lessons and useful tips and advice! All of them making us better guitar players! For this reason, we say a big thank you and wish all the best to Wolf Marshall!


One thought on “The Wolf Marshall Legacy

  1. Great article……Had the pleasure of finally meeting Wolf at a PRS Guitars event a few years ago and he was very cool….Got him to sign a Starlicks Booklet from the past which was a score all to itself…..Doug Marks and Wolf are one of the pioneers for creating Guitar Tablature….

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