Howard Roberts

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Howard Roberts
Birth name Howard Mancel Roberts
Born (1929-10-02)October 2, 1929
Phoenix, Arizona
United States
Died June 28, 1992(1992-06-28) (aged 62)
Seattle, Washington
United States
Genres Jazz, rock, country
Occupation(s) Session musician, educator
Instruments Guitar
Associated acts Bobby Troup, Chico Hamilton, The Wrecking Crew

Howard Roberts (October 2, 1929 – June 28, 1992) was an American jazz guitarist, educator and session musician.[1]


Roberts was born in Phoenix, Arizona,[2] and began playing guitar at the age of 8. By the time he was 15 he was playing professionally locally.[2]

In 1950 he moved to Los Angeles.[2] There, with the assistance of Jack Marshall, he began working with musicians, arrangers and songwriters including Neal Hefti, Henry Mancini, Bobby Troup, Chico Hamilton, George Van Eps, and Barney Kessel. Around 1956, Bobby Troup signed him to Verve Records as a solo artist. At that time he decided to concentrate on recording, both as a solo artist and 'Wrecking Crew' session musician, a direction he would continue until the early 1970s.

Roberts played rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass, mandolin and known for his heavy use of the Gibson L-5, in the studio and for television and movie projects, including lead guitar on the theme from The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series) The Twilight Zone, as well as the acoustic and electric guitar themes in The Munsters, Bonanza, The Brady Bunch, Green Acres, Get Smart, Batman, Beverly Hillbillies, Andy Griffith, Peter Gunn, Johnny Quest, Gidget, Mannix, Lost in Space, Dragnet, Wild Wild West, Mission Impossible, The Odd Couple, "Dick Van Dyke", 'I Dream of Jeannie and the theme for the film classic Bullitt.

Artists Roberts backed include Georgie Auld, Peggy Lee (on "Fever"), Eddie Cochran ("Sittin' in the Balcony"), Bobby Day ("Rockin Robin"), Jody Reynolds ("Endless Sleep"), Shelley Fabares ("Johnny Angel"), Dean Martin ("Houston"), the Monkees, Roy Clark, Chet Atkins, and the Electric Prunes.

In 1961, Roberts designed a signature guitar which was originally produced by Epiphone. The guitar was a modified Gibson ES-175 (Epiphone is owned by Gibson and during this period Epiphone guitars were manufactured in the same factory as Gibson guitars in Kalamazoo, Michigan), with a round sound hole and a single pickup. A redesigned version was later produced by Gibson.[3] The Howard Roberts signature was borne by two other models made by Gibson: the Howard Roberts Custom and the Howard Roberts Fusion III.[4]

In 1963, Roberts recorded Color Him Funky and H.R. Is A Dirty Guitar Player, his first two albums after signing with Capitol. Produced by Jack Marshall, they both feature the same quartet with Roberts (guitar), Chuck Berghofer (bass), Earl Palmer (drums) and Paul Bryant alternating with Burkley Kendrix on organ. Both albums were released on a single CD under the title Dirty & Funky on Randy Bachman's label Guitarchives in 1998.[5] In all, he recorded nine albums with Capitol before signing with ABC Records/Impulse! Records.

As a member of the 'Wrecking Crew', Roberts was a part of Phil Spector's 'Wall of Sound', playing guitar on some of the most famous songs in Pop Music history.

From the late 1960s, Roberts began to focus on teaching rather than recording. He traveled around the country giving guitar seminars, and wrote several instructional books. For some years he also wrote an acclaimed column called "Jazz Improvisation" for Guitar Player magazine. Roberts developed accelerated learning concepts and techniques, which led to the founding of Playback Music Publishing and the Guitar Institute of Technology. As a co-founder of GIT, now known as the Musicians Institute, Roberts' philosophy remains an integral part of the curriculum.

Roberts died of prostate cancer in Seattle, Washington on June 28, 1992. His wife Patty, also active in musical education, continued in this field after his death.[6]

Howard inspired the opening of Roberts Music Institute in Seattle, Washington, which is currently owned by his son, Jay Roberts.


As leader

  • Mr. Roberts Plays Guitar (19?) Verve UMV 2673 (1981 Polygram) (Japanese Import)
  • The Movin' Man (1956) Verve VSP-29
  • Good Pickin's (1959)
  • Color Him Funky (1963) Capitol ST-1887
  • H.R. is a Dirty Guitar Player (1963) Capitol ST-1961
  • Something's Cookin' (1965) Capitol ST-2214
  • Goodies (1965) Capitol ST-2400
  • Whatever's Fair (1966) Capitol ST-2478
  • All-Time Great Instrumental Hits (1967) Capitol ST-2609
  • Jaunty-Jolly (1967) Capitol ST-2716
  • Guilty! (1967) Capitol ST-2824
  • Out of Sight (But "In" Sound) (1968) Capitol ST-2901
  • Spinning Wheel (1969) Capitol ST-336
  • Antelope Freeway (Impulse!, 1971)
  • Equinox Express Elevator (Impulse!, 1972)
  • Sounds (1974) Capitol ST-11247
  • The Real Howard Roberts (1977)

As sideman

With David Axelrod

With June Christy

With Buddy Collette

With Chico Hamilton

With Milt Jackson

With Hank Jones

With John Klemmer

With Charles Kynard

With Herbie Mann

With Thelonious Monk

With Lalo Schifrin

With Bud Shank and Bob Cooper

With Gábor Szabó

With Bobby Troup

  • Bobby Troup (Capitol, 1953)

With Larry Williams

"With Phil Spector (1957-1969)


  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Roberts, Howard; Stewart, James (1971). The Howard Roberts Guitar Book. Cherry Lane Music. ISBN 978-0899150000.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Roberts, Howard (1972). Howard Roberts Guitar Manual Chord Melody. Cherry Lane Music. ISBN 978-0899150024.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Roberts, Howard; Grebb, Bob (1972). Howard Roberts Guitar Manual: Sight Reading. Playback Music Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0899150031.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Roberts, Howard; Hagberg, Garry L. (1989). The Praxis System Guitar Compendium. Advance Music. ISBN 978-3892210191.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. Yanow, Scott. "Howard Roberts Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 17 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Sallis, James. "Middle Ground: Herb Ellis, Howard Roberts, Jim Hall, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, Tal Farlow." Jazz Guitars: An Anthology. First ed. New York: Quill, 1984. 197-207. Print.
  3. Marshall, Wolf, The Howard Roberts Guitar Sound, retrieved 2012-06-14<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. The Unique Guitar Blog, The Howard Roberts Guitars, retrieved 2012-06-14<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "The Howard Roberts Quartet". Guitarchives. Retrieved 17 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Voce, Steve (2 July 1992). "Obituary: Howard Roberts". The Independent.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Larry Williams: Bad Boy The Legends of Specialty Records, Speciality Records 1989, liner notes


  • Holder, Mitch; Roberts, Patty (2006). The Jazz Guitar Stylings of Howard Roberts. Mel Bay Publications. ISBN 978-0786674091.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links