800px-Fred GuyLOC


Genre: Jazz

Location:  USA

Instruments: jazz banjo player and guitarist.

Date Born:  May 23, 1897

Burkesville, Georgia

Date Died:December 22, 1971(1971-12-22) (aged 74)

Website:  Scott Yanow, Fred Guy at Allmusic

Other Links: See below:


Fred Guy (May 23, 1897, Burkesville, Georgia – Dec. 22, 1971) was an American jazz banjo player and guitarist.

Guy was raised in New York City. He played guitar and banjo with Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra, and in 1925 he joined Duke Ellington’s Washingtonians, replacing Elmer Snowden. Guy played with Ellington for 24 years, including his years at the Cotton Club.

Early on he played only banjo but in the 1930s started playing more and more guitar with the band as the rhythm section in jazz changed rapidly. He played a Gibson banjo and an L5 or L7 Gibson guitar.

On Ellington’s “East St. Louis Toodle-oo” he plays a moving line with chords using inversions and on “Black and Tan Fantasy” he plays backwards fan strokes which are difficult to hear on the recording. He did not solo, and his guitar work is often difficult to hear on record. After he left Ellington’s band in 1949, he was not replaced.

He went on to manage a ballroom in Chicago. He appeared in the 1929 film Black and Tan with the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

LINKS:Scott Yanow, Fred Guy at Allmusic