Ry Cooder

Ryland Peter Cooder (born March 15, 1947) is an American musician, songwriter, film score composer and record producer. He is a multi-instrumentalist but is best known for his slide guitar work, his interest in roots music from the United States, and his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries.


Ry Cooder mainly uses open G and D Tunings for his slide guitar and incredible fingerpicking guitar work. 

Cooder’s solo work draws upon many genres. He has played with John Lee Hooker, Captain Beefheart, Gordon Lightfoot, Ali Farka Touré, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, Linda Ronstadt, David Lindley, The Chieftains, The Doobie Brothers, and Carla Olson & the Textones (on record and film). He formed the band Little Village. He also produced the Buena Vista Social Club album (1997), which became a worldwide hit. Wim Wenders directed the documentary film of the same name (1999), which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000.

Cooder was ranked eighth on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2003 list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” (David Fricke’s Picks). A 2010 ranking by Gibson placed him at number 32.

Cooder was born in Los Angeles, California, to father Bill Cooder and Italian-American mother Emma Casaroli. He grew up in Santa Monica, California, and graduated from Santa Monica High School in 1964. During the 1960s, he briefly attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He began playing the guitar when he was three years old. He has had a glass eye since he was four, when he accidentally stuck a knife in his left eye.

How To Play Guitar Like Ry Cooder



The Unbroken Circle : Biography

Tradition and Innovation in the Music of Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal (American Folk Music and Musicians Series) American folk musicians. Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal, once musical partners, have had careers which are at once conservative and innovative, imbuing the best of folk traditions with their own powerful style. In The Unbroken Circle, Fred Metting challenges the musical labels that often bind artists as he explores the inspirational sources behind these two men.