Django Reinhardt (Wikimedia)

Django Reinhardt (Wikimedia)

Everyone who wants to play the guitar should listen to Django Reinhardt. Some call his style "gypsy guitar" and some call it swing. I just call it Django. He was a European gypsy who played a mostly American style of music and made it his own. The story goes something like this: Reinhardt was born to a musical family in a gypsy caravan and started out as a plectrum banjo player. The caravan caught fire and his left hand was burned leaving his third and fourth fingers paralyzed, but that didn't slow him down much because he was a genius. He got a hold of a guitar and his life changed. He heard some American jazz records and his life changed even more. He became a big star in Paris and kept on gigging right through the Nazi occupation. 

Django Reinhardt made a huge impact on the way we play the guitar. I recommend that you listen to him for a while and meditate on how he could play so fast and so clean with only two usable fingers on his left hand.