Studio Guitar


With a faculty of world-class touring and recording guitarists, the USC Thornton Studio Guitar program is considered one of the finest guitar graduate programs in the world. The program offers Master of Music (MM) and Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degrees, as well as a Graduate Certificate (GCRT) in Studio Guitar.

The innovative and groundbreaking program offers strongly emphasizes jazz and popular music skills and techniques, while providing a foundation in classical training. Alumni include performing and recording artists, top touring sidemen with major recording artists, studio musicians, composers for film, television, and other media, e-learning consultants and curriculum designers, authors, classical ensembles, music supervisors, and world-renowned teachers and professors of music.

Our alumni have performed and recorded with a diverse array of distinguished artists and ensembles, including John Mayer, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Jason Mraz, John Legend, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Whitney Houston, Pink Floyd, Miley Cyrus, Ben Folds, Eels, Michael Bublé, Ray Charles, Enrique Inglesias, Ricky Martin, and Mark Anthony. Acclaimed alumni include Paul Jackson Jr., Lee Ritenour, Andy Abad, Adam Hawley, Charles Altura, Molly Miller, Matt Greif, Andrew York (of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet), Richard Smith, and Larry Koonse.

Note to Undergraduate Guitarists: USC Thornton offers three different programs for undergraduate guitarists. Please refer to the application requirements for Jazz Studies, Popular Music Performance, and Classical Guitar.

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Portrait of Paul Jackson Jr.

Paul Jackson Jr. highlighted in Mixdown Magazine

June 7, 2021

Popular Music faculty member Paul Jackson Jr. was highlighted by Mixdown Magazine as one of four examples of “what a great session guitarists should aim to be”. The piece highlights Jackson Jr.’s career spanning from the ‘70s until today both live and in the studio, describing his capability to play… read more

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