Guitar Heroes

jennifer batten

One of the most iconic and celebrated guitarists of all time, Jennifer Batten famously played as Michael Jackson’s guitarist for multiple world tours as well as Jeff Beck. We take a look at her musical upbringing, gear used, and her unique playing style.

Posted: 13th July 2021

History

Born in 1957, Jennifer Batten got an electric guitar at age 8 after an obsession with The Beatles led her to music. Growing up she was never far away from music; her father would regularly listen to jazz records and her mother played piano. Batten then began guitar lessons before joining GIT Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles.

After graduating she began teaching and playing in a covers band in San Diego before eventually returning to Los Angeles and gigging alongside teaching. Whilst there a member of Michael Jackson’s team asked the Musician’s Institute for guitarists to audition, and Jennifer Batten was one of those who were asked. This led Batten to performing with Michael on his Bad, Dangerous and HIStory world tours, spanning from 1987-1997. She also performed as part of his 1993 Superbowl Halftime Performance that was aired to over 1.3 billion people, making it the largest audience in television history.

Image credits: Sam Emerson

During that period Batten also released two instrumental albums ‘Above Below and Beyond’ and ‘Jennifer Batten’s Tribal Rage: Momentum’. Batten then began working with Jeff Beck, appearing on his albums ‘Who Else’ and ‘You Had It Coming’. Batten then joined Jeff Beck’s touring band for three years from 1999.

Following an illustrious touring career through the eighties and nineties Batten has also released multiple music books, DVDs and hosted countless clinic tours teaching her playing style and insights through the years.

Gear Used

When touring with Michael, Jennifer Batten used various Ibanez guitars before settling with Washburn guitars (Primarily her signature JB100 and more recently the Washburn Parallaxe with Fishman Fluence pickups). Alongside this she mostly used Mesa Boogie Mark III and Strategy 400 Amps, with various reverbs, delays and other effects in a rack unit.

Fast forward to today and Jennifer uses a very portable rig, including a BluGuitar Amp1 and a Line 6 HX Stomp XL for effects. Batten also uses a Fishman Tripleplay wireless midi guitar system which allows for very out-of-the-box sounds along with her signature Batten String Damper. This provides quick release string dampening to remove unwanted noise and is used for tapping and solos. 

Playing Style

Jennifer Batten is an incredibly gifted player who has spent countless hours touring, teaching and learning throughout her career. Her style incorporates rock, world beat, jazz and metal influences, but one of her most standout skills is her two-handed tapping technique, which was adopted from her Musicians Institute classmate, Steve Lynch.

Batten further explores her tapping skill in her book ‘Two Hand Rock’. Batten studied with Jazz guitarist Joe Diorio for many years and learnt intervallic techniques before adopting her own style and releasing them in her TrueFire.com video course ’50 Intervallic Licks’.

Batten also launched a monthly live interactive Guitar symposium taught by 4-6 world class instructors, offering a huge variety of modules on techniques, styles, and career insights. Find out more at www.guitarcloudsymposium.com