An intimate look at the jam-band scene’s most iconic instruments.

San Francisco-based photographer Jay Blakesberg has been documenting the growing improvisational rock scene long before the “jam-band” moniker became popular. Blakesberg’s latest book, Guitars That Jam, focuses on a cross-generational group of musicians and the tools that fuel their exploratory solos and wildly interesting collaborations. Admittedly, the “jam” label gets stretched a bit—we’re looking at you Satriani—but the stalwarts are well represented with insights from Phish’s Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon, the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, and members of moe., String Cheese Incident, Widespread Panic, and the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Rarely does a photographer have the ability and access to capture how a scene evolves more than Blakesberg. His images have graced countless magazine covers and albums while offering a unique perspective that fans don’t often see. For more than 30 years he has captured the essence of improvisational music. In this exclusive excerpt, we take a look at five artists that live comfortable within the community but also do what they can to expand it.—Jason Shadrick

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