Gene Leis (April 19, 1920 – March 15, 1993) was an American jazz guitarist, teacher, bandleader, composer, producer and entrepreneur. Known primarily for his influential publications and recorded guitar courses in the 1960s, Gene was also a popular performer and a mentor to a large number of musicians through his teaching studios in Manhattan Beach, California.
Gene was born into a musical family in Sedgwick, Kansas, just outside Witchita. His parents had a family band and played at local dances, weddings and other events. At 9, Gene joined the family group on mandolin, an instrument whose neck was small enough for him to play comfortably. In his early teens he took up tenor guitar and began playing with other small groups. His father wanted him to play cello, and Gene negotiated a series of banjo lessons in exchange.
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