The capo is to guitars what sugar — or Stevia, if you prefer — is to food. It makes everything sweeter. Musicians started noticing the capo's inherent song-sweetening properties sometime in the early 17th century, when primitive versions of the handy accessory were employed to raise the pitch of a host of fretted instruments.
For today's column and video (like last week's), I grabbed my ugly grey shirt and my Gibson Music City Jr. with B-Bender (a limited-edition guitar Gibson issued in 2013), to play a Clarence White-inspired country lick in A. As an electric guitarist, White built the bridge between country and rock in the late Sixties.
On September 6, 1968 — at the behest of George Harrison — guitarist Eric Clapton entered Abbey Road Studio Two in London to overdub lead guitar onto a brand-new Beatles song called "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
There was a time when the name Eric Clapton meant one thing and one thing only: guitar god. His incendiary six-string exploits with the Yardbirds, followed by a pair of mind-blowing 1966 albums—Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton and Fresh Cream—briefly put the passionate young Clapton atop the U.K.’s, if not the world’s, guitar hierarchy.
Some more incredibly rare video of the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan in action has suddenly become available on YouTube. Below, watch Buddy Guy jamming with Vaughan on July 30, 1989, at Buddy Guy's Chicago club, Legends. The event? Buddy Guy's 53rd birthday party!
For the uninitiated, a B-bender is a contraption (the perfect word for it) that lives in- or outside your guitar and allows you to pull—usually with some sort of arm, palm, shoulder or hip movement—your guitar's B string up a perfect whole step. So, a B note would suddenly become a C# (or a C, if you don't bend the string all the way).
Below, check out a — let's face it — crappy-quality video of the Fabulous Thunderbirds performing "The Crawl" in what I call the good ol' days of Texas rock and blues (1984), with Jimmie's big brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan, sitting in.
It seems like only yesterday that the Fabulous Thunderbirds, an upstart rocking-blues band from Austin, Texas, released their debut album, Girls Go Wild. It was, in fact, more than three decades ago. Since that time, Jimmie Vaughan, the T-birds’ founder and guitarist from 1976 to 1989, has gone from being a skinny kid with a Strat and a perm to one of today’s elder statesmen of the blues.
Some of you might remember an ad that appeared in guitar magazines in the late '80s or early '90s. It showed a photo of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Hearts Club Band LP propped up against a shiny new four-track recorder (possibly a Tascam, but who knows at this point?). The slogan above the photo was something along the lines of "A Couple of Four-Track Masterpieces."