For nearly a decade, Dear Guitar Hero — where everyday fans get a chance to ask their hero a question — has remained one of Guitar World magazine’s most popular departments. Now the best of these interviews with rock’s most inspiring six-string icons are presented here in one volume.
I don’t want to sound arrogant or bigheaded or anything, but I didn’t need any advice. I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t a kid when I started. I had a focus on what I wanted to do. And when I first started playing guitar, I got an immediate reaction just from people and audiences. As soon as [blues-harp player] Sonny Terry and [blues guitarist] “Brownie” McGhee heard me, they took a shine to me immediately. There was no turning back once I started on guitar.
I first began having success picking on a guitar that wasn’t plugged in. I was picking really hard so I could hear it acoustically, and when I plugged into an amp, I was surprised that it didn’t sound very good. I discovered that the way I attack the string really affects the tone. Modifying your picking attack—for clean tone, distortion and playing on an acoustic—makes a huge difference in the sound.
And it made me think immediately of my Les Paul Junior from the  Revenge/Alive III tour. It was one of the most beat-up Les Paul Juniors ever. I got it at Guitars R Us on Sunset Boulevard, and we recorded with it a lot. Gene [Simmons] loved it. Kiss even rented it for [1998’s] Psycho Circus, because they wanted that sound. It had a humbucker in it—a Seymour Duncan JB—but there was just something about the mahogany body.
David knew Graham, and he came to our Crosby & Nash show in London a couple of times and liked our harmonies and our way of going at it, and he asked us to sing on [his 2006 solo album] On An Island. In the process, we got to be pretty close friends. He asked us to sing at his concert in London.
He’s been called the greatest living guitarist by Eric Clapton, he’s played with blues legends like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, and his new double album Rhythm and Blues is a powerhouse set with guest shots by Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Gary Clark Jr., Beth Hart and Keith Urban. But what Guitar World readers really want to know is....