Freddie King is among the triumvirate of the greatest and most influential electric blues guitarists ever, revered with equal respect alongside the legendary blues gods B.B King and Albert King. Together, they are often referred to as "The Three Kings"—all complete masters of their craft and essential subjects of study for any inspiring blues guitar enthusiast.
With the growing popularity of rock music in the mid-to-late Sixties, a great many young up-and-coming musicians were inspired—and encouraged—to push the limits of the musical form beyond anything that had come before.
Over the course of the last few columns, we’ve examined both the five-note E major pentatonic (E F# G# B C#) and six-note E major hexatonic (E F# G# A B C#) scales in various positions and patterns/sequences that are formed when traversing up and down individual strings. To review, the intervallic formula for major pentatonic is 1 (root), 2 (major second), 3 (major third), 5 (fifth) and 6 (major sixth), and major hexatonic adds the fourth (4), resulting in a six-note scale, spelled 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Though rarely mentioned in the pantheon of great rock guitarists, Mountain’s Leslie West is unquestionably one of the most influential and original players to emerge from the burgeoning late-Sixties rock scene.
Open tunings have been exploited for use with slide guitar since the earliest days of Delta blues. The most commonly used open tunings for slide are E, D, G and A. There are, of course, others that are utilized, with many distinctive variations, depending on the musician and style of music. This edition of In Deep will focus on open G tuning and how it is used in blues slide-guitar playing.
Sooner or later, guitarists in every genre of music begin to wonder about the modes: what they are, how best to learn them and how to use them effectively when improvising. In this edition of In Deep, we’ll take a look at the theoretical basis for the modes and cover a few useful ways to apply a modal approach to soloing over commonly used chord vamps.
Jimmy Page is regarded as one of rock’s greatest guitarists, bandleaders and producers for the incredibly rich canon of music he created with the mighty Led Zeppelin. But not everything produced by the man was as crushingly heavy as Zep favorites like “Whole Lotta Love,” “Heartbreaker,” “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll.”
When soloing, many guitarists often find themselves being stuck in a musical rut by playing the same old phrases all the time. I have found that a good way to get out of such a rut is to practice improvising while restricting oneself to a specific scale position, especially one that is newly learned, as this can increase the potential to yield new melodic phrasing ideas.
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s distinctive playing style is earmarked by equal parts pure power, intensity of focus, razor-sharp precision and deeply emotional conviction. And then there’s his tone—probably the best Stratocaster-derived sound ever evoked from the instrument.