Hole Notes: Robert Johnson's Ferocious Guitar Style
The following content is related to the March 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.
Regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Delta blues wizard Robert Johnson recorded only 29 songs (plus 13 alternate takes, in two sessions) during his 27 years of life. They were cut when he wasn’t playing for tips on street corners, in juke joints or in front of barbershops and other commercial establishments.
In his youth, Johnson copped licks directly from Son House, who later in his life vividly recalled how Johnson developed from a bad guitarist to a “master” in just two years. Ike Zinnerman allegedly inspired Johnson to practice guitar in a graveyard at night while perched atop tombstones. These are only a few of the stories that helped cultivate the legend that Johnson earned his chops by making a deal with the devil.
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