Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar tone was as dry as a San Antonio summer and as sparkling clean as a Dallas debutante, the product of the natural sound of amps with ample clean headroom. However, Vaughan occasionally used pedals to augment his sound, mainly to boost the signal, although he occasionally employed a rotating speaker cabinet and wah pedals for added textural flair.
During the interview, Vaughan, who is clutching his Number 1 Strat, launches into "Hideaway," an upbeat instrumental blues classic from 1960, demonstrating how Freddie King (who wrote it with Sonny Thompson) and Eric Clapton (who recorded it in 1966) played the song differently.
Even though Metallica's James Hetfield makes it look all too easy, there are countless guitarists who find it challenging to sing while doing anything on the guitar—besides strumming. Some players (myself included) even get bent out of shape when they're asked to provide the simplest of vocal harmonies while playing basic to semi-challenging riffs.
For guitarists accustomed to channel switching and distortion pedals, the thought of being forced to plug straight into a clean amp can be a nightmare. But the big, bad guitar sounds of classic blues are all “straight in,” so how do players turn this apparent handicap to an advantage? The secret is to attack.
It’s definitely true that Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of my all-time favorite guitarists. Ironically, I was never really into Stevie while he was alive. Then, shortly after he died, I got hold of a video of him playing a live show and was just totally blown away by his timing, his tone, his feel, his vibrato, his phrasing — everything. Some people are just born to play guitar, and Stevie was definitely one of them.
An Independence Day parade of solo-guitar versions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Slash, Steve Vai, Dave Mustaine, Zakk Wylde, Eric Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ted Nugent and—of course—Jimi Hendrix.
Dixon, who—as we've implied above—was born July 1, 1915, was primarily a bassist and singer, but a bassist and singer who happened to write hundreds of incredible, often dark and eerie songs, several of which found their way in the catalogs of the biggest artists of the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and beyond.
For this week's flashback video, we head to Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1984. That's where — and when — Jeff Beck joined Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble on stage to play an impressive mini-set that included "Jeff's Boogie," a 1966 instrumental from the Yardbirds' Roger the Engineer album.
Sure, there are scores of stellar live versions of Stevie Ray Vaughan's version of "Texas Flood" online, but there's simply something magical about this raw performance from July 17, 1982, at the Montreux Jazz and International Music Festival. The extended, dynamics-filled rollercoaster ride finds SRV reaching into his bag of King-meets-Hendrix Licks—not mention behind his back, where his Strat rested for the final third of the song.