“I could have headed towards blues or shred. I chose blues… Fast-forward to 2020, I decided to become a 12 year-old learning guitar again – I went the other way and got an Ibanez with a Floyd Rose!” Gary Clark Jr. is finally unleashing his inner shredder

Gary Clark Jr.
(Image credit: Mike Miller)

When Gary Clark Jr. greets Total Guitar on Zoom, it’s with a warm smile and a slight sense of amazement. After a quick scan of this writer’s music room, what grabs his attention is an unexpected “blast from the past” – the same electric guitar he cut his teeth on, in the exact same finish, on a guitar rack in the background. 

The rare model in question is a late-’90s Japanese-made Ibanez Blazer in Vintage Sunburst, which is exactly what the Texan brought along to the blues jams that schooled him at the very beginning of his teenage years. These were no ordinary club nights, however, given how Antone’s – the legendary downtown Austin venue –was also where Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan started their careers, and a place that was frequented by many a guitar great. 

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).