Muddy Waters is a blues guitar icon who pioneered the sound of electric guitar in popular music – and invented a new soloing language as he did it

Muddy Waters with his iconic red Fender Telecaster
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

There are few figures in blues history as notable as Muddy Waters. Born McKinley Morganfield in 1913, Muddy was cetral to the evolution of the genre, from its beginnings as the folk music of the southern states to the electrified Chicago sound that served as a bedrock for all later guitar-based music. 

Like many early blues artists, Muddy’s musical education came from church. Singing in Sunday service and emulating local musicians gave him a rich education and deep connection to the country-blues tradition. 

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David Gerrish

David is a guitarist, producer, and educator. He has performed worldwide as a session musician, with artists and bands spanning many musical genres. He draws upon over 20 years of experience in both live performance and studio work, as well as numerous composing credits. As a producer, he's collaborated with artists across genres, including pop, RnB, and neo soul. David holds a master’s in jazz guitar and teaches at BIMM London and the London College of Music. He is also a regular contributor to Guitar Techniques magazine, sharing his love of blues in a monthly column.