Blues Lead Guitar

The preferred Blues Lead Guitar has been dominated by four main brands.

Before electric guitars, blues lead and rhythm was played on acoustic guitars. A popular brand was the Stella brand.

More popular however were C.F. Martin guitars.

Particularly the Martin D-18, D-28, OO-18 and OO-21 models.

The Martin Guitars users included blues giants like Big Bill Broonzy, Blind Gary Davis, Missippi John Hurt, Skip James, Leadbelly, Brownie McGhee, Muddy Waters and Josh White.

Epiphone were also a popular guitar brand.  John Lee Hooker popularised this brand among the blues guitar players.

Epiphone were later brought by Gibson Guitars.

Gibson guitars have been represented best by B. B. King and Albert King.  B. B. popularised the Gibson 335 model while Albert was synonymous with the Flying V.

Duane Allman made his Slide Guitar name on a Gibson Les Paul.

The character of Epiphone and Gibson guitars lies in their humbucking pickups.  

In simple terms, humbuckers have two layers of magnetic coil around pick up poles. This results in a "fat" sound.

By contrast Fender guitars favor single coil pickups.  This results in a "thin" sound.

The "thin" sound is favoured by many blues players.

The Fender Telecaster is a popular guitar among blues players.

High profile users include Muddy Waters, Roy Buchanan and Albert Collins.

The most popular Fender blues guitar is the Fender Stratocaster (or Fender Strat).

Images of Jimi Hendrix playing his Fender Stratocaster through his Marshall stack have imprinted the image of the Strat---as the blues axe---on generations of guitar players.

The Strat is also identified with Stevie Ray Vaughn, Buddy Guy and Robert Cray.

The highest profile Stratocaster player is Eric Clapton.  

The Eric Clapton Stratocaster was the first signature guitar ever released by Fender guitars.  Fender later released the Eric Clapton Crossroads Signature Stratocaster.

It would not be right to leave you with the idea that blues guitarists were single brand guitar players.

During his Cream days Clapton played a range of Gibson guitars: the SG, ES-335 andLes Paul Standard for example.  And he built the Cream sound around humbucking pickups.

Hendrix also played Gibson guitars.

David Gilmour of Pink Floyd was known as a Strat player. But his great blues guitar solo on the "Just Another Brick in the Wall' track was recorded on a Gibson Les Paul.

The Ibanez Artist was seen as an alternative to the Gibson ES-335. This Ibanez guitar  began showing up in the hands of jazz and blues players, most notably John Scofield.

The bass most preferred by blues bands was the Fender bass.  The Fender Precision bass to be exact.  

Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience is a prominent Fender bassist.  

It is likely to be the first choice of unknown bass players in unknown blues bands the world over. 

Wikipedia can provide you with highly detailed information about these Blues Guitar brands.

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So what guitar should the Blue Lead Guitar beginner play?

The simple answer is:  whatever you can afford and whatever you like.

Even though the Blues guitar stars use these amazing guitars you can bet they didn't start on quality guitars. They started on budget guitars.

As their playing improves, they upgrade.

There are many serviceable  strat, tele and Les Paul copies on the market to get you started.

I play a Tokai Gold Star Sound Strat that I purchased or $225 in 1981. 

Which I still have in 2009.

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Meanwhile, back to you.

Whatever guitar you start with you will learn more about the blues.

You will learn more about electric blues too.

More lead guitar tips will be provided also.

And you will dip even further into rhythm blues as well as deeping your rhythm confidence.

 

 
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