Play blues guitar like Freddie King
19th May 2008 | 15:56
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Freddie King started his musical journey encouraged by his mother, who exposed him to the country blues style of Sam 'Lightnin' Hopkins and the jazz saxophone of Louis Jordan. When he moved to Chicago in 1950, he did sessions for El-Bee and Chess Records.
By 1960, he had signed his own deal, resulting in the classics Lonesome Whistle Blues and I'm Tore Down - later covered by Eric Clapton, along with Hideaway.
He successfully rode the wave of 60s guitar instrumentals, switching easily between styles, no doubt the legacy of his own eclectic tastes.
Freddie has been named by many as an influence, including Mick Taylor, Peter Green and Eric Clapton. In fact it was after seeing Freddie holding a goldtop Les Paul on the cover of Let's Hide Away And Dance Away that Clapton was moved to acquire one himself.
Freddie remained an active recording artist until 1974, passing away in 1976.
To get to Freddie's tone, try using the bridge pickup . As is usual with this type of music, avoid going overboard with the overdrive/distortion. Try and imagine you are pushing a small valve combo to its limit instead!
A handy tip for low volumes is to add a little compression to 'squash' the dynamics and give maximum sustain for those vibrato moments.
Remember there were no effects available back then, apart from the most basic spring reverb.
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