Stevie Ray Vaughan Guitar Methods

author: Mike_Callahan date: 05/29/2006 category: guitar gurus
rating: 7.4 / votes: 43 
Stevie Ray Vaughan had such great range in his playing, anywhere from his signature shuffle style songs (Love Struck Baby, Pride And Joy) to his deep blues songs (Texas Flood, Couldn't Stand The Weather) to his mellow jazz songs (Lenny, Riviera Paradise). All that he plays are great. Stevie Ray Vaughan used a lot of common techniques that we all know about today, and use in our everyday playing, but what makes his style unique is how he used these techniques. I will be explaining the techniques that he uses. NOTE: that Stevie tunes to Eb, Bb, Gb, Db, Ab, Eb, so if you play along to a CD it might sound a little off.

1. Alternate Picking

Stevie Ray Vaughan uses a heavy down stroke on the bass line notes and a soft upstroke that is usually on a chord or muted note. An example of this is in the song Pride And Joy:
E|----0----0-----0-----0-|-----0-----0-----0-2-0-|-0-0--|
B|----0----0-----0-----0-|-----0-----0-----0-2-0-|-0-0--|
G|----1----1-------------|-----------------1-2-1-|-1-1--|
D|-----------------------|--2--------------------|------|
A|------------2-----4----|--------------2--------|------|
E|-0-----3---------------|--------3--------------|------|
As you can see, he alternates between playing single notes and E A D strings, and then a chord.

2. Tremelo Picking.

Stevie Ray Vaughan uses the tremelo picking to add a effect that adds almost another type of instrument to create the mood of the song he is playing. An example of this is in the song Pipeline.
Intro: Tremelo pick while sliding down.
E|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
G|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
D|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|--18\---13\---8\---4\-----------------------------------------------|
E|--19-\--14-\--9-\--5-\----------------------------------------------|

Final Verse:Constant tremelo pick
E|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
G|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
D|--000022220-22-4-22002222444422-44442222002200----------------------|
A|-2---------------------------------------------22-------------------|
E|--------------------------------------------------------------------|

3. Trills.

Stevie Ray Vaughan uses a lot of trills in his more upbeat songs during the verses as a short fill, and most commonly in his solos. An example of this is in the song shake for me.
Main Riff: The trill is at the end.
E|---5-------------5--------5---------------5--5----------------------|
B|---5-------------5-8-10---5---------------5-----5trill8-------------|
G|-/6------------/6-------/6--------------/6--------------------------|
D|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|--------555567------------------555567------------------------------|
E|------88----------------------88------------------------------------|

4. Chords.

Stevie Ray Vaughan uses about every chord imaginable throughout all of his albums, but he is very particular to a few of them. They are:
A9: 
E|----17----| 
B|----14----|
G|----16----|
D|----17--- |
A|----------|
E|----------|

E7:
E|----------|
B|----5---- |
G|----7-----|
D|----6-----|
A|----7-----|
E|----------|

5. Stevie Ray Vaughan's Equipment.

Stevie's #1 guitar was his signature Fender '59 Stratocaster with stock pickups, and a '61 left-handed neck. Most of his guitars had bass frets because he felt that it was easier to get a grip on the strings. He played his strats through Howard Dumble amps, Fender Vibroverbs, and Marshall cabinets, but they veried depending on where he played. I hope this will help you to attempt to be able to play like Stevie Ray Vaughan.
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