Legendary Blues Guitars

8 significant others of famous bluesmen.

Ultimate Guitar
Legendary Blues Guitars

Some people define blues as the expression of pain born out of racial oppression and everyday life. Some say it's a stripped down instrumental arrangements and an off-tune singing. But one thing they agree on: a guitar is an essential “band member“ when it comes to blues. It is always a debatable question who is the lead singer a man or his guitar. Here is a list of eight legendary bluesmen guitars.

Muddy Waters' «Hoss»

Muddy was a Tele man. He loved his 1958 Fender Telecaster as if it was a family member. Its nickname was "Hoss." Originally a blond, it was reprinted and refitted to its current red and white look.

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Buddy Guy's Stratocaster

Buddy Guy's signature guitar is Fender Standard Stratocaster with a Polka Dot Finish. The two legends are practically inseparable.

Here is a video where guitar tech Gilbert Garza talks about and shows off Buddy Guy's equipment and signal chain that's been used on the Living Proof 2011 tour.

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Albert King's «Lucy»

Once Albert King met his «Lucy», the 59 Gibson Flying V, the world has never been the same for him. The mid 60s Gibson Flying V King played extensively after his 59 V had been lost.

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B.B. King's «Luicille»

B.B. Kings partner in crime was named «Lucille». The original Lucille was an inexpensive, small-bodied Gibson L-30 archtop. The singer would go on to play a range of guitars over the ensuing years, attaching the Lucille name to each one. He was particularly drawn to Gibsons of the semi-hollow "ES" (Electric Spanish) variety, such as the ES-335 model that can be heard on his legendary 1965 disc, Live at the Regal. The ES-355 remained B.B.'s instrument of choice until the early Eighties, when he collaborated with Gibson to create his own signature model.

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Lightnin' Hopkins and his «Workhorse»

Lightnin' Hopkins, the king of Texas blues, loved his Gibson J-45. Nicknamed "The Workhorse" and first introduced in 1942, Gibson's most popular round-shoulder dreadnought guitar is known for its full, balanced expression, warm bass, and excellent projection.

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John Lee Hooker's «Boogie Man»

John Lee Hooker choice was an Epiphone Sheraton named «Boogie Man».

With its help Hooker honed the blues into something new – a grinding, hymnal vamp, which he finessed for all it was worth.

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Skip James and Martin

Skip found his unique voice with the help of Martin D-18. This team formed perhaps the most stylistically original blues performer from the Mississippi River Delta region, with his unusual Dm (Crossnote) tuning, haunting falsetto vocals, and an intense, variable marriage of music and text.

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R.L. Burnside's Tele

Burnside began playing guitar at the age of 16. He learned by watching and listening to McDowell. At 21, he began performing at juke joints and house parties with McDowell and another mentor, Ranie Burnette. His first guitar was an old Q-six acoustic guitar. Then he got his first Fender Telecaster and discovered his famous signature guitar-slamming badass sound.

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What is your favorite guitar? Share your “love story” in the comments below.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Uh.... So because you forgot Stevie Ray Vaughan, i will assume you have no idea what you're talking about.
    I though Luicille was one specific guitar, not many of them :s
    When I look at John Lee Hookers hand writing, such as the signature on that guitar, I can understand why he talks the way he does; incredible sound from a fucked up mind. It's like he's got the voice of hell because he's been there.
    The video posted under Albert King is of Buddy Guy and SRV at legends.. nothing to do with Albert or Lucy. That said, I've been searching for a video of that legends performance forever. So that's cool.
    Time to get into the Blues, I guess. Haven't heard of any of these guys except B.B.King...