#1
I was rearranging my cd collection yesterday and today and at some point it caught my eye and that was the following. Nearly every single blues recording I have has a photo of the artist and in every case but a couple, they are holding a Fender Strat or a Telecaster. Joe Bonamassa being the exception. Anybody have an idea as to why that is. Is that guitar really that superior a blues guitar? Or did all those people do like me and notice everybody else was playing one so they should too? I don't know, certainly not the topic of the day but it was something that struck me as kind of odd. I could name ten blues guitarists that use Fenders and only 1 or 2 that use anything else.
#2
I'm not a close follower of electric blues, but I guess that Fender amps and Fender guitars are a popular combination. However there is plenty of diversity among the older blues players - BB King, Hound Dog Taylor, Albert King, Hubert Sumlin, Johnny Winter, aarly Clapton immediately come to mind. - mostly Gibson.
#3
I don't know how things were back then, but I imagine Strats and Teles were probably among the cheaper professional level instruments around in the early years of electric blues, which might've come into it.
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#4
Not just cheaper, but also earlier. They had a head start in the market.

But, as noted, there are notable blues players who don't gravitate towards Strats & Teles. Gary Clark, Jr is another one- he uses Epiphone semihollows.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

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#5
The single coil sound lends itself well to the blues. Single coil pickups are the traditional pickup of the Tele and Strat. Many Blues Guitar players, such as Gary Clark Jr use guitars featuring P90 pickups which are also single coil pickups.

I have a few Tele's and Strats and they do blues well but the Bluesist toned guitar I have is a Godin featuring Seymore Duncan P90s.
"We all have idols. Play like anyone you care about but try to be yourself while you're doing so." - BB King

"The thrill is being able to do it...even if you play it badly" - The Edge.

8 Guitars, 4 Amps, 3 Multi Pedals...and never done!
Last edited by ppiluk at Jul 4, 2015,
#6
Which Godin, if you don't mind me asking?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#7
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Which Godin, if you don't mind me asking?


Its Godin LG P90. It has a couple of SP90-3s and they are amazing!
"We all have idols. Play like anyone you care about but try to be yourself while you're doing so." - BB King

"The thrill is being able to do it...even if you play it badly" - The Edge.

8 Guitars, 4 Amps, 3 Multi Pedals...and never done!
#8
The Fenders were slightly less expensive at the time the marketing on LPs was upscale for Jazz and Les Paul's stuff. I read Buddy Guy's book and he started with an LP but when it got stolen he moved to a Strat. Really in those days the musicians didn't pay much attention to a guitar's qualities, they simply wanted something they could afford to express themselves on. There's a lesson there somewhere.
Moving on.....
#9
TS,
It's just your collection. Blues players used everything they could get their hands on. Plenty of Les Paul, 335, 175, SG, Flying V, Gretsch, Epiphone, and Guild Blues players out there.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#10
Quote by Sunfist
I was rearranging my cd collection yesterday and today and at some point it caught my eye and that was the following. Nearly every single blues recording I have has a photo of the artist and in every case but a couple, they are holding a Fender Strat or a Telecaster. Joe Bonamassa being the exception. Anybody have an idea as to why that is. Is that guitar really that superior a blues guitar? Or did all those people do like me and notice everybody else was playing one so they should too? I don't know, certainly not the topic of the day but it was something that struck me as kind of odd. I could name ten blues guitarists that use Fenders and only 1 or 2 that use anything else.


BB King, Freddy King and Albert King all used Gibsons or Gibson style guitars. So does Robben Ford and Derek Trucks. After Jimi Hendrix the Strat took over as it was more versatile, was cheaper and still sounded great. Then SRV came along and everyone heard how incredibly huge a strat can sound and it became almost a standard in blues. That being said, there's tons of blues players who use Gibsons or other types of guitars. Right now I find there's a lot of emphasis on old Harmony guitars and other hipster looking guitars from the 60's - see Black Keys, Jack White etc. I'm seeing a lot of those in the hand of younger blues acts now.
#11
Just went to a 4 day blues festival and the most prevalent guitar used was an es 335 style semi hollowbody. Next was probabably the tele followed by the strat. Hardly any lp's
#12
Agree miketar, that is pretty much what I have seen, either a Gibson or Epiphone ES335 or a nice American Stratocaster. I wish I could get both but I can only afford one or the other. My practical brain is saying 335 but my other brain keeps pulling me towards the Strat. I'll mull it over some more. I think the Strat would be more versatile though.
#13
Quote by Sunfist
I was rearranging my cd collection yesterday and today and at some point it caught my eye and that was the following. Nearly every single blues recording I have has a photo of the artist and in every case but a couple, they are holding a Fender Strat or a Telecaster. Joe Bonamassa being the exception. Anybody have an idea as to why that is. Is that guitar really that superior a blues guitar?


Don't go by what you see on album covers or in ads. Some of the greatest blues ever done was actually done in studio on LPs, V's, strats, etc. Clapton is usually seen in performance with an LP, SG (Cream days) or strat, but a huge chunk of his recordings were done with the red 335. I've hauled some of my guitars (and amps) into recording sessions for other people to play, and in a lot of cases their usual guitar sat in the stand for the entire session.

Hendrix, Sumlin and a ton of others played LPs and other HH guitars on recordings, but were photographed with other guitars for albums and ads.

One of the dirty little secret blues guitars (and one that some folks consider the best blues guitar of them all) is the old '70's Gibson L6-S. It was an all maple guitar (body and neck) with the body thickness of an SG. It was Gibson's first 24-fret guitar and had unprecedented upper fret access (it was a single cut). Controls were a master volume, a treble rolloff (what we erroneously call a "tone" knob) and a mids rolloff, plus a six-position pickup selector that offered in and out of phase (both pickups) in both serial and parallel configurations, and one that even had a much-modified neck pickup sound to reduce the bottom end. Those were also Gibson's first-ever "hot" pickups (about 1.5X a standard PAF) and they had no visible pole pieces.
#14
Quote by Sunfist
Agree miketar, that is pretty much what I have seen, either a Gibson or Epiphone ES335 or a nice American Stratocaster. I wish I could get both but I can only afford one or the other. My practical brain is saying 335 but my other brain keeps pulling me towards the Strat. I'll mull it over some more. I think the Strat would be more versatile though.


The most versatile guitars I own (outside of the Variaxes) are Carvin HSH superstrats (DC-145). Neck-through construction (no clunky neck heel), 25" scale, 24-frets (great upper-fret access), ebony fretboards (standard), medium-jumbo stainless frets, 15-16" radius and a master volume, master tone and a five-way (and usually 1-3 miniswitches).

I have 335s, and a Gibson ES-335 was my first guitar (still have it). Excellent choice, but nowhere near as ergonomic or comfortable as a strat-like design with a tummy cut and a forearm contour.

I should note that, having played a literal ton of "nice American Stratocaster" guitars from Fender and other vendors, I've never purchased one.

Most recent purchases have been a pair of JTV-89F Variaxes (superstrat shape, bolt neck, satin poly back-of-neck, 24-fret 16" radius jumbo fret, solid mahogany body, maple neck and Floyd. The piezo pickups in the Floyd allow access to all the Variax electronics that offer a huge guitar-modeling suite and pretty much unlimited alternate tunings, while the two passive fairly hot humbuckers on the guitar provide normal output as well.
#15
Quote by dspellman


Hendrix, Sumlin and a ton of others played LPs and other HH guitars on recordings, but were photographed with other guitars for albums and ads.



Can you point to any actual recordings by Hendrix with a humbucker guitar? He's clearly using a Strat nearly all of the time, but I'd love to hear a track with another guitar.
#16
On another forum, some people who actually saw him play live say "Red House" and "Dolly Dagger" were performed on his Vs or LP, so those are decent candidates to look at.

This site notes his psychedelic V was featured on “All Along The Watchtower”, “Catfish Blues” and “Little Miss Strange”.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jul 8, 2015,