Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy was born George Guy in Letsworth, Louisiana, on the 30th of July, 1936.

Like so many other blues greats, Buddy learned the basics of guitar playing from a home made 2 strings diddley bow, he later graduated to an acoustic guitar his Father bought him for $2.

It wasn’t until Buddy saw a performance of Guitar Slim that he became infatuated with the electric guitar. Buddy began his musical career performing in groups in and around Baton Rouge.

In 1957 Buddy relocated to Chicago where he worked as a session guitarist for Chess Records, During this time he played guitar for such blues artists as Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Koko Taylor and Little Walter.

Though Buddy enjoyed success as a session guitarist, Leonard Chess founder of Chess records refused to record Buddy as a solo artists, dismissing his wild and charismatic music and guitar playing as “noise”. Leonard unsuccessfully attempted to debut Buddy with novelty dance tracks and R&B ballads, with none of these attempts resulting in a single.

In 1967 Buddy finally debuted with his only Chess album “Left My Blues In San Fransisco”, with it’s wild blues guitar playing and energetic vocals, Buddy’s first album began to gain him attention as a prominent blues guitar figure.

A year later in 1968 he released “A Man and The Blues” which caused a stir in both the guitar playing and blues worlds, further solidifying Buddy as a powerful blues force and formidable guitarist.

Techniques And Musical Concepts They Popularised

Buddy Guy has been cited as one of the primary blues pioneers to have successfully breeched the gap between blues and rock music.

Buddy’s guitar solo’s where renowned for their length, power, and shifts in dynamics and volume. His rapid hammer-on’s and pull-off’s and other aggressive guitar playing techniques set the universal standard for the rock guitar playing to follow.

Buddy was also an early pioneer of distortion and the deliberate use of feedback, inspiring guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

One of Buddy’s stand out signature techniques was his extravagant use of string bending, Buddy would often bend and release notes up to 3 whole tones during solo’s.

Notable Rock Guitar Players They Influenced

After seeing Buddy perform live in 1965, Eric Clapton became inspired to form the blues rock power trio “Cream”.

Eric was quoted as saying “Buddy guy was to me what Elvis was to others.” Eric also said “Buddy Guy is by far and without a doubt the best guitar player alive.”

Another iconic rock guitarists who was profoundly influenced by Buddy Guy was Jimi Hendrix. Jimi integrated so many signature Buddy Guy guitar playing concepts into his own style, as well as a certain amount of Buddy’s flamboyant dress and charismatic stage presence that during the late 1960’s audiences often assumed that Buddy Guy was copying Jimi Hendrix, when in reality it was the other way around.

Jeff beck was another rock guitar icon who was captivated by Buddy’s guitar playing skills and showmanship. Jeff likened Buddy’s performances to some kind of  blues rock “drama theatre”.

Jimmy Page was also a Buddy Guy devotee describing Buddy as a “Guitar Monster” citing Buddy’s live performances on the American Folk Festival Of The Blues album as inspirational guitar playing. Slash once cited Buddy Guy’s guitar playing as an undeniable precursor to hardcore rock and roll.

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