Guitar Techniques - - Contents - Neville Marten, Edi­tor

Nev talks about the in­flu­ence of Fred­die King.

Of the three blues Kings it seems to me that Fred­die comes off worst when it comes to the rev­er­ence in which the trio of leg­ends is held. BB is of course the sweet-toned man of taste and mu­si­cal re­fine­ment, while Al­bert is loved for his raw­ness and a seem­ing link di­rectly to ‘the source’, what­ever that source is. But I think Fred­die is rather too of­ten over­looked as the ‘one in the mid­dle’.

In re­al­ity his in­flu­ence is prob­a­bly the most wide reach­ing. Yes, you can hear a touch of BB in a ton of people’s play­ing, and Al­bert looms large as an in­flu­ence in cer­tain gui­tarists’ styles; but it’s dif­fi­cult to find any­one who came af­ter Fred­die that doesn’t owe him a debt of sorts.

In a way, Fred­die took the T-Bone Walker tem­plate, the ‘shape’ sys­tem, ramped it up a few notches, added his own brand of show­man­ship and his own amaz­ing song­writ­ing skills, and be­came the per­fect all-round blues ma­chine.

And let’s not for­get that voice! Check out a few slow Fred­die songs and see if you can spot where a cer­tain Ri­p­ley boy got his ‘rasp’. And lis­ten to the orig­i­nal of this month’s tran­scrip­tion: could that not be Peter Green singing - and play­ing? Add Greeny’s out-of-phase honk and the licks are a pretty good match. Pile on ex­tra guts and spite and it’s Blues­break­ers Clap­ton again.

But have a lis­ten to Ste­vie Ray Vaughan or Johnny Win­ter, and you’ll also hear big chunks of Fred­die’s style com­ing out - even though in Ste­vie’s case he’s not the first King that springs to mind. And when you con­sider how hugely in­flu­en­tial play­ers like Clap­ton, Green and Vaughan were in their turn, it’s fair to say we have a lot to thank Fred­die’s fin­gers for.

Tak­ing Care Of Busi­ness is not the hard­est Fred­die track we could have cho­sen. But it’s him in his more for­ma­tive years and we felt it was a good idea to bring you the essence of this gi­ant of a man and gi­ant of a player. The back­ing track will al­low you fan­tas­tic lee­way to ex­tend Fred­die’s licks, add new ones of your own or per­haps even prac­tice that silky vo­cal style!

Have fun... see you next month.

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