BLUES

Ro­nan McCul­lagh takes over this month and be­gins with a look at Jim­mie Vaughan’s style.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS - IT’s A pROCEss, BuT ThE GREAT ThING Is, YOu CAN wORK ON IT EVERY DAY Jim­mie Vaughan

Born in Dal­las County, Texas, Jim­mie Vaughan be­gan play­ing guitar as a child. In­spired by the sounds of AM ra­dio, Vaughan’s young life re­volved around learn­ing the mu­sic of Jimmy Reed, Johnny ‘Guitar’ Wat­son, BB King, and Fred­die King among others. When Vaughan left Dal­las at age 19 and moved to Austin his ca­reer started to take shape with his own out­fit The Storm, which sup­ported many tour­ing blues mu­si­cians.

It was in Austin that Jim­mie Vaughan would meet Kim Wil­son, a vo­cal­ist and har­mon­ica player. To­gether they formed The Fab­u­lous Thun­der­birds along with drum­mer Mike Buck and bassist Keith Fer­gu­son. After a rea­son­ably short and dis­ap­point­ing spell with Chrysalis records the band was dropped in 1982 but later resur­faced in 1986, with Epic/ As­so­ci­ated re­leas­ing the hit al­bum Tuff Enuff, which sold over a mil­lion copies.

Un­for­tu­nately, The Fab­u­lous Thun­der­birds strug­gled to achieve that kind of suc­cess again and in 1989 a frus­trated Vaughan left the band putting it down to a dis­agree­ment of mu­si­cal di­rec­tion. Pur­su­ing a fruit­ful solo ca­reer Vaughan has five fan­tas­tic solo al­bums un­der his belt and, what is no doubt a per­sonal treasure for him, the duet al­bum Fam­ily Style, which Jim­mie recorded with his late younger brother Ste­vie.

This month’s stud­ies are in­spired by two stages in Vaughan’s ca­reer. The more ‘pow­er­ful’ over­driven vo­cab of The Fab­u­lous Thun­der­birds along with the more tra­di­tional style of his later work that can be found on the likes of Do You Get The blues?.

The capo is Jim­mie’s tool of choice as it al­lows him to use those open strings in his lines. He is also no stranger to dropped or open tun­ings, which gives us a dif­fer­ent feel and flavour to the guitar that we just don’t get in stan­dard tun­ing. Jim­mie also favours the back end of the beat es­pe­cially in his rhythm style, which is ob­vi­ously a huge nod to one of his first in­flu­ences: Jimmy Reed. Fi­nally, al­though this is not on this month’s ex­am­ples, when record­ing Jim­mie some­times uses his first and sec­ond finger in up­strokes to get a more au­then­tic blues tone, so you might want to try this too. NEXT MONTH Ro­nan dis­cov­ers the dark and fiery play­ing of the leg­endary Muddy Wa­ters

Jim­mie Vaughan with a capo at the first fret on his Stra­to­caster

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