The Turn­around: Muddy Wa­ters & Jimmy Rogers

Take a look at the styles of two fa­mously as­so­ci­ated blues­men, with a handful of ideas for each, plus two back­ing tracks to jam over

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS -

There aren’t many big­ger names in blues than Muddy Wa­ters – writer of all-time clas­sics such as Man­nish Boy, Hoochie Coochie Man and Got My Mojo Work­ing, and a ma­jor in­flu­ence to a gen­er­a­tion of later gui­tarists. His sharp, min­i­mal­ist Fender Tele­caster play­ing was sup­ple­mented by a num­ber of gui­tarist band­mates through­out his ca­reer, most no­tably Jimmy Rogers, who played most of the main gui­tars on Muddy’s early ma­te­rial and penned blues sta­ples such as Walk­ing By My­self.

Jimmy came more from the Gib­son school of thought, play­ing a va­ri­ety of hol­low or semi-hol­low in­stru­ments. Both gui­tarists favoured a clean, but lively sound – the re­sult of crank­ing a valve amp to near the dis­tor­tion thresh­old, but not over the edge into full-on break up. If you have ac­cess to a low-pow­ered valve amp, that’s all you need – oth­er­wise, try adding the mer­est hint of over­drive and com­pres­sion (and we re­ally do mean a tiny amount) to add colour and sus­tain to your clean tones.

Part of what char­ac­terises blues from the era is the ‘room sound’ cap­tured by the record­ing tech­niques of the day. Mu­si­cians would all play in a stu­dio to­gether and there were no over­dubs. A lit­tle spring re­verb helps to set the scene but make sure you keep the level low to avoid sound­ing too mod­ern.

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