Stevie Ray Vaughan – December 2016
Digital Guitar Player would like to crown the one and only Stevie Ray Vaughan the December 2016 guitar player of the month. SRV single handedly rewrote the way the blues has been played by guitarists all over the world. Stevie Ray Vaughan dominated guitar in the 1980s and kept the blues popular. This was not an easy task to accomplish when considering the heavy metal shredding craze that was going on at the time. It can be said that parts of his playing even helped keep the likes of Jimi Hendrix alive.
His influences include the likes of T-Bone Walker, Albert Collins, Freddie King, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Larry Davis just to name a few. In fact, Texas Flood was written by Larry Davis but turned into a commercial blues hit by SRV and was even the title of his first album. Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of the most intense guitar players to ever hit the stage. The raw energy of his power as his fingers hit the strings was unmatched. One of my favorite performances is when Stevie played Leave my girl alone during an Austin City Limits show as seen on this video.
Say what you want but Stevie’s playing on here has given me shivers for years. I love his intensity and seriousness. I can feel him expressing a fight about protecting his little girl just by how he hits those notes.
It is sad to think that almost 27 years ago we tragically lost Stevie to a helicopter crash. It was such a strong time for his musical growth as he was sober, healthy and playing better than ever. Much like many of the other guitar players that were gone far too soon we can only imagine and speculate about how much greater SRV would become had he still been creating music 27 years later. One thing is for sure and that is that he has gone down as one of the greatest guitar players in history.
Ever hear how SRV covers Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix? It might be one of the greatest versions of the song that has ever been recorded. Stevie used Fender Stratocaster guitars and was known for his worn 1962 Stratocaster. It has been said that he was very hard on his instruments that led to extensive repairs. He used Fender and Marshall amplifiers. SRV played very heavy gauge strings often favoring these gauges (.013, .015, .019, .028, .038, .058) because he could snap strings easily. It was his strumming and rhythmic patterns that made him an aggressive player. I am going to post some videos of his incredible work so that readers can understand why he was so amazing and why I choose to make him the guitar player of the month for Digital Guitar Player.