I’m up early today… Gotta go over
to my dad’s house to help him with
this new barbaque grill he’s getting.
You see, with his new artificial
knee only 8 weeks old, he can’t lift
anything heavy. So I’m helpin out.
But before I go, I thought I’d write you a quick email
this morning. Ya know, just some guitar-related
thoughts from the Claudester.
The whole BBQ thing reminds me of Texas,
and that reminds of Texas blues and
Stevie Ray Vaughan.
You can see where my mind always goes 🙂
Ok, so I honestly cannot remember meeting
ANYONE who did NOT like Stevie Ray Vaughan.
He’s definitely one of the most popular
guitar players of all time. And in my
opinion, one of the best and one of the most
So if you dig Stevie, here’s 10 ways
you can be more like him.
1. Develop a killer vibrato
Stevie’s one of those dudes who can make
a single note sound like a million bucks.
It’s all in the phrasing and vibrato. Vibrato
is the technique used to shake a note and
make it come to life.
Practice your vibrato and focus on it.
I do have some useful tips on this specifically,
in Killer Guitar Control Secrets (guitarcontrol.com/main.php)
2. Try the Strat
The Fender Stratocaster guitar is the weapon
of choice of not only SRV, but also guys like
Hendrix, Clapton, Buddy Guy, David Gilmour,
and other legends.
Here’s the tricky thing though: Getting a killer
tone out of a Strat is NOT easy.
The single coil pickups do not wail as easily as
humbuckers, so you need a really good tube amp.
Try the Strat, but be aware its a challenge.
Don’t feel you HAVE to play a Strat to get
a good tone. There’s plenty of blues guitar gods
like Gary Moore and Robben Ford who use humbucking
3. Go Heavy
Stevie used heavier strings than normal and this
can beef up your tone. It can also help strengthen
Again, caution if you try this. Heavier strings
don’t always sound better. Some guitar greats
use very light strings. Also, if the strings
are too heavy, it can hurt your ability to
bend and shake the notes.
Still, if you play a Strat, this is a good idea
4. Become a monster rhythm guitarist
Everyone knows Stevie plays amazing solos,
but do not overlook his killer rhythm chops.
He could easily blend smokin’ blues licks
with shuffle patterns and so on.
If you want to learn a ton of riffing ideas,
check out How to Play Smokin’ Blues (www.howtoplayblues.com/main.php)
You’ll learn tons of ideas that you can use
immediately to expand your rhythm bag of tricks.
You’ll also learn some Stevie Ray licks that
will help your chops directly.
5. Learn to sing
A proper bluesman doesn’t just wait for the solo
and let loose… He leads the band from the first
note, and really tells a story with the guitar and
also with words all the way through the whole song.
Learning to sing is really rewarding, will make you
a better musician, make you way more valuable to a band,
and you’ll have more fun on stage.
There is nothing like singing a blues and then answering
your own vocal call with some blues lick responses on
That’s where blues magic happens.
If you want to kickstart your vocal chops, check out
6. Never overplay
Although Stevie had some pretty serious guitar chops,
he never overplayed. Everything was super tasteful.
He didn’t play too much or too fast.
Everything sounded amazing because it was just the
right notes. When you really have control over
the instrument, you don’t need to prove anything
by “playing fast”
He just played what he heard in his head. I teach
the same exact approach in Killer Guitar Control Secrets.
7. Be Confident
If you watch Stevie play, you will notice
an abudance of confidence. I mean, the
guy just knew he belonged on the stage
playing blues guitar.
Without this confidence, its really hard to
command the instrument with authority.
If you are scared, this will come through
in your playing.
If you are confident, the music is allowed
to come out naturally.
You don’t have to be super talented like Stevie
though, to have confidence.
Just keep playing and practicing and believe
in yourself, and never worry about looking
bad or making mistakes.
Even if you do make some mistakes, it doesn’t matter
because the rest of the time, you should be sounding
good… And you will sound good if you play the blues
like you mean it.
I also try to instill that sense of confidence in
anyone who watches Killer Guitar Control Secrets. (guitarcontrol.com/main.php)
Everyone has an inner guitar god (or goddess) just
waiting to play some inspired licks.
8. Go easy on the gain
Going back to guitar tone for a sec, Stevie was
never a heavy distortion dude. That’s a common
thing for blues players.
Sure, he used some crunch, but it was never too
Since he was playing all the right notes, he didn’t
need to hide behind any distortion.
Also, his amps were really cranked up and that gave
him a lot of sustain.
Again with the Strat, it might be hard to get those
sustaining bends without the gain on lower volume
settings, but you should try to find a good balance.
Anyway, playing with a clean tone is always a good
idea. If you’re used to always playing with lots
of distortion for your solos, you’ll be surprised how good it can sound
to turn the gain DOWN, and go for a more pure tone.
9. Become a pentatonic scale master.
Although Stevie played lots of notes, most of
his licks and solos are based on the pentatonic
So you should definitely master this scale
ALL OVER THE NECK in the important keys like E and A.
You can sit there all day and work on it like Stevie did,
but I think a faster way is to use the Guitar Scale System
software to nail down these critical scales.
Do you know the E minor pentatonic scale everywhere on
the neck, backwards and forward, upside and in your sleep?
If not, now’s the time to master it: www.GuitarScaleSystem.com/main.php
10. Be a nice person
Music is about life and energy. Although I never met Stevie,
I read that he didn’t have a mean bone in his body.
He was nice to everyone.
Who you are on the stage of life, is who you are on stage.
It comes across in the music.
Stevie’s music is deep and beautiful because he was coming
from a deep and beautiful place.
So, don’t be a jerk, LOL…
Be a positive source of energy in this world and you’ll
be rewarded with positive inspiration when you’re on stage.
That’s all I got.
Although, I’m sure I could write a lot more about Stevie…
That’s it for now.
Thanks for tuning in…
Make sure to keep checking your email box because
I’m really excited about showing you my new website
Also I will have more news for you soon about “Real Easy Jazz”.
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