Muddy would use this scale almost exclusively starting in the early 50's.
Examples: (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man play - clip
Rollin' Stone play
Still A Fool play
Hammer On/Pull Off
He had learned finger picking, strumming the three low strings with his thumb and picking the other strings upward with his bare fingers. Shortly after he moved to Chicago he started wearing a thumb pick and index pick as he claims "I was banging my hand all up".
Hammer On/Pull OffUsed often.Legato SlideUsed often.PickingHe had learned finger picking, strumming the three low strings with his thumb and picking the other strings upward with his bare fingers. Shortly after he moved to Chicago he started wearing a thumb pick and index pick as he claims "I was banging my hand all up".
Muddy is known for his trademark slide style, highly influential to blues and rock players alike. The intense slide playing can be heard mostly on his 1940's and early 50's recordings, and was used while on tour throughout his life. Originally he used Open G tuning for his slide playing, then Standard as he transitioned to the tuning in the early 50's. He wore his slide on his pinky finger.
Examples: I Can't Be Satisfied (Open G) play
Rollin' and Tumblin' Pt. 1 (Open G) play
Honey Bee (Standard) play
Long Distance Call (Standard) play
19xx Stella acoustic
Muddy's first guitar, which he played while he was in Mississippi. He ordered it in 1932 from a Sears & Roebuck catalog for $2.50 - which he had come up with by selling his horse.
19xx Martin acoustic
Borrowed from Alan Lomax for his Library of Congress recordings.
19xx unnamed resonator
A wood-bodied resonator he is seen holding in Alan Lomax's 1941 picture of Muddy and Son "Sims" Four. pic
19xx Silvertone acoustic
A guitar he had by the time he moved to Chicago in 1943.
19xx unnamed electric
When he first started playing gigs in Chicago, his acoustic could not could through the noise of crowded clubs and parties, so his uncle bought him his first electric guitar in 1944. By the time he started recording for Aristocrat, the guitar was stolen. He replaced it with a Gretsch.
19xx Gretsch Synchromatic
This was the guitar he would use in the late 40's and early 50's. He added a DeArmond FHC pickup to electrify it. pic
1952 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop
This would be his main guitar from the early 50's up until 1957. Equipped with P-90 pickups. It has been through the hands of B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Peter Greene, and Duster Bennett. pic
1957 Fender Telecaster
The guitar Muddy would become most associated with. He bought it brand new in 1957, took it with him to the Newport Jazz Festival and Europe tour, and remained his favorite throughout the rest of his life, naming it "The Hoss". It was white and had come with a maple neck, which was replaced in 1961 with a rosewood one, and the body was painted red shortly after. The knobs were replaced with Fender amp knobs, and in the mid-late 70's the original steel three-saddle bridge was replaced with a brass six-saddle bridge.
Fender released a Muddy Waters Telecaster model in 2000, replicating this guitar. It has been told that the guitar was buried with him at his request, however this is false. "The Hoss" now resides at the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame. pic
19xx Harmony Monterey
Borrowed from John Lee Hooker for his Newport photo shoot. pic
19xx Martin 000-18
An acoustic with a mahogany finish, used for his Folk Singer album. pic
196x Gibson Southern Jumbo
A sunburst acoustic Muddy played.
19xx Gibson SG Junior
Seen playing at Carnegie Hall in 1965. White finish. pic
1963 Guild Thunderbird S-200
In the mid 60's Muddy had signed an endorsement deal with Guild for him and his band, providing them with new equipment. Muddy had gotten this guitar, with a cherry sunburst finish and single coil pickups. After this short-lived deal with Guild, he switched back to playing his Telecaster.
1966 Guild Thunderbird S-200
Another guitar given by Guild during their endorsement deal. Ebony grain finish and single coil pickups. pic
1965 Fender Super Reverb
Muddy had used a variety of small amps in his early years before finally settling on a silverface 40-watt Super Reverb in the mid 60's. This would be his primary amp for years to come. He claims it was modified for a heavier sound and kept all of his settings at "9" with no tremolo or reverb. It was stolen in the late 70's and replaced with a new model.
1960's Fender Bassman 6G6
"Piggy-back" Bassman he was seen using at Carnegie Hall in 1965.
1960's Guild Thunderbird
Used during his endorsement deal with Guild during the mid-late 60's.
Late 1970's Fender Super Reverb
After his original Super Reverb was stolen, he bought a brand new silverface model to replace it.
In the mid 40's Muddy started using thumb and index picks. Originally he used metal ones, but didn't like the sound so he switched to plastic picks.
Gibson Medium Gauge Strings
He used 0.12 - 0.56 gauge strings, with a plain .022 for the G string to replace the wound one.
Late 1930's/Early 40's Presto 6D Recorder
The portable recorder that Alan Lomax recorded Muddy with in his 1941-42 field recordings.
Mid-late 1940/50's Ampex Tape Recorders
Before Chess studio opened in 1957, most of his recordings took place at Universal Studios in Chicago. They used these Ampexes for all of his recordings there, and Chess did too in their early-mid years. Universal was known to use the 300, 350, and 403 models.
1940/50's RCA Ribbon Microphones
A standard at both Universal and Chess in their early years.
Late 1940-60's Telefunken/Neumann Microphones
Used at both Universal and Chess. Known models include the U47, U48, and U67.
Late 1940/50's Western Electric/Altec Microphones
Used at both Universal and Chess.
1960's Electo-Voice Microphones
In 1960/61 Chess had signed a deal with Electro-Voice, and they had supplied them with their mics. These were a favorite at Chess, and largely replaced their old mics. The 635A, 649B, 666, and RE15 models were all known to be used.
1960's 3M Wollensak Tape Recorder
Used at Chess in the 1960's and 70's.
Mid-late 1960's Shure SM57
Used at Chess in the mid-late 1960's and 70's.
1967/69 Scully 284 Tape Recorder
Used at Chess in the late 1960's and 70's. Was used for Muddy's Fathers and Sons. pic
No known live gear used.
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