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Would You Play Blues Guitar In Street Corners for Dimes?

Apr 25, 2008
In his youth he played on street corners for dimes and pennies! He was born on 16 September, 1925 on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, near Indianola. He spent his youth playing on street corners for dimes. Today B.B. King (Riley B. King) averages 250 'packed to the rafters' concerts around the world each and every year.

In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, Tennessee to pursue his music career and it is first love. His first major break came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio broadcast. As the years well by, King has developed one of the world's most identifiable guitar styles.

He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others, integrating his precise and complex voice-like string blends and his left hand vibrato, both of which have become indispensable components of rock guitarist's vocabulary. His economy, his every-note-counts phrasing, has been a model for thousands of players from Eric Clapton and George Harrison to Jeff Beck.

In the mid-1950s, two men got into a big fight during one of King's concert performances. The men, while fighting, knocked over a kerosene stove and set a huge fire to the entire venue. King raced outdoors to safety and then realised he'd left his beloved acoustic guitar behind. He rushed back in to retrieve it and almost lost his life. He found out later that the fight had been over a woman.

He named his guitar Lucille to remind him to never do a crazy thing like fight for a woman. Ever since, each one of King's guitars has been called Lucille. Does your guitar have a name?
About the Author
Zack R is a professional blues guitarist and a full time instructor. Get access to free blues guitar beginner lessons with videos. Learn the secrets of the 12 bar blues guitar.
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