Not B.B.!

After thinking about Friday’s entry, I thought it would be fun to talk about an electric blues artist. Don’t get the title of this post wrong- I am big fan of B.B. King. However, one of my favorite electric blues artists is actually a different King- Albert King(1923-1992). Along with B.B. and Freddie, Albert is known as one of the three “kings” of the blues. The following is an exerpt from Wikipedia’s entry on Albert King. I couldn’t explain his playing better myself :

Albert King was a left-handed “upside-down/backwards” guitarist: he was left-handed but usually played right-handed guitars flipped over upside-down so the low E string was on the bottom. In later years he played a custom-made guitar that was basically left-handed, but had the strings reversed (as he was used to playing). He also used very unorthodox tunings (i.e., tuning as low as C to allow him to make sweeping string bends). A “less is more” type blues player, he was known for his expressive “bending” of notes, a technique characteristic
of blues guitarists. However, while a conventional right-handed player will bend the note by pushing the string upwards against the frets, causing the pitch to go up, Albert King used an unorthodox approach of pulling the string downwards to get the same result.

Because of the unique playing style, Albert King has a unique tone to his playing. Until I read more about him, I couldn’t figure out what was different in his technique. To get a feel for Albert King, check out this link from a show at the Filmore East in 1970.


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