Artist spotlight: Keith Richards

This Artist Spotlight features the Rolling Stone’s Keith Richards. This particular spotlight will be a bit different as we are going to look at two classic Stone’s tracks that feature Keith Richard’s common tuning of Open G.

If you are unfamiliar with this don’t panic as  it’s really easy to tune your guitar to Open G. Start off by putting the guitar in drop-D by lowering the low E down to D. Then lower the 5th string (A) down one step to G. Finally drop the 6th string (E) down one step to D. Playing all the open strings from the 5th string down will sound a G major chord.

Open tunings are often used when playing with a slide but Richards used these tunings for rhythm playing and created a style and sound all of his own.

Can’t you hear me knocking: Example#1


Can’t you hear me knocking: Example#2



Brown Sugar: Intro

||---12-12----5-5--5-5-5---|| x3

||---8-8-8-10-10-8---5-5-5-5-5---1-2-1-3-5-3---5-5-5-5---|| x2

Artist Spotlight: Stevie Ray Vaughan

Difficulty: Medium/Advanced | Guitar used: Fender Stratocaster | Tuning: Standard

Stevie Ray Vaughan (SRV) is one of my favourite guitarists and I can’t be alone in that as he was ranked #7 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. Heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Albert King and Buddy Guy he went on to bring the Blues back into style in the mid 80s.

His main guitar was a beaten ’62 Fender Stratocaster bought in Austin, Texas. The guitar was heavily modified during his career but always had large gauge strings on it- usually 0.13 to 0.58 but sometimes a ridiculous 0.18 set! He would usually tune the guitar down a half-step to Eb but my examples are all in standard tuning for convenience.

Tragically, he died in a helicopter crash in 1990 returning to Chicago after a sold-out gig with Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy. He was only 35 years old and a true blues legend.

Little Wing live@El Mocamo says it all.

The Hendrix Influence- Testify



The example shown above highlights the influence of Jimi Hendrix on his playing style. Note the fast pre-bends into pull-offs and stylistic use of the minor pentatonic scale.

Texas Shuffle


The Texas Shuffle is a rhythmic technique where you play a percussive mute on the up-beat. You can here SRV use it on tracks such as Pride and Joy and Cold Shot. Use your fretting hand to mute the strings after you play the notes on the 1st and 2nd strings. This is all about attitude so dig into the strings as much as possible! My example is a slightly simplified version of SRV’s riff in Pride and Joy.

Jazz Blues- Riviera Paradise

                                 Emadd2            !
                        B6            D6

Another big influence on SRV were Jazz guitarists such as Kenny Burrell. I have picked out the intro to Riviera Paradise as a good example that shows this Jazz influence in his playing. The ‘!’ in the tab should be played as an arpeggio starting on the 1st string and strummed as close to the bridge as possible. I’ve used the whammy bar on certain notes, particularly the B6 and D6 chords.

Buddy Guy Influence- Leave my Girl Alone



SRV covered this Buddy Guy song on the 1989 In Step album but you can hear Buddy’s influence in loads of his songs.

Playing Lead Guitar: Part 3

Difficulty: Medium | Guitar used: Fender Telecaster | Tuning: Standard

In part 2 I created a guitar solo using just the E blues scale. In this article I will be using the same backing track but using  different scales over the chord changes. As discussed in part 2, the first section of the backing track contains the notes  E, D, G, A and Db. All these notes happen to be in the E Dorian mode so I will try using that and see what I can come up with.

Section 2 of the backing track uses the chords G5, A7 and B7. Over the G5 chord I’ll try using the G major scale. I know the mixolydian mode works well with dominant seventh chords so I’ll use that for the A7 chord. For the B7 chord I’ll just highlight one of the chord notes (B A Eb) with the lead guitar line.

E Dorian: E Gb G A B Db D

G major scale: G A B C D E Gb

A mixolydian mode: A B Db D E Gb G

Example licks


 G5                A7             B7

Over section 1 of the backing I’m using the E dorian scale. Look out for the pre-bend at the end which is quickly followed by a bend to the 20th fret from the 17th! Section 2 is all played with a slide. As mentioned above, over the G5 I’m using the G major scale then over the A7 i’m using the A mixolydian mode. The lick ends with a slide up to Eb which implies the B7 chord in the backing.