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Boxin' Blues

Blues For Peace, Jerusalem, Israel

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Best Blues Guitars

The five best electric guitars for the blues!

Okay, this list would probably give many Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS), but out of personal interest, I went around several music stores to try out tons of guitars I have narrowed my list to five sweet axes that shaped not only blues but rock and roll, rockabilly, country, funk... you get the picture. Please note that this list is based totally on my personal opinion and if you disagree, it's perfectly fine. Let's get rolling!

#5: Gibson Les Paul Junior
Seeing that this guitar is a sub-model of a seemingly superior model line that is also place later in the list (oops, spoiler...) might raise doubts in the minds of many. No worries, let me make it straight. Even though the Junior is considered inferior by many especially when placed side-to-side with it's more elegant sibling, the Les Paul, anyone who has played it would agree that the single P90 pickup produces a tone unlike any other and works wonders whether ampified clean or driven dirty. Go on, head to your local guitar dealer and pick one up, your preconceived notions of this "cheapo" guitar would change in no time!

#4: Fender Telecaster:
The Tele, though an evolution from the original Esquire was still simple in all ways. All it had was a simple block-routed single-cutaway ash body, two pickups and an ashtray with brass barrels for a bridge yet it was revolutionary in every way in its time. It's bright, cutting tone was very distinctive and it has won the hearts of many country guitarists. Even electric blues pioneer Muddy Waters chose this guitar over the others!

#3: Gibson Les Paul
Many argue which came first, Mr. Fender's Esquire or Mr. Paul's final evolution of The "Log". To me, that is as pointless as arguing whether the chicken or the egg came first. The thing is this. Les knew his stuff. He knew that the bright cutting tone of maple for the top coupled to the intense warmth of mahogany for the body would sound like heaven when fused together (although he thought of it the other way at first).  Whether fitted with P-90 pickups as originally intended or Seth Lover's P.A.F. humbuckers, either way most guitarist would agree that it is still the industry standard in solidbody guitars. Duane Allman, Gary Moore and Eric Clapton would definitely agree.

#1 (tie) Fender Stratocaster
Anyone who hasn't seen this guitar at all ought to be living on the moon. It's industry firsts such as the tremolo bar and trademark offset double-cutaway comfort-contoured body made it the most iconic (and most copied) electric guitar EVER. Because this guitar is so tonally versatile, that it is not only used solely for blues, but practically every modern genre of music from alternative to ambient and from punk to pop. However, the Strat has still a very strong association with the blues. The three single-coil pickups were the key to it's vast tonal palatte. Eric Clapton made it gently weep, SRV made it wail, Buddy Guy made it scream. Until today, contemporary blues players like John Mayer and Robert Cray continue passing the Strat torch.

#1 (tie) Gibson Electro-Spanish series
This covers Gibson's entire range of ES guitars, be it the original ES-335 or B.B. King's trademark "Lucille". This is the true descendant of Les Paul's The "Log". Like the Stratocaster, this series of guitars are extremely versatile. Its semi-hollow body that allows a variety of tones that be coaxed from sweet mellow cleans to aggressive overdriven tones. Not only do they sound good, their arched maple top and trademarked F-holes ooze class. Because of their association with artists such as B.B. King, Freddie King and Eric Clapton (mentioned for the third and last time in this article) and classy look, this guitar to me (and many others) has been the ultimate epitome of the perfect electric guitar for the blues.

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