10 Most Influential Texas Blues Guitarists
Eric Johnson, The Austin Resonator
The legendary Texas guitar slinger once toured with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, wooing audiences with his crystal clear chops, and he gained recognition for his rich, violin-like tone. His influences range from Jimi Hendrix to Django Reinhardt. His weapon of choice is an Eric Johnson Signature Fender Stratocaster with GHS Eric Johnson Nickel Rockers Electric Guitar Strings, through a triple amp setup consisting of Fender, Dumble and Marshall amplifiers.
Billy Gibbons, The Reverend Willy G
While Rolling Stone ranked him somewhere in the 30s on its 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list, Gibbons slays the rest of the competition to enter this top ten list. Recently announced as the 2012 Texas State Musician by the Texas Commission on the Arts, William Frederick "Billy" Gibbons is known for his beard, his sunglasses and his old five peso, which he uses as a guitar plectrum. He's blazed the stage with Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Dwight Yoakam. His weapon of choice is Miss Pearly Gates, a 1959 Gibson Les Paul through a Marshall 1968 plexi and Fender Deluxe 1x12, as well as an army of Rio Grande amplifiers, solid state Marshall Valvestate rack amps and Marshall 2x12 cab.
Dimebag Darrell Abbott, the Diamond Shredder
What the hell is a metal guitar player doin' on this list, you ask? He infused Texas blues into his metal, employing pentatonic scales and pinch harmonics in his Southern riffs and rhythms, and influenced Zakk Wylde and Scott Ian. His weapon of choice was a Dean ML guitar with Bill Lawrence USA XL500L pickups through whatever kind of amp could withstand the power of his Randy Rhoads-style chord arpeggios.
Freddie King, the King of Big D Blues
Freddie King was a force of nature on guitar. His distinctive fingerpicking, open-string Texas blues and West Side Chicago blues inspired guitar legends such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmy Vaughan. His weapon of choice was a gold top Gibson Les Paul with P-90 pickups through a Gibson GA-40 amplifier.
W.C. Clark, the Godfather of Austin Blues
Clark not only ignites a guitar with his jazz-infused licks but also has grooved on bass with Jimmie Vaughan, James Brown and the Three Kings of electric blues: B.B. King, Albert King and Freddie King. He's the founder of Triple Threat Revue, an Austin blues quintet whose members also included Stevie Ray Vaughan and Lou Ann Barton. Clark was born and raised in Austin, and he's been influencing the blues scene since the '60s. His weapon of choice alternates between Fender and Ibanez, although he's also wielded a Gibson.
Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Oak Cliff Kid
Nothing screams blues like a jolt from this man's guitar. Stevie Ray Vaughan was constantly searching for the Philosopher's Note, a mystical note that incorporates all genres of music into a perfect musical element. SRV caught the attention of David Bowie and Jackson Browne, and caused Eric Clapton to pull his car over to the side of the road when he first heard the Oak Cliff native make a guitar sing. His weapon of choice was his "first wife" or "Number One," a Frankenstein monster of a guitar with a 1963 Fender Stratocaster body, a 1962 neck and custom stainless steel bars for the vibrato bar.