Hot Guitarist Alert!

Haven’t yet heard of Tony Vega? That’s okay, chances are you’ll soon see his name on a marquee somewhere near you—especially if you live across the pond where people can’t seem to get enough American blues, because it’s on his frequent six-country European tours that Vega does most of his performing.

(Check out Vega’s new live album—recorded, of course, in Europe—available in early 2006 online at And, being from the Lone Star state, it’s only appropriate that the 34-year-old Strat strangler pass along to you a blues maneuver that’s as Texas as barbecued beef, big sky, cowboy hats, and cacti.

“This is an old T-Bone Walker thing, though I probably first heard it from more recent players like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Anson Funderburgh,” shares Vega, playing Ex. 1. “It’s a useful little shuffle lick you just seem to pick up if you grow up around here. It works at any tempo, and can be used as a warm-up exercise, a rhythm-guitar part, or even as a lead, and it’s easy to play over the IV chord [Ex. 2] and the V chord [Ex. 3].

If you’re soloing and you’re doing two choruses, one fun thing to do with this riff is play it during the second chorus, which may help you build up the intensity of your lead.”