Classic Tones: "Statesboro Blues" – The Allman Brothers Band

The Allman Brothers Live At Fillmore East album sleeve
(Image credit: The Allman Brothers)

Anyone can get a good sound with a Gibson Les Paul and Marshall amps, but not many players can drop jaws with that rig like Dickey Betts and the late, great Duane Allman

Their full, thick tones are right in your face on this classic live cut from At Fillmore East, with Betts fretting his riffs and Allman playing his 60s Gibson SG with a glass slide made from a Coricidin cold medicine bottle (opens in new tab)

Betts’ tone is slightly cleaner than Allman’s – due, in part, to his choice of 100-watt Marshalls (Allman used a 50-watter) – and he wrenches snarling rock tones from his Les Paul that bark with dynamics and tension. 

Allman’s tone is smooth, luscious and almost impossibly sweet.

The roots of Duane's use of the Coricidin bottle were explained by Gregg Allman in the Muscle Shoals (opens in new tab) documentary (see clip below, from 1:07). The way Gregg tells it, he convinced Duane to go on a horseback ride. Duane fell from the horse, damaging his left elbow. He couldn't play and blamed his brother and wouldn't speak to him. One day, Gregg went round to visit with the first Taj Mahal album and a bottle of Coricidin, a cough medicine, leaving them on his doorstep.

A couple of hours later, Gregg gets a call asking him to come over: Duane had been listening to Jesse Ed Davis on the Taj Mahal album and learned to copy him, using the Coricidin bottle as a slide. 

Gregg still has the bottle.

Buy The Allman Brothers At Fillmore East (opens in new tab)

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