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Get Your Mojo Workin' Pro-Style

Stevie Ray Vaughan
(Image credit: Getty)

Playing blues guitar is as much about attitude as it is technique. If you’re suffering in either department, put some power back into your playing with this advice from electric guitar blues heroes of the past and present.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

“Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It’s the way you pick and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use.”

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan (Image credit: Getty)

Roy Buchanan

“Use circle picking to play faster. Start by playing with your pick at an angle. Hit the string with one edge of the pick and you’ll find that you’re in position to come back on the upstroke with the opposite edge. Then, alternate pick with a rotating motion in either a clockwise or counterclockwise circle. The pick, while not changing its angle in relation to the string, is circling that area of the string. It’s not done with the wrist, but with the fingers holding the pick.”

Roy Buchanan

Roy Buchanan (Image credit: Getty)

Bonnie Raitt

“Incorporate the feel of what someone plays into your style, rather than the actual notes. You just want to nail the emotion of how an artist’s singing and playing is making you feel, and how those feelings transform your own playing.”

Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt (Image credit: Getty)

Jack White

“If you want to keep things raw, try limiting yourself to only two guitars on a track.”

Jack White

Jack White (Image credit: Getty)

Rory Gallagher

“You must perform for an audience, because the real crunch happens when you get in front of people. You may discover that some things you played in rehearsal don’t make any sense because you fooled around too much with the frilly stuff and forgot the basic drive of the song. Playing live also teaches you to deal with situations like dropping your pick or breaking a string – as well as forcing you to project.”

Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher (Image credit: Getty)

Eric Johnson

“Remind yourself that you’re free to feel great instead of reserved or insecure. When you’re feeling good, you’re more apt to take chances onstage, and if you make a bunch of mistakes, it won’t matter. It’s almost like you’re the instrument, and the music is flowing through you like electricity.”

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson (Image credit: Getty)

Ry Cooder

“Play a new thing every day. Learning one new passing chord, or a note combination, will get you moving towards something that will serve you later on. Someday, a song will come along that all of those things will relate to.”

Ry Cooder

Ry Cooder (Image credit: Getty)

Hubert Sumlin

“Take a note from me, put it with your own notes, and make it you.”

Hubert Sumlin

Hubert Sumlin (Image credit: Getty)

John Lee Hooker

“Forget about the fancy chords and just concentrate on a funky beat.”

John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker (Image credit: Getty)

Jeff Beck

“Overindulgence in anything is wrong – whether it’s practicing 50 hours a day or eating too much food. I’ve tried to keep it so that I’m able to execute the ideas that come out, but practicing too much depresses me. I get good speed, but then I start playing nonsense because I’m not thinking. A good layoff makes me think a lot. It helps me get both things together – the creativity and the speed.”

Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck (Image credit: Getty)