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How to sound like Stevie Ray Vaughan!

OK first do this - phone up Clapton, May, Slash, Jimmy (Page) and Gilmour. Get them round to your local venue and put them on a stage behind a curtain with ONE guitar (to share) (let's say a Mexican Strat) and ONE amp (let's say a 65 watt Marshall Valvestate). This is affordable stuff within the reach of the average player. OK. Get them to decide on one song to play (let's say "Little Wing" since everyone should know that) and then, in no particular order each play the song. Shouldn't be difficult to spot who's who should it? Now get them all to try sound like Stevie (i.e. try to play the way he would, with similar amp settings etc. Still won't be too difficult to spot 'em! Why is that? The reason is that Clapton sounds like Clapton, Slash sounds like Slash etc and no matter what they do and how close they get to trying to sound like someone else they can't, because there'll always be a little something that gives it away. Some little piece of phrasing or a string widdle or bend or whatever, even their pick attack on the strings or how they hold the guitar, which is a product of all they've done before, from where they learn't to play, and what, to who they've played with etc. So what am I getting at? Clapton does not want to sound like Stevie. He's happy to sound like Clapton. And you should be happy to sound like yourself (because at the end of the day the only person you're going to sound like is YOU). So every time you practice something or play something, you'll end up using that in the future, even if you don't realise it. This is called 'developing your own style'. Same goes for all the "totally accurate" TAB that's about. Why?? I really prefer to play something and put my own feel to it. Listen to The Corrs playing Little Wing on "Unplugged" and see if you agree. Listen to Sting playing Little Wing. So use the TAB as a guide, see what others are doing and then play it your way. Going off down another route, tho still on the "accurate TAB" thing - get as many copies of Eric playing "Before You Accuse Me" (I've got about seven) and tell me if he plays it the same way twice. No. So what's that telling you. Even the greats play things the way they feel like playing them at the time. Amps and tone?? Aaahh... what can we say about that? Next EVH concert you're at, jump on stage and grab Eddie's guitar from him and play some Eddie riffs. Sound like him?? Naaa. Not even close.
So where to from here? Pick up your guitar and play something. Sounds like you, right? Sounds cool. Work on it, develop it.
Where would we be if The Beatles had decided that they sounded like shit and went on to try and sound just like The Stones?
(btw if you can't rustle up the names above, then get some of your mates around, or speak to the local band, and try the same thing).

OK just to finish off here ... (or have I rambled on for too long?) ... no, one last thought, inspired by a letter which I've just received... (Thanks David)
Do you know what a total thrill, buzz, whatever, you get when someone walks past the club you're playing in (or past your bedroom window) and says "hey that sounds like Peter, (or David, or William) aww I really like his playing" and comes inside based on that, and tells you "hey I heard you from outside and knew it was you".
I can guarantee that you will NEVER have the pleasure of hearing those words if you try to be someone else. You might get the occasional "hey you sound good, you play well"" but you never get someone telling you "I like YOUR playing".
Right I've said enough.

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