Welcome to Your Journey to Find The B. B. King Guitar Tone
It’s a great feeling to be able to put a guitar in your hands, hear the sweet tone and know that it’s you who’s making it happen. When we start out as guitar players our skill as well as our equipment is sub-par and on the verge of atrocious. As we progress in our playing we tend to take on the style of our favorite players and want to emulate them. It’s at this point the we learn that it might be the guitar and amplifier that we are playing that might be holding us back. It’s not a bad thing, but just might be time for an upgrade. If you are on this website, I’d assume that B. B. King is one of your influences and that you would like to emulate his sound. I’m going to help you achieve that goal as we walk through this site. This website is going to show you the gear that you can buy that will best emulate the sweet tone of the one and only B. B. King.
I want to remind you that you will NEVER sound exactly like B. B. King, I don’t say this to discourage you, but to encourage you. Let me explain… Part of what makes your personal distinguished sound is your hands and your personal playing style. What you can do is learn his style and use the right gear to emulate the tonal qualities that B. B. King gets out of his gear. Even though you may not have his hands, you can add your style into his tonal qualities.
What gear do you need? That’s easy, a guitar, an amplifier and some effects to help sweeten the pot. Our journey through this website is going to give you a guide on the gear that you will need.
Let’s touch on the guitar, B. B. King was known for using a Gibson ES-355 named “Lucille.” “Lucille,” was the name of all the guitars that he played, which were many. He upgraded guitars, just like all of us. In this website, you will read more about the history of “Lucille.”
We’ve all heard people say it “you have to have a tube amp if you want to get a good sound.” This is a lie. You do not have to have a tube amp, in fact B. B. King didn’t use a tube amp. Yes, a tube amp is great, they sound wonderful, but they are not a necessity and will not necessarily get you the B. B. King sound that you are looking for. You will also read about options that you can use, and afford to reach your goal of getting that great tone that B. B. King was known for.
The effects that B. B. King used is the most inexpensive part of the process. B. B. King did not use effects, he was known for plugging straight into the amp and getting the tone from guitar, amp and hands alone. There are some pedals that you can use to help you emulate his sound and we will discuss them further through our journey.
It’s also important to note that B. B King, like every other guitar player out there did use some different equipment throughout different times in his career. If you want to emulate his sound in the early 70’s then your setup would be different than if you wanted to sound like him in 1999. We will discuss what gear he used in different time periods and give you examples of tracks that were recorded with different guitars or amps.
Let me congratulate you on the start of an exciting journey of finding “your sound.” It’s a never-ending process, but a fun one. Enjoy!