Top 8 Blues Guitar Performances

1.) Cream – “Crossroads” from “Wheels of Fire”

This is a prime example as to why Eric Clapton is so revered as a blues player. The song’s main riff is a classic and Clapton’s soloing was never more energetic and vital than during this period in his career.

2.) The Griff Hamlin Band – “G String Shuffle” from “The Griff Hamlin Band”

One of the most prominent online guitar educators out there, Griff Hamlin has the chops to back up what he tells his students. “G String Shuffle” showcases his talents in their purest distillation over a straight-ahead blues jam on his band’s self-titled record. Fans of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Cray should take notice.

Griff Hamlin and Top 8 Blues Guitar Performances

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3.) Elmore James – “Dust My Broom”

Despite the sound quality on this recording, the performance shines. Anyone looking to learn slide guitar needs to start with the king of that style, Elmore James.

4.) Allman Brothers Band – “Statesboro Blues” from “At Fillmore East”

On the opening cut from this legendary live album, Duane Allman displays his incredible slide guitar playing. Allman makes this Blind Willie McTell standard his own. This song gets favor over “Whipping Post” because of its comparative lack of play, brevity and the fact that it doesn’t take a huge number of chord changes to impress.

Duane Allman and Blues Guitar Performances

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5.) T-Bone Walker – “West Side Baby” 

One of the great standards from one of the blues guitar’s greatest pioneers. This is T-Bone at his best, fulfilling the potential promised in his early singles and pointing the way for generations of guitarists to follow.

6.) B.B. King – “The Thrill is Gone” from “Completely Well” 

While this song’s expert string arrangement and powerful rhythm section would serve as a strong closer to a classic blues album on their own, it’s King’s guitar playing that elevates it to the sublime. Any guitarist should consider this a staple of their record collections. King’s restraint allows him to ring all the emotion he possibly can out of each note. Any aspiring soloist needs to pick this up to learn how to improvise tastefully.

7.) Freddie King – “Going Down” from “Getting Ready”

Clapton fans will immediately notice King’s influence on their idol. While this song has an obvious rock influence, it shows best of all how capable Freddie was at mixing and matching styles and his ability to hang with any other musician.

Freddie King and Blues Guitar Performances

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8.) Stevie Ray Vaughan – “Texas Flood”

There’s a reason that this song is what cemented Vaughan’s legacy and spawned a million imitators. It’s a shining example of tailoring a composition to a soloist and executing the expressive qualities of the guitar to their fullest.


Stevie Ray Vaughan and Best Blues Guitar Performances

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